Surrounded by so much information, so many images, so much noise, so much busyness, and so much cultural expectation of how we should be living, how are we to find ourselves living the lives that are only ours to live? In other words, how is it that we can come to orient ourselves more and more to what is within us as a way of navigating all of the nonsense, harm, and de-humanization that the world is offering up at ever-increasing rates, distracting us from the truth of who we really are?
The more that you can learn to look within as opposed to what others think you should do, the more you offer yourself a map for what it looks like, and more importantly, takes, to be the author of your own life. In turn, there is no greater gift that you can extend to another than to steadfastly choose on behalf of your own life. Sound selfish? Sound problematic? There is no doubt that there is much to be navigated here. There is no doubt that there are pitfalls and mistakes to be made. There is no doubt that you will have to create inner and outer litmus tests of integrity. There is no doubt that this will take a lot of work. And there is no doubt that there will be those who will not take kindly to you deciding for yourself how it is that you come to live.
If being your own person appeals to you, you must develop ways to bring opportunities for the discovery of who it is that you truly are, directly into your life. Regularly. Daily, even. One way to begin is to find some time when you can be with your own thoughts. Sit for several moments just breathing. Nothing else. Then, without thinking about it too much, or worrying about how another would respond, ask yourself some version of; “What do you want me to know?” Focus on your body as best as you can, while working to set aside unhelpful or critical thoughts.
Does something grab you in the belly or at the heart? Does your head hurt? Does something feel tight? Do images arise? Memories? What emotions present themselves to you? Keep feeling around inside. Use all of your senses and instincts. Notice that a part of you may want to get away from this. See if you can allow that to be a part of the exploration. Pay particular attention to emotions that arise that you typically avoid. They carry valuable information and guidance if you can learn to stay open and get curious about why they are showing up now. This takes practice to get skilled at navigating through all of this information and, you cannot do this wrong.
Allow this experience to transcend right and wrong, what others are doing, self-doubt, or what it is that the culture is selling today. These, and more, are all things you must learn to wrestle with in order to come to think for yourself. Learning to reference an inner knowing is no small feat and it requires your time, your commitment, your trust, and your courage.
Make a regular habit of sitting quietly, breathing, and noticing. The guidance and the information we receive in these moments is nothing short of miraculous in its capacity to cut straight through to the Truth; for if we are to have any hope of living well and living in integrity, both individually and collectively, the capacity to see what is true is an indispensable one indeed.