Today's reminder is from the chapter, "Living with an Independent Mind" from Wayne Dyer's book, "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life."
It's crucial to remain independent of people's opinions of us - whether those opinions are good or bad. When we seek the favor of others and pursue status, we're not in alignment with the Tao, with the Universe, or our true selves.
We each have a "basic nature that is uniquely ours," (Dyer). We need to "learn to trust that Tao nature and be free of other people's opinions."
Easier said than done.
"The Tao doesn't force or interfere with things; it lets them work in their own way to produce results naturally."
We should strive to be the same. Let things unfold naturally, and then marvel at how things unfold!
When we do things, whatever approval or disapproval we receive is in perfect alignment. It's what we need, at the time. The Universe designed it that way.
Yet, if we value other people's opinions, when they show praise or favor, we become like a slave to them. And when they show disfavor, we try to change their opinion -- working our life around and for them.
This is a very ego-centric way of thinking and being.
All of our troubles come from the ego. Without the ego, we have no troubles at all because we are living in perfect alignment with our Spirit, in Love. All the opinions of the world don't matter to us and don't affect our path.
"Practice trusting your own inner nature," (Dyer).
Whenever you have a passionate thought about something, it's coming from that inner nature. That's why when we follow our passions, we're following our inner nature and are being true to ourselves.
If we feel insecure at times because other people disagre with us, remember that Lao-tzu said, "Seeking favor is degrading." "It will lead you out of touch with yourself," (Dyer).
Other people will think what they will. Regardless of what we do. What they think is none of our business. Our business is what we think and do. When we busy ourselves with other people's business, that's when we get in trouble and lose our path. We give up our true nature for someone else's opinion of us and what we're doing. What they think, whoever they are, doesn't matter. If you feel that something is right for you, do it. If you feel a pull down a certain path, such as a career path that's very different from anyone in your family, pursue it! Your passions inside you are your spirit speaking to you. Calling you to be who you are. Encouraging you to reach your highest potential.
By focusing too much of our precious energy on what others think, we're literally wasting that energy. That energy could be put to much better use in following our passions, our heart, our inner self.
Besides, "other people's opinions about what we should or shouldn't be doing probably aren't taking into account your true, eternal being," (Dyer). They're telling you what to do or not to do based on their ego. Or perhaps based on their path. Not yours. Even if they have the best of intentions, only you know your inner nature and have the power to follow it.
"Your worldly self isn't your true identity, so trust your eternal self to communicate with you. It will do so through your inner nature, where you'll honor it through an independent mind. Respect your vision and trust your natural, passionate thoughts that are aligned with the loving essence of the Tao," (Dyer, 62).
"Your worldly self" is your ego. The part of you that's on the outside, that others see. And that's not the real you.
The real you is your inner Spirit, or "your eternal Self" as Dyer calls it. The Love that's inside you. That's the real you. And that self will speak to you through an "independent mind," that is, a mind that doesn't concern itself with the thoughts and opinions of others.
Have the courage to be your own self. "Respect your vision." "Trust your natural, passionate thoughts." That's the real you coming out.
Imagine if there were no outside forces weighing on you. No one telling you what to do or who you "should" be. No one trying to talk you out of doing something you want to do. However good-intended these other people and other voices are, imagine that they're not there. It's just you. You and the infinite Universe. What speaks to you? What direction do you feel your heart pulling you?
That's your inner Spirit!
I realize sometimes it's scary to listen to it, not to mention follow it. What if your parents are doctors, and expect you to be a doctor, but you want to be an artist? Or what if your parents are blue-collar workers, yet you feel the drive to become a lawyer or business person? In either scenario, your parents (or those closest to you) may not understand your desire to branch out and be different. They may take it as a slap in the face, like you're rejecting them and what they taught you.
As an aside, though it's related, my parents didn't understand when I went vegan over two years ago. I was raised eating "meat and potatoes." We'd have steaks every so often, that my dad would cook on the grill. Meat was the main course, with a couple vegetables as "side dishes." I used to love prime rib as a kid. Not to mention cheese. Oh, cheese. I loved cheese!
So when I became an adult and stopped eating that way, my dad especially took it as an affront. I could sense the rejection he felt. He felt threatened. Like I believed that the way he raised me was "wrong" and "bad."
I felt bad that he felt this way (and my mom did too, though she seemed to at least try to be more understanding from the beginning). I tried to explain the reasons behind my new diet choices. But they didn't get it. It wasn't coming from their inner Spirit. Plus, they were living in their egos and weren't able to lovingly accept my new, changing diet as my path.
Now they accept it more. My dad actually read the book that really convinced me to be vegan, "The China Study," and was blown away by the findings presented there. Still, he eats meat and consumes dairy, so it must not have affected him too much.
For a while, when I went vegan, it was difficult for me to watch other people, especially my family and people I cared about, not be vegan. I felt I'd learned all this incredible health stuff, I wanted to share it, and I didn't get why no one was interested.
Now I get it. Not only were my parents living in their egos and on their path by not understanding my being vegan, I was still in my ego and focusing on my path by not understanding why they wouldn't go vegan too.
All any of us can do is what WE can do, with ourselves. Follow our own inner nature. Our own Spirit. Live in the Love that is inside US. And accept that everyone else has their own inner nature, their own Spirit, and different ways to express their Love.
Trust your own inner nature, and follow it! It'll lead you where you need to go.
And do your best to let others do the same.
Quotes of the Day:
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to
make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being
can fight; and never stop fighting. " (e.e. cummings, 1955) http://www.quotegarden.com/be-self.html
"He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away." (Raymond
"All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone
tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were
often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking
for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I,
could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my
expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born
with: that I am nobody but myself." (Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal") http://www.quotegarden.com/be-self.html