Posts categorized "Authentic Life"

A choice to be free

There is one thing holding you back from freedom, and it is fear. More accurately, it is the belief that fear is justified.

You believe that you must conform to the demands of others. You think it inevitable that you are dependent upon a husband, a wife, a life partner, or a parent. You believe that to claim your freedom is to become vulnerable...to risk being left on your own, desperate, helpless, and lacking. This is the message of the world, and it is untrue. 

Freedom is the discovery of your true identity and a knowing of your invulnerability. I'm not talking about faith in your invulnerability; rather, a knowing that you are love, you are perfect, you already are everything and you already have everything. Freedom, therefore, requires a conscious awakening, an alignment with that which is real, a detachment from that which is material form and; thus, impermanent and unstable.

You are connected with people who say they love you or care about you...and, in return, they feel justified in controlling you. That isn't love or caring, it is slavery.

There is nothing wrong with you. You are already perfect. You are free to be what you are and to do what you want. The universe has already given you permission to exist in perfect peace and harmony, alone or with anyone you choose to be with, doing or saying whatever comes natural. If someone who you love is jealous or controlling, that is his ego and it is his problem. It is your job to teach him how to cure that jealousy, how to not become overwhelmed by it. If you continue to fear and respect his ego, you make his jealousy real. You enable him to suffer further. But if you love him, then lovingly tell him that you are free...just as he is...and then show him what love is.

Do not let a school tell you that you must get good grades or you will not have a successful life. Do not identity with a job or profession. You want to be successful, and a successful life requires a knowing of your true identity. Do not fear the loss of a friendship or a relationship. If you believe that you need someone else...that means you do not know your true identity. You do not believe in what you are and, therefore, have given away your freedom as though it is worth nothing. In truth, it is worth everything..

Without freedom, your life will never be successful. The universe cannot channel its abundance through you if you allow the egos around you to block the light. You cannot respond to your intuition if you hide it and allow others to attack it. You cannot find peace, love, or health if what you serve is ego. Your true nature is freedom, and this knowledge alone is powerful enough to destroy ego.

Only when you slip outside of ego, you can become free. Only in freedom can you begin to love. Now you will stop sneaking around, stop lying, stop fantasizing, and stop cheating. If you think dishonesty is a form of sensitivity, nothing could be further from the truth. You are, instead, serving an illusion that perpetuates ego-based ignorance and cruelty.

Claim your freedom and let go of all shame and guilt. Your life will be filled with energy. This energy, this love, is life's creative energy. It will flow from you to your partner, to your spouse, to your children, to your dog, and to everyone you come into contact with. Far from lacking; you have just become the source of abundance (rather than a shameful coward waiting for breadcrumbs to drop from the table). 

That fear you believe is real...it isn't real. That fear is the tool of those who are trying to control you. A slave cannot be slightly more free. If you allow yourself to be a little bit of a slave, then you are a slave. Freedom is honesty, it is a knowing of what you truly are, an awareness that there is nothing wrong with you. Be love. You are not your thoughts, you are the observer of thoughts. In life and even in death, your soul is eternal and invulnerable. This knowing is freedom.

Claim your freedom now, and refuse to slip back into fear. This requires a daily spiritual practice and meditation. Try it, and you will find out that there is nothing to fear.

Fear


Straight people also need to come out of the closet!

I was watching Queer Eye on Netflix last night (episode 4 To Gay or Not Too Gay) and realized...we need a way for straight people to come out of the closet too!

Coming out isn't just about sex or sexuality. Maybe it isn't even about being gay.  Coming out is about being brave enough to be who you truly are.  It's about not caring what people think.  Coming out is about saying, "Hey Mom, hey Dad, this is who I am...I'm just gonna be me from now on...I'm gonna do things my way...I would like you to please try to accept me for who I am." 

Coming out is about claiming freedom from the expectations of others. It is about designing your own life, doing things your way, loving who you want to love, following your own career path, maybe dropping out of college or going on a trip around the world, maybe choosing minimalism, exploring spirituality, alternative lifestyles, being who you truly and authentically are. How tragic it is that this most important ritual is only something homosexuals get to do!

Fuck that. It's time for everyone to come out of the closet. It's time to break from from social expectations, sexual norms, traditional male/female roles...it's time for you to be flamboyantly you

Come out to the world. Stop living according to the expectations of others and start being true to your own intuition. What do you really think about monogamy? How do you feel about marriage? Parenting roles and expectations? Gender roles? Professional stereotypes? Cultural traditions? Political issues? Social issues? Why not openly state your truth and then begin to live it? Why not find your authentic voice, even if your friends and family don't get it?

If you continue living according to the expectations of others, that isn't freedom. Are you obeying the rules of your parents, or worse yet your husband or wife? Fuck that. Be true to who you are an what you know is true. Let the world adjust to fit you. Maybe you are afraid to express yourself creatively? Fuck that. Maybe you are tired of dressing a certain way, talking a certain way, making the same bullshit small-talk? Let it go.

Come out. Be proud. Be you. This is the most important of life's rituals, and it isn't something that should be reserved only for homosexuals. Now is the time for you to come out and be flamboyantly you. 

Here's my coming out: I'm openly spiritual. I believe that love is unconditional or it isn't love. I'm polyamorous and think monogamy for life is a terrible idea. I will not be limited by the guilt and shame put on me by others. I truly do not care about judgments or opinions. I believe the universe is abundant and there's no reason to fear. I'm bored to death by small-talk and refuse to engage. I believe that it is possible to completely escape ego. I will write and sing what I want to and do business the way I want to. I will live where I want to live and be myself no matter what. I will love completely and love for life. I will parent according to my deepest human truths. That's a start.

Actually, I have come out of the closet many times over the years...and each time I have faced exactly what a homosexual might face. I've lost people for sure...but that is exactly what needed to happen for me to move forward.

We all need to come out because it is the only way to be free...the only way to be you.

Queer eye


We will see

It is easy to write a book that espouses the highest ideals. What's more difficult is to take those ideals and to live in the real world, as it actually is, each moment of each day. 

Sometimes it seems that the famous writers, motivational speakers, and spiritual leaders of this world are coasting through life--cushioned from the struggles, challenges, and hardships the rest of us go through. There they stand, comfortable in front of large crowds of people who are faithful enough--or perhaps desperate enough--to pay good money for their transformative presence. Are these famous spiritual or self-help leaders walking the walk, or are they merely earning a living by telling us what we want to believe and what we wish were true? Would their ideals work in their own lives even if there was no paying audience? It is a good question.

Most of us would like to be happier, we desire inner-peace and transformation; but we believe it isn't possible for us--or isn't relevant to us because of the reality of our life circumstances. One may ask, what special skills or talents do I have? How can this type of spiritual wisdom help me find a better job or earn more money? Will an enlightened version of me appeal to my romantic partner, or will I grow old alone in my decaying wisdom? Again, these are valid questions.

While I am espousing a set of spiritual beliefs, I certainly don't earn much money from an audience. I am not writing with the intention of getting rich or famous. I am only writing about how I do live. If these ideas and concepts prove to have any value at all, then they will shine in my real life as I walk my talk.

Who am I? Am I an author? Sort of, but not really. Am I a musician? Sort of , but not really. Am I a sales professional or an entrepreneur? Well, this is how I pay the bills, but does that have anything to do with this? If you end up following my blog or getting in touch with me, then the only thing you will find is a person, just like you, simply trying his best.

I believe in Love. I believe in the power of the now. I believe that it is possible to live entirely outside the ego. I believe that the universe is abundant. I believe that Love is everywhere and that it melts away all resistance. I believe that to be alive is to be giving, and the best way to give is to create. But I also know that I am living in a world in which few other people share these perspectives. Can these truths, can this approach to living actually work in the world we actually live in? We will see what manifests in my now.

In this world, to be normal is to distrust people, to avoid potentially uncomfortable situations, to avoid risk, and perhaps most of all: to fear. Few of us have ever taken big, bold steps outside of what is considered normal. At least I have done that. Most of what I do would be considered crazy and too risky to most people. It isn't that I am trying to prove anything; I am only trying to be me and to live in alignment with what feels right and natural. So far, things seem to be going quite well, but we will see. It isn't that I'm waiting for the future for an answer. The future doesn't exist. Nor does the past. What exists is the constantly present now. That which enters and leaves the now as I live according to this set of spiritual principles? We will see.  

I will not be standing in front of a large crowd telling people what they should do anytime soon. I will simply continue to be honest and to live according to what I believe is right, even if most of it goes directly against what is normal and what all of society believes. 


How to dream

Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, but underestimate what they can accomplish in a decade. 

-Tony Robbins

I would like to share an amazingly powerful and simple way you can achieve your dreams. Spend an hour or two simply writing an essay about your life 10 years from now. Describe everything about your day, from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. Describe your room, your house, the place where you work. Describe how many children you have. Allow yourself to dream by following just one rule: there are no limits. Write as though there are no financial, geographic, or any other kinds of constraints. Think only about what you want, what makes you excited, what would be fun, what would make you feel good. What would your life look like if you could be completely you?

For this exercise, there are no externally-imposed restrictions or restraints preventing you from everything you truly, madly, deeply want. Write about that. You don't have to show it to anyone (unless your partner is extremely like-minded and open-minded). Just write it, save it, and put it away. Now, go on living your life and see what happens in 10 years.

Debbie Millman talks about this on a recent Tim Ferriss Podcast. I have also experienced this in my life.

Back around 1995, when I was still in college, I had a wild, unrealistic fantasy about my life in the future. I was visiting Slovakia, where my wife was from and where her family lives. I loved spending time in Europe and dreamed of living there. I remember one moment, strolling in the city center of Kosice. I pointed at a beautiful building in the old town and said to my wife, "Someday we could live right here. The Internet will be faster, so we could move here and work at home for American companies. All we need is a fast connection and a US phone number. Nobody would even know where we are located."

Hlavna

Here's the spot in Kosice, Slovakia

This wild dream of living in Slovakia was now vivid. I imagined that, in my spare time, I would read in cafes. I would write books. I would play guitar. Maybe I would even start a band, record music, go on tour. All this would be possible if I could find a way to earn a good living while living in Slovakia. I also needed enough spare time, which I figured would be no problem if I could work from home. Back in the days of dial-up Internet, this dream was laughable. We went for ice cream and did not discuss this further.

10 years later, by 2005, my idea was not so crazy anymore. Broadband and VoIP technology had made it possible to do exactly as I had dreamed. That year, we moved to Kosice and took our American income with us. Remarkably, we lived in the exact building I pointed at in 1995.

In the years that followed, my life became exactly as I had imagined. I wrote books. I started a band. I recorded albums. I traveled Europe. I don't remember striving toward any of this. I did not exactly plan it, and I certainly did not force it through any kind of will-power. It was enough only to imagine it vividly and then go on with life.

Here's how it works: when you have a clear vision that excites you, then you make little decisions every day which are compatible with the vision. If you fall in love with a dream, then you avoid making life decisions which may prevent you from living the dream. Slowly, these small decisions start to reveal a realistic path. What was once distant and impossible begins to look sane and likely. It isn't so much about taking a leap; rather, taking tiny steps each day. A decade is a long time. You don't have to strain yourself. Just paint a picture of your future and go on living. But be careful what you wish for, though, because it probably will happen! 

No matter where you are in life or how old you are, just start writing. Today, I wrote about my life again, 10 years from now. Thank you Tim Ferriss and Debbie Millman for the encouragement.


Enlighten Us (documentary about James Arthur Ray)

I have a serious problem with the idea of spending massive amounts of money to sit in a conference room listening to some self-help guru or motivational speaker. I am also allergic to church and despise therapy. Call me crazy, but I try to avoid cults as well.

Here's what I think: if a leader is trying to cultivate followers, what they are actually trying to do is cultivate sheep. 

What is "self-help?" Isn't self-help about enabling and empowering you to become the master of your own life? Aren't you meant to align yourself with the higher truth of the universe so that you might flourish? Is there any way that this can happen if you are willing to become a conformist, a follower, a sheep? Gurus want you to follow them only so that they can take your money. Real transformation, on the other hand, is only possible when you find the courage to not to follow anyone.

The therapist doesn't want to cure the patient because she earns a living from repeat visits. Similarly, the self-help guru, cult leader, or televangelist never delivers the life transformation he promises because he needs followers. Followers = butts in seats = money = the symbols of success = equals more followers and the cycle continues.

If you attend seminars, if you trust a therapist, or if you put your faith in a church, then you are leaning heavily on a faulty crutch rather than taking real steps. By becoming a follower, you have chosen to ignore your inner voice and to ignore the infinite wisdom already inside you. By putting yourself in that room and worshiping your chosen leader, you are dissolving your greatness into a group of fakers while ignoring your power, your divinity, and your creative potential. You are passively submissive to someone who you believe is better than you and, while their empowering language may make you feel good, you are not walking the walk and you are not becoming a master of your own life. Mastery begins only when you stop this cycle.

I believe that a person who is healed, who has actually undergone a transformation, who is connected with the source of creation and who is enjoying the abundance of the universe--that person is going to have a strong reaction against sitting in a cold, dark conference room being worked into a frenzy by a show, a performance that is led by a snake-oil salesman offering only enough nuggets of wisdom to tease the next dollar from your pocket.

If a guru or leader is attempting to build a following, then he or she is a fraud. Watch the film Enlighten Us on Netflix. This must-see documentary is about the rise and fall of James Arthur Ray--a dangerous fraud who cares only about his own success. The man is a psychopath who justifies his destruction by honestly believing he is trying to help people.

The film hits close to home for me because I am something of a self-help author newcomer. But unlike James Arthur Ray and the others, you will never find me in front of an audience giving a performance in order to collect followers. I don't want anybody passively sitting in any audience listening to what I have to say. I want you to read, to step outside of your ego, to open yourself to Love, and then to connect with others who have done the same.

Don't look at any leader for direction or you will become lost. Look inward and then connect with others who are doing the same. You can learn from famous people, but don't follow them. Don't trust me, don't trust anyone--trust truth and know that the best truth sensor is your own intuition. To conform to a group is to kill that intuition, to shut down your inner-voice, and to move away from the possibility of transformation rather than toward it.

Devour books, watch speeches on YouTube, absorb as much wisdom as you possibly can--but evaluate it according to your own, independent, inner-voice and intuition. No supposed leader has the right to ask for your money for the privilege of sitting in a seat, shaking a hand, or becoming a loyal follower. Transformation starts when you begin to respect yourself more than that. I Love you and respect you so much that I wouldn't let you follow me even if you tried to.

Abc_gma_harris_091029_ms

*Photo of James Arthur Ray, a psychopath who people actually have followed.


False certainty

I have found that most people would rather live in a state of false certainty than accepted reality. The problem with false certainty is that, well, it is false. Your life is an illusion. If you cling to what you want to believe, see only what you want to see, and tell yourself only the stories that you want to hear, then you are cruising through life blindly and certain to fall. Your perceived reality has little in common with actual reality. False certainty may sustain the status quo for a while and may help you cope in the moment, but as a result you make bad decisions, miss opportunities, fail to grow and inevitably experience painful shock and surprise at every turn.

Reality can suck, but the only way you are going to make it suck any less is to embrace it, know it, and change it. If you want any real improvement, truth must be your starting point. Only when you understand your truth can you begin to respond in the ways that you care capable of responding. Here are some strategies to help you start moving in the right direction:

1) Let's start with your relationship realities. Do you embrace honesty and openness in your relationships or do you expect the people in your life to follow your rules and tell you what you want to hear? Encourage the people closest to you to tell you how they really feel about anything and everything. Ask them to be sensitive in their truths, but try to stay strong. Embrace and accept what they are telling you.

Do you really know what your kids are going through? If your normal reaction is outrage, disapproval ,or punishment, then you can be pretty sure that they aren't telling you. Do you know if your spouse is honest and faithful? If you have threatened divorce over non-monogamy and get angry when she expresses her truest, darkest feelings, then your spouse isn't going to tell you what's going on. 

Better to base your relationships on unconditional truth and acceptance and then do your absolute best not to freak out when the truth comes your way. The payoff is the bliss that comes from true closeness and the deeper sense of security that comes from knowing the truth about your relationships. It isn't easy to offer acceptance and unconditional love to the people we love most because sometimes the truth feels threatening. But the truth is the truth and it is better to know it. Besides, anything less than unconditional acceptance is something less than love.

2) Look at your financial realities. How much money do you have? Is your business really profitable? Does your job pay enough to support your lifestyle? How much debt do you actually have? Is it growing or shrinking? 

What are your goals? If you stay on the current path, are you going to do the things that you want to with your life? If not then what, specifically, are you going to do each month to make some progress?

If you are employed, then is your job really as stable and permanent as you like to believe it is? Is it not possible that your CEO is in acquisition negotiations right now and a layoff is coming next month? A job offers false certainty whereas a move to self employment may be scary at first, but ultimately offers a more certain reality that you have some control over.

3) If you are a student, do you know what to expect from your chosen field after graduation? Are you sure that you really want to continue down the current path? If not, make changes. If you are an artist or in any way creative, get honest reactions about your work. Are people loving it? If not, then knowing this is the starting point to getting better.

4) Be honest with yourself. Don't tell yourself that you are any greater or more special than you are. Also, don't believe that you are any less great or special than you are. Accept that which you actually are and start living your truth. Others will adjust.

5) What actually makes you excited? What makes you feel good to be alive and looking forward to a new day? Be honest with yourself and then do that thing. This is what nature wants you to do and there is no guilt or shame in following nature's call. This is your intuition, your calling, your destiny. Stop lying to yourself and accept the truth about what excites you.

Delusion

I hope that this post, in some small way, encourages you to become brave enough to step out of any false certainty in your life so that you may embrace what is, change what you don't like, and become what you are.