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Finding Your Truth

I could have easily titled this blog “Finding MY Truth” but that’s not what this written effort is about.  This blog’s focus is to help others in finding their own truth.

In reality, your TRUTH might not be the same as MY truth; but what I’d like others to know is that I compassionately encourage you in your explorations to find your personal truth because I know how arduous that search can be—how rocky the terrain that lies ahead—how tedious the extended journey awaiting you, simply to uncover those deeply-hidden secrets of YOU. 

And I also know how life can change in an instant when the winding, mountainous path that you were so confidently traveling suddenly crumbles beneath your feet—tossing you screaming off the cliff and out into space.

Having faced some of that unexpected “air time” myself, I know how shocking it can be when your life suddenly falls apart, forcing you to see how quickly you either learn to fly, or how well you can bounce once you do hit the canyon floor.  

Also from my own experiences in personal TRUTH finding (as well as surviving LIFE’s challenges), I know how rare it is to find others willing to offer emotional support or encouragement to get you back on your feet again without a ‘profit motive’ involved.  True, we all have to make a living, but there are times when you should compassionately look to help others without first considering what they can offer you in return.   

So up front here: I don’t want your money—in fact I don’t want anything from you other than some deep soul-searching to determine what you really expect from LIFE and what LIFE expects from you in return.

If you can answer those two key questions to your own satisfaction, then that’s plenty reciprocal reward for me.

Remember, MY truth may not be YOUR truth, but I know MY truth better than I know yours, so that is likely what I will write about the most and hope you can see parallels or divergences by which to gauge your own truth. 

Life is an adventure—one we may never truly understand in this plane of existence—but one we have to navigate all the same.  So good luck!  As you journey ever forward, stay alert to avoid sudden pitfalls and just watch where you step in general, because it’s one big ‘cow pasture’ out there.*   

* (I’m from Iowa: If you think dogs leave an unappreciated ‘pile’ behind in walkways, imagine what a bunch of cows might leave behind during your pastoral wandering.)

On Pursuing Personal Transformation

I will occasionally mention resources available to you, whether books, or people, or courses that might help open you to your true higher potential. One of those information sources that I’ve found most helpful during my earlier growth period was Alberto Villoldo, PhD—psychologist, anthropologist, modern shamanic teacher of the ancient Peruvian Medicine Wheel philosophies/techniques who presently still teaches through The Four Winds Society, which he founded.

I’d been into alternative healing techniques (USUI and KARUNA REIKI) for quite awhile by the time the “shamanic” bug hit me, and I knew then that I had to learn more about that practice because it would further my general knowledge of energy-work.  So I took a two-year Shamanic apprenticeship through a different person, but read all of Villoldo’s books during that same time, and liked how he distilled the real philosophical life-lesson value from the physical “doings” of the practice that I was learning.

I still receive his newsletter emails, and in this mid-January one, he mentions a key thought often camouflaged beneath the shamanic rituals and cultural accoutrements that signify the Medicine Wheel practice: “Unencumbered by miracles, anthropomorphic gods, and the embroidery of centuries of telling, interpreting, and retelling, the medicine wheel was an itinerary for self-discovery and transformation.”

That statement accurately described the Medicine Wheel experience for me: “an itinerary for self-discovery and transformation.”

One could use the teachings of the Medicine Wheel to better understand the deeper aspects of living in this strange, enigmatic world, and then use that newly gained knowledge to transform one’s life. Shamanism was an interesting path to increased self-awareness—but it was ONE path to choose, not the only one. There are many.

For myself, I found shamanism to be far more right-brain focused than left-brain, meaning that so much of whatever you did during your training was dual-purposed; that there was the literal ritual or practice that you may be performing for the reason that you are given by your instructor, and then there was the ulterior reason for doing it that you may not presently understand or be told about because it’s meant to affect you at a level of consciousness to which you might not yet be familiar. There were different layers of consciousness triggered during many practices—particularly during trance-work or what is called “shamanic journeying.”

I wouldn’t call that type of teaching initially deceptive, but I would call it more self-revealing in time. There are some things in life that you simply have to discover for yourself to comprehend the magnitude of their value. Many of the life-lessons that I learned during my own shamanic experiences were definitely in that category of self-revelatory.  While some were pleasant, some were definitely NOT.  

Here in the January newsletter, Alberto describes his early teacher in the practice and the metaphoric/symbolic meanings of each primary Peruvian Medicine Wheel direction:

“I met Professor Antonio Morales, who became my first shamanic mentor, in the early 1970s. …

He was a Quechua native and a man of two worlds: a beloved professor of philosophy at the university in Cusco and a fearsome master healer of great regard in the countryside. It was don Antonio who introduced me to the medicine wheel—a map for healing, diversely represented by many generations of indigenous people.

The medicine wheel begins in the South, where we learn to walk with beauty on the Earth. The South is also where one goes to confront and shed the past, just as the serpent—the archetypal symbol of this direction—sheds its skin.

In the West, we call on the archetype of the jaguar to help us find those things that need to die within us so that we can be claimed by life. Here, one assumes the stance of the spiritual warrior who has no enemies in this life or the next.

In the North, the archetype of the hummingbird helps us learn how to connect to our passion and drink only from the sweetest sources—those that nourish the soul. It is here we learn to step outside of linear time, which binds us to cause and effect, and step into sacred time where all things are possible.

The East is the path of the eagle and condor—the flight to the Sun and the journey back to one’s home to exercise vision and skills in the context of one’s life and work. In the East we learn how to dream our world into being.

I remember thinking that here was the most elegant description of the ‘hero’s journey’ I had ever heard: a distillate of all those tales of other’s experiences—the very tales that we have fashioned into the myths and religions of our species. Unencumbered by miracles, anthropomorphic gods, and the embroidery of centuries of telling, interpreting, and retelling, the medicine wheel was an itinerary for self-discovery and transformation. There was something irresistibly primal and elemental about it, something authoritative, as if it represented one of the earliest descriptions of the phenomenon of awareness, the mechanism of consciousness.”

Just to be clear here, I’m not pushing the shamanic experience for you.  I’m merely saying that it is a path toward increased awareness of who you truly are and how you fit into the world itself.

I will say this though, that IF you do choose this particular path, make sure you have a reliable, reputable teacher—not one who shoves you toward the “ayahuasca quick-trip to self-awareness” with native plant-based hallucinogens and shady support systems.

There is NO quick trip to increased self-awareness. It’s a slow and lengthy healing journey because it’s meant to be that way for maximum effect in your life.

The Quest for Intelligent Beliefs

Just finished a novel exploring the philosophy of creating Artificial Intelligence (AI) robotic ‘beings,’ which as a serious consideration in today’s world is both fascinating and somewhat freaky.  What I enjoyed most about the book was the exposition of a specific religious perspective set against establishing proposed ‘rights’ for a new and artificially created ‘life-form,’ all of which are likely to be actual issues for the future of humanity (as it is now with ‘cloning’)—issues like the ethics and morality of actually creating a new life-form.  

Another issue explored was: Is there really an afterlife for humans and/or AIs, and does an AI have a ‘soul’ that could transition to such a location upon expiration from the earth plane?

Overall the book examined FAITH in general—WHAT we believe to be true and WHY we insist on those beliefs when there is so little scientific evidence to support it.  

As a book, to me it was pretty good at times when it considered serious social issues such as questioning the validity and basis of BELIEF in general, but then it slipped into the standard plot/action/main character-triumphs sort of thing to which popular fiction often resorts, which left me feeling a bit unsatisfied; but still it got me thinking about these core issues, which is a good thing.

I do love reading a good philosophical expose mainly because it helps me to clarify what I truly believe myself.

Perhaps you also might find that over the course of your lives one of the most important aspects of finding your own truth is to define what you actually DO believe about the world around you so you can better understand how and why you interact with that same world because of those BELIEFS.

Sometimes we may not even know exactly what we DO believe about life in general until we can better comprehend what it is that we DON’T believe about it—it’s a means of establishing comparative values, etc.

Other times, all it takes is for someone to make a statement against some premise that for whatever reason we hold dear to our hearts, and we are instantly ‘triggered’—our tempers immediately flare, and we know then that a ‘personal belief’ was just questioned, and we automatically reacted to the questioning of it. That’s a very insightful moment for us if we can recognize it as such.

Why that is so potentially insightful is because that many of our most basic beliefs were established during our earliest years of initial comprehension about the world around us—back when we were around 3 or 4 years of age when our brains were just starting to ‘make some kind of sense’ over all that we were experiencing daily. 

PAIN and PLEASURE were big motivators back then since our newly-developing brains weren’t yet capable of logic or reasoning. And our caregivers often used those simple motivators to train us toward correct or acceptable behaviors. Threats of punishments to come or being shamed and ridiculed for displeasing them—where we felt less loved by them if we acted in certain ways—were all behavioral modification techniques employed to teach us how to view others and ourselves in the new world that we were exploring.

Back then, most parents wanted us to adopt their particular beliefs both for our personal safety and for their ease in training us in ‘acceptable behaviors’ to live in the world that they best knew—the world that had nurtured their own beliefs and had guided their own parents to train them when they, in reverse order, were babies themselves.

Dominant religious institutions in our particular world locale often tried to establish their early influence in our budding awareness to help shape the new world that we saw from their perspective, so we could either adapt easily into or counter the workings of the affecting world into which we were being forcefully thrust by simple reason of our birth there.  

Even educational institutions during our early development were often a mix of secular and religious influences, depending on where we lived or how we were raised. Some were open-minded and all-faiths considering while others were restrictive and limited as to what true ‘believers’ could think, say or do.

It wasn’t until late in our young-adult development period when we first began to understand that while everyone viewed life in their own particular way, that maybe we did or maybe didn’t agree with them, but that it was okay to feel either agreement or disagreement about it.  Or was it okay to question those other beliefs—or to question our OWN beliefs that we had known from childhood onwards?

Maybe we experienced some uncomfortable situations when disagreeing with the beliefs of our childhood didn’t feel sookay’ to us.  Maybe we found that if we were willing to agree with the established group doctrine, we were more easily accepted into the group itself; but if we disagreed with it, we were more likely to be criticized, ostracized, or even rejected by those closest to us, perhaps including family members, so it was a pretty big deal IF and WHEN we first made those rebellious noises of disagreement with the norms and standards of our previously-accepted world views.  

That’s the thing about beliefs in general—everyone has them and they may not be exactly the same, but should everyone have a right to their own beliefs?

I guess that’s something you’ll have to decide for yourselves.

Intelligent beliefs are the ones you adopt with full awareness of your true feelings for WHY you feel the way that you do.

When you can at least admit that WHY-ness factor and locate the origin of your accepting that belief as TRUTH for you, then you will know that it is truly YOUR belief that you’ve adopted—not merely a reconstituted, parental belief from a time when you weren’t capable of actually considering the merits of it for yourself.

Or maybe the world around you hasn’t changed much since your childhood, but maybe YOU HAVE.

Choosing Your Path

Long, long ago when life was still just a juicy mystery to me—back when I believed certain things to be clearly true and others to be evidently false because of it—back when I thought I could learn or at least deduce all I ever needed to know about life through researching the answers to my deepest questions by reading ancient tomes or by first-hand witnessing of life’s secret lessons shown only to spiritually-hungering me; yes, way back then in my most youthful, egoic ignorance did I assume that I could choose a path that would lead me into the ultimate clarification of my purpose for existence in the here and now, and by simply following that path I would reach the pinnacle of knowledge and awareness existing beyond my deepest desires and wildest comprehension.

In short, I thought that if I worked hard enough at it, I would eventually become ENLIGHTENED.  

But much to my youthful surprise, there wasn’t just ONE path that I decided to follow for possible future illumination.  No, there were many that I tried, and each one did show me hints of higher meaning in the daily doings of my life, but at the same time, I still needed to make a living in this world that we all share, so my quest for enlightenment took a backseat to my need to eat and live comfortably.  

Many folks understand that dilemma. And the more dependents that you have, the less extra time you find to pursue those non-essential endeavors. So my PATH to higher awareness needed to be doable but practical even if somewhat time-restricted.

Yes, even as I snicker at it now, that WAS how I pragmatically framed my “non-essential” spiritual quest.

Throughout those less-than-illuminating years, I did find that whatever elusive wisdom I doggedly pursued in such haphazard fashion always seemed to elude me. I was a persistent, perpetual seeker, yes, but what was it that I really sought?  Did I even know that?

As an avid (or more likely rabid) reader, I read classic wisdom books from historical philosophy to comparative religions. I read standard epics like the Bible (cover to cover), the Bhagvad Gita, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, Swami Muktananda’s Play of Consciousness, plus numerous books on various branches of Buddhism (Zen, Tibetan, Theravadic).

I read of both ancient and modern forms of Shamanism from the Siberian Steppes to the Meso/South American Native Cultures.  I even dabbled into psychology theorists like Jung, James, Rogers, Maslow, and many, many others. My desire to learn as much as I could about ALL OF IT and about ALL OF US was so great.

From all of those numerous works, I primarily learned that some form of meditation was a key to exploring inner states of consciousness and it could provide a respite from the constant internal striving that seemed to define my earlier adult life. So I learned to meditate.

Then somewhere down the line after decades of trying first one thing and then another, I finally realized that we don’t really choose our path in life as much as the path chooses us if we allow it to do so.  If we can calm the constant cacophony in our heads and allow our deepest intuitive self to guide us in our higher consciousness quests, we will naturally do what most needs to be done at any time, and feel greater peace inside while doing it. 

What I finally comprehended after all those years of intentional seeking was this:  It wasn’t that I needed to DO something, so much as I simply needed to BE.

I mean that sounds overly simplistic and maybe a little gimmicky, but it was still true.  And while it might seem easy enough to practice that simple premise, it took me a very long time to actually accomplish it.

There are those who claim you must suffer to reach enlightenment—that it is through the suffering that we understand our human frailty and accept our pending mortality—that we realize how ephemeral this moment in time truly is and how valuable that makes every moment of life for ourselves and for all others.  But I personally think suffering is only one path—one teacher to attaining a greater awareness.

We all know that there are many ways to suffer in this life, some of which we may have witnessed, if not personally experienced ourselves. Suffering might build character and help us develop a more true sense of humility, but it’s certainly not pleasant to endure nor is it always the easiest path to make sense of during the process.

In essence, I think that the true PATH for you is there under your feet right now.  Perhaps you don’t recognize it as such because of life’s distractions and society’s constantly-shifting smokescreens playing non-stop in front of you 24/7/365, but your path IS there and all you need to do to realize it is to stop long enough to simply breathe yourself alive again and let the world spin on past you. Once the world passes, you can see it more clearly for what it actually is:

It’s whatever you want it to be. 

Recognizing ‘Relativity’ in Your Life

When I mention relativity, I’m not thinking about all those family situations with oversized pot-luck dinners and raucous “discussions” on many subjects better left unmentioned during the gathering of the clan. Nor am I about to expound on Einstein’s physics theory, except peripherally, I suppose. 

I’m actually referring to being able to acknowledge a sense of proportion in acknowledging pain or joy in your life—the ability to recognize the relativity of pain or joy in all your life situations and experiences.

While pain is never hard to recognize in whatever form that it takes (mentally, emotionally, or physically), it is often hard to gauge the degree of pain that you might be experiencing at any one time. That makes PAIN one of those relative affectors in your overall thinking or your daily doings when you spend so much of your waking life trying to avoid feeling it.

Considering the relativity of whatever you might be feeling at any moment allows for perspective shifting to help avoid slipping into an emotional downer-funk or a self-pitying whine-fest when things begin to go badly for you.   

Example: Let’s say you have a nasty cold and all the detritus that comes with that, and while you are rubbing your face—with every muscle aching from your head to your feet and sniffling away into your Kleenex, you’re  thinking, “Oh man, I could NOT feel any worse than I do right now.”

Well life will immediately respond to that erroneous statement by adding to your ills in some way, perhaps with a little digestive disruption at both ends of the line, and you will then think, “No, I was wrong, this IS definitely worse!”  So your aches and pains during those comparative times were actually relative.

Point being that if you’ve ever had serious physical pain issues like back trouble, or migraines, or arthritis or skin sensitivity, or any other possibly debilitating pain challenges, you know that the degree of discomfort felt can vary radically from minimal life disruption to total incapacitation, just in the span of a few minutes depending on the causative situation experienced and the amount of physical pain that you can successfully tolerate.  

However, emotional and mental pains are more difficult for us to gauge and resolve. Unlike degrees of physical pain, they are harder to file away in your temporary memory storage as just a momentary spasm or even a Level 8 “Where’s the Vicodin?” event.  

Emotional and mental pains linger in our lives well beyond dictates of reason and logic—they just do.  And since they are often linked to childhood issues, we’ve all been living with them for a very long time. That makes them harder to gauge in terms of their relativity to your overall life functioning.

Joy might be considered similarly relative except it is an even harder scale to gauge than pain might be. Sometimes JOY might be considered as the absence of PAIN, which is a bit sad to not recognize it for its own sake. But yet for many, the absence of PAIN is definitely a JOY, as are other similar circumstances:

  • Having sufficient food to eat is a JOY. 
  • Having a warm, safe and secure home to reside in when the temps are near zero and the snows are swirling, is a JOY.
  • Having loving companionship to face a difficult day or night, is a JOY.
  • Having your health and enough money to live without hardship, is a JOY.

There are truly delicious events and circumstances that raise our spirits and bring smiles to our faces, and may even erupt into a laugh if we allow it; and without a doubt those are joyful experiences and we can easily recognize them as such.

But to always find some JOY in the less desirable circumstances of our lives or in the smallest of kindnesses that we may receive from others, is to understand the true relativity of our life experience and to celebrate the more joyful moments whenever and wherever we can find them.  

Facing Life’s Challenges

From a more spiritual perspective, the picture above of the lotus on the water reminds me of the often used slogan: “No mud; no lotus,” which refers to the necessity of your experiencing the nastier aspects of life in order to produce the most beautiful flower of your higher awareness. 

Life challenges are the lotus flower’s growing environment beneath the reflective water.   The shimmering pool above hides the boot-sucking, ankle-deep, organic muck lying below the water’s surface that often produces the prettiest lotus blooms.

The obvious analogy is that those challenging situations that often give you the most grief also provide the necessary “training ground” for developing your strongest and most powerful life expressions—because like it or not, they build your character. They often show you who you really are and what you are made of besides the rawness of your emotions and your natural reactions to life’s difficulties.  How you approach each life challenge will determine how strong your lotus stem will grow to support the expanse of your future blossom.

The Vietnamese Buddhist Monk and world-famous peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, put out a 2014 version of that Zen-like title: No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering.  Honestly I have not read it, but reviewers say it mentions his previous writings, and I have read many of those.  This man has known challenges throughout his life, and he knows what it takes to rise above life’s unpleasantness.  He also knows the proper context in which to frame/view his life, which is something you may be presently encountering in your own situations.

And when it comes down to finding your truth, one of the most important life strategies you must learn to define is how to successfully deal with a life challenge, because you will face them over and over throughout your life.

That challenge can be most anything from the simplest decisions on what to do or where to go that day depending on your finances or companionship, or it might be life defining—like how to face your own or a loved one’s serious health issues or to even contemplate your eventual mortality.

I mention the term “strategies” a lot because developing a strategy—a plan—to handle difficult situations is what gets us through the tough times. Life strategies help us approach a pending problem by setting a plan in place to help us through the tough decisions or the more difficult realities that we must eventually face. 

Strategies can help shift us out of the raw emotions of natural reactivity (horror, avoidance, anger, grief, even denial) to any discomfort or hardship before us, and into a less-emotional plan to deal with the pending difficulty in the best possible way for our person, and to help maintain our sanity which may feel like it’s slipping away by the second.

Is it always possible to view our lives so rationally and unemotionally? 

No, not at all. That’s why it becomes so important to distance ourselves in perspective from the immediacy of the possible trauma effects we might be feeling until we are capable of more properly assessing what is actually happening to us, as well as determining who all may be affected by any repercussions of our actions or inactions pertaining to the situation itself.

While that sounds easy enough, it definitely isn’t.

How I personally might develop a life strategy for facing general challenges is by charting the situation all out on paper—putting the challenge faced on one page, another page would list how this challenge might affect my life for better or worse, another page would then be created to define the information I still needed to better understand the implications of choosing one possible solution over another one, along with the best options for dealing with the challenge itself, and the last page would be to address the true emotions of what facing this challenge means to me—both in the now and in the future.  While you want to step out of emotions to do a proper strategy assessment, you do still need to examine and actually accept the emotions that you are having toward the situation that you may be facing.

I’ll give you an example: Nothing can kick you in the gut faster or suddenly shift your life more completely than hearing your loved one has a terminal illness where nothing can be done to help them, or even worse, to hear that your loved one has suddenly died.  It simply shocks you to your core!  Sometimes it is SO traumatic to you (mentally, emotionally, even physically) that you feel you just can’t deal with the news—you don’t want to hear it—you don’t want to think about it—you don’t want to ….do much of anything but collapse on the floor, sobbing your heart out for the loss that you either are feeling or know you will soon feel.  

In truth, sometimes life sucks. Sometimes our choices or options for handling the difficult situation are fairly restricted.  And sometimes our only choice in the matter is in our attitude toward whatever we may now have to face.

There’s a pertinent Viktor Frankl quote pertaining to this attitude choice (and if you still haven’t read his book, you really should): “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Also, I do want to emphasize that there are folks who can help you decide how to face your life challenge whatever it might be—doctors, therapists, counselors, etc., even friends and family members might help you in defining your true options in the challenging situation before you.

But to me, no matter what you must deal with, the best strategy is the one where you assess your situation in complete self-honesty to provide you with all the information necessary to choose your best possible path forward.  Only then will you have the peace of mind that whatever the outcome you have chosen, you made an educated decision that seemed in your or your loved one’s best interest at the time.

And then know in your heart that was the very best decision that you could make for you or for them.  

Resets and Resolutions

The positive thing about setting resolutions is that it helps us to focus on our goals and our intentions for the future.

The negative thing about resolutions is that we tend to feel guilty when we slip or if we toss them completely after the first tough day. If that happens, we risk feeling like a failure for fudging on our stated intentions or for abandoning our life-changing goal. And no one likes that “failure” feeling, so we’re naturally not that excited about considering lifestyle changes that are really tough to sustain.

In general I think resets and resolutions can be very beneficial IF we are truthful with ourselves about what we intend to accomplish through them—truthful on how doing this particular thing or maybe NOT doing this particular ‘thing’ mentioned can improve the quality of our lives. Those are reasonable expectations to set—when it’s all about improving the quality of your life.

Like many of you, I’ve had my share of good intentions gone awry or bad eating habits that returned after a few days or weeks of serious efforts to eliminate them.  But I’ve also had a few successes, so I have some idea of what it takes to truly shift your life for the better. 

This is the two-word secret for any resolution success: determination/perseverance.

When you are shifting your daily mode of living to a healthier life style or when you are finally letting go of a persistent habit that makes you feel bad about yourself, it helps to be stubborn in the right ways.

I’ve been told that ‘stubborness’ is one of my actual traits.  But that personality description is simply a matter of perspective. When you are persistently focused toward doing something that others don’t agree with, you are considered stubborn by them.   But when you are the lone survivor of a grueling trek or arduous task that felled lesser-willed competitors, then you are applauded by them and called determined.

So it depends on the situation and the observers, I guess.  But if this is all about you finding your own truth, then you don’t care what others may think about you. You can be just as stubborn or as determined as you want to be.  It’s the same result no matter what you call it. (I call it SUCCESS!)

In truth, the only time I view an endeavor as one that I’ve failed, is when I actually quit pursuing it—so persistence is essential to any eventual achievement.  How I see it is that no matter how hard the path ahead gets, if you do not quit, but instead perhaps take smaller strides forward toward your distant goal, then you are still making progress toward a positive life-change.  And that should never be considered failure.

Maybe it requires adopting a more doable strategy for you, one where you can define your stages of accomplishment toward that goal.  It’s the ‘taking little steps lead to taking larger steps as you grow and lengthen your stride’ analogy.  You’ll still go the whole distance to get there, but it might take a little longer than initially planned.

My opinion, for what it is worth on this resolution consideration, is that you need to decide what you really want for yourself—meaning seriously defining what you DO WANT against what you DON’T WANT in your life.  Maybe define it on two sheets of paper, one listing what is working for you in your life and the other listing what isn’t working for you

Then put those WORKING FOR ME and NOT-WORKING FOR ME pages side by side, and decide what you are actually willing to do to eliminate a few of the NOT-WORKING FOR ME items from the list, so you can lengthen your WORKING FOR ME list.

But no matter what you do or even think about doing, as long as you are still alive in this world, you are NEVER a failure—because you always have another chance to finally make those positive life changes.

And when the time is right for you to do it—in your heart you know that you will.

Watching for Clues

I’ve long considered this complex topic but have resisted writing about it prior because I just couldn’t get the key points to line up on the page. Why I’m now putting it on “Finding Your Truth” is to hopefully help you shift your mode of thinking, and maybe even your perspective, on how to view all the many ‘clues’ to your LIFE’s meaning that are currently existing all around you, so bear with me please, if the initial subject seems a bit of a stretch here.

Yes, the picture above is a beautiful flower. Okay. The flower’s assigned genus or name, I don’t know—just as I may not know your name, but I might have an idea from where you originated depending on your  human physical characteristics, which could also be clues to your reason for existence in the here and now.  Isn’t that why genealogy reports are presently so popular? People seem to want to know their ancestral origins. Some want to know where they came from as far back as they can possibly trace. 

We as a species might be homogeneous in many ways, but yet some part of us still believes in our own uniqueness that filtered through all the consecutive generations before us which may hold “clues” to our present manners and traits; not to mention, to our distant family connections which comprise our actual ‘personal history.’

Okay, but back again to that flower above because it is a pretty amazing flower specimen when you more closely examine it.  It has a perfectly symmetrical, hexagonal pattern of petal growth.  Look how many layers of meticulously-formed petals unfolded to display that gorgeous rosy-pink spread it displays. This is significant for many reasons that we might normally ignore because of being familiar with the beauty of flowers in general. We tend to overlook that which we see daily.

In that flower shown above, as each new layer of growth shot upward from the center stem and then outward, the previous ones spread out further forming the supporting structure for every new layer of petal growth—kind of like humanity itself—the older level of awareness supports the newer consciousness expansion.  But at some point in each flower’s DNA programming, a limit was set that defined the extent of new growth permitted from that individual stem.  For this particular type of flower, some internal programming determined that after eleven or twelve layers of petals, YOU—oh beautiful, rosy-pink flower, are done—complete.  This was your time in the sun to do your own thing, and you did.

This was YOU in the entirety of your current being—YOU in your magnificent full blossom—YOU as the perfect expression of all your possibilities in this LIFE. And without a doubt, YOU are truly amazing during your brief existence here. You did your job well, because when it was time for you to shoot out the end of that tiny stem, and you simply did it—YOU FLOWERED—to the very best of your abilities—because that’s what YOU were MEANT to do. It’s in your DNA to do that. YOU as an expression of LIFE itself can and will do your thing as only you can—YOU, when it is your time to do so, will blossom in your full regalia—a majestic wonder to behold.

That is because YOU in your full flowery beauty didn’t have to figure out what you wanted to be—you only needed to be YOU, in all your natural magnificence.  That’s a pretty amazing consideration, to realize that you simply need to be what you were intended to BE all along—an amazingly magical, living expression of life’s perfection in whatever form it may take.

But again, back to considering the flower’s growth structure above because this may be a key point in uncovering nature’s clues to the design of LIFE in general: R. Buckminster Fuller believed that geometry was the language of LIFE (Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, volumes I and II )He said that if you could decode all the designs in nature—the formulaic analysis of plant growth patterns and fruit/flower displays as end products of a particular plant species, and IF you could actually interpret what was being implied by their design complexity, you would know LIFE’s true meaning and be able to comprehend LIFE’s choice of expression per life form, simply by what nature was showing you in the simple, natural geometry of LIFE’s design.

The only requirement for your understanding was that you needed to properly decode those geometric lessons that nature has provided all around you, if you wish to discover the true intention of LIFE itself.  He was saying in effect that all of LIFE is intentionally created, with each expression of creation being perfectly designed and programmed for species expansion by an assumed engineering intelligence likely beyond our present comprehension ability. He didn’t speculate what/who that Creator might be, but he implied that by witnessing the results of such designed creations all around us, LIFE was clearly NO accidental occurrence.

In other words, he felt that if you were perceptive enough, you only had to look for those geometric design clues in nature itself to determine why LIFE existed in the manner that it did, because he was fairly certain that those clues revealed LIFE’s true significance—including your own significance.

So perhaps taking the time to look more closely at design details in the natural world around you can have a perspective-shifting effect on you, because in truth, YOU—now blossoming fully in this world in all of your own magnificence—are ONE of those important species ‘details.’  

Discovering Authenticity

Hard to imagine that we don’t know how to be ‘authentic’ in our lives, but yet I’ve found that throughout my existence most folks I’ve met were still trying to awkwardly determine how much of themselves they felt comfortable in exposing to others—likely myself included.  

Being truly AUTHENTIC in our lives is either an ability that we were gifted at birth, or a learned skill of “letting go and just BEING” developed after years of intense introspection and personal revelation.  

This concept of authenticity is often linked with our view of spirituality—our notion of ourselves as more than this flesh and blood body that reacts and emotes, and may sometimes act inappropriately in social settings, because those group gatherings are not our main focus; so we feel that we have to guard against revealing too much of our true selves when we are around others in fear that they couldn’t possibly understand us.

And that guardedness we may adopt in social settings might make us pretend to be who we aren’t, for fear of being ridiculed or condemned for simply being ourselves.  To counter the level of ‘social inadequacy’ that we may feel in those group settings, we often create a ‘public persona’ we can easily slip into just to appear more like the others around us.  Sound familiar?  

Well actually, if you are being truly authentic, you don’t care what others think of you, so you are simply being yourself no matter where you might be. And in all honesty, most social settings wouldn’t be your normal hang out anyway. You might find that solitude and nature environments feel more comfortable to you because that’s when you feel the greatest connection to your spiritual self—connections to that amazingly harmonious inner aspect that feels greater than our physical being—connections where we feel cellularly united in an inexplicable sense of ONENESS with all. 

Kind of a paradox really, that to feel interconnected to everything and everyone, we may need to isolate ourselves to do so.  

That’s because authenticity is actually a state of BEINGness—a state where you feel totally at peace with the person that you are at any moment in time.  In fact, you feel SO at peace with yourself that you can allow others to simply witness your presence radiating this indescribable quality of simply BEING HERE NOW for all to see at any time and anywhere.  THAT is true authenticity.

It is lovely to behold, as well as being rare to find in others—at least in those I’ve met.

When I run across a totally authentic person I actually stop for a moment and simply bask, as inconspicuously as possible, in their radiance.  Authenticity is a resonance—it’s a vibrational frequency that we recognize in our own being when we feel it coming from another. We are easily attracted to it because it makes us feel instantly at peace.

If you run across someone who radiates this particular vibrational essence, you will know it immediately. Charismatic gurus tend to give off this vibe, so it’s not hard to see why they attract many followers basking in their presence. That connection to higher frequencies beyond this plane of existence simply radiates from them wherever they are. And they are either intentionally or unintentionally channeling the higher energies through their bodies, which means that all people in their immediate proximity are likely feeling it for themselves without knowing why other than it’s what they feel when they are in that guru’s presence. And they LIKE FEELING IT.

So for your own self as you grow into an expanding sense of personal TRUTH, I would say that actual authenticity is a goal that you may hope to achieve, either naturally or after years of inner work, but at some point in your self-discovery journey you will realize that you don’t have to do any particular thing to be an authentic person, you simply need to allow yourself to BE who you naturally are in your purest state.  

And that’s plenty good enough for anyone.

Exploring Archetype Theory to Better Understand Your Own Actions

Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl G. Jung theorized that you could best understand the human mind by observing a person’s focused behavior, such as determining what we pursue in life, how we pursue it, what we hold most important to us, as well as how we consider ourselves in relation to others who coexist in our sphere of influence (Are we submissive, dominant, extroverted, introverted, play well with others or not so much?).

I’ve been a fan of Carl G. Jung since I first read his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections; and of the many contributions that he made to modern psychology he developed the earliest forms of ‘archetype theory’ based on twelve recognized thinking and behavior patterns in humans, which he gave easily-understood labels or iconic references to help others comprehend how universal these behaviors were to all of us.

He subdivided those twelve behavioral icons into three specific categories that he then labeled EGO, SOUL, and SELF. These focused categories have to do with our attitude toward our life, the manner in which we approach life’s perpetual challenge, and of course, how we see ourselves in the grand scheme of collective behavior.

My suggestion for a more quick-study version of better understanding archetypes and how they might apply to YOUR life is to read Caroline Myss’ book, Sacred Contracts.  (Most libraries carry it.)

Myss who is also a fan of Jung’s, quotes him on her own website:  “…For Jung, archetypes comprised psychological patterns derived from historical roles in life, such as the Mother, Child, Trickster, and Servant, as well as universal events or situations, including Initiation or Death and Rebirth. Along with our individual personal unconscious, which is unique to each of us, Jung asserted, ‘there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature that is identical in all individuals.’ This collective unconscious, he believed, was inherited rather than developed, and was composed mainly of archetypes.”

As Caroline studied Jung’s archetype system, she began to expand them into her own theory on WHY we incarnate here in this earth-plane classroom, and what iconic human behaviors and attitudes we are actually exploring during the process of living our lives here.

Pertaining to this ‘archetype theory’ in general, Caroline Myss herself lists over 70 specific archetypes on her website. If you do read the book, Sacred Contracts, you’ll easily get the gist of her theories on the REASON we may have for incarnating here, and WHY we are pursuing what we are doing with our lives in the manner that we are

I doubt that I could do justice to any explanation of either Jung’s or Myss’ archetype theories other than to say that by reading Myss’ book I learned to better recognize my own behaviors, and learned how to shift my perspective on:  1) assessing my personal attitude toward life, 2) determining how I actually viewed those other people around me, and 3) defining what manner or mode of operation I usually defaulted to when faced with a life challenge or a hardship.  It was quite revealing. (Not always pleasantly.)

So perhaps discovering your own mode-of-operation in the world might be valuable to you as well.  I will mention that for me, reading Myss was easier than reading Jung, but both are invaluable aides to better understanding your own motivations, which are key steps to take in actually finding your own truth.

Searching for LIFE’s Meaning

I mentioned earlier that I’d address ‘spirituality’ later. Well this must be the time, because the search for meaning in our lives is likely the biggest reason that you are trying to find your own truth.

As members of this expansive human species, we need to feel that we have a purpose or a reason for existing in whatever human package that we are currently wrapped.  We need a sense of meaning.

All of these strange, daily life experiences that we must explore in whatever way that they are presented to us, makes us question their reason for occurrence—question their timing in our lives—even question ourselves as to whether we’ll be able to successfully handle them without succumbing to ‘system overload’ and shutting ourselves down. 

I’m pretty sure I can’t cover in one posting all that needs to be mentioned about the importance of this ‘spirituality’ subject, or likewise, the search for our life’s meaning, but I’ll start the subject exploration by quoting myself from a previous blog now removed. (Pardon my ego, but I think it’s pertinent for further explanation of the subject matter.)

I had just discovered the chart above called “The Evolutionary Tree of Religion” by Simon E. Davies, and was absolutely fascinated by the baseline of Animism at around 40,000 years BCE, that then voluminously branched out of the main tree trunk and became the more widely-recognized world’s religions; and finally shot out again into all the subsets and idiosyncratic beliefs per each region of the world, as time advanced and the human species evolved in comprehension.  

This is how I phrased it previously:

“We are the SUM of our stories.

The world around us becomes the result of what we tell ourselves is happening.

We interpret our lives and the doings we experience within the confines of our beliefs. We make what we see and feel adhere to those beliefs.

From our first attempts at understanding all of life and our relationship to it, we created tales—myths—origins for ourselves within the context of what we saw and felt and intuited about our situations.

This chart—‘The Evolutionary Tree of Religion’ is fascinating to study and contemplate—at least fascinating to those who find it as such.

If you can’t quite make out the details, go to the Facebook address listed for HumanOdyssey.”  

(Or just do an Internet search for it—it’s still out there.)

***

 We truly are the “sum of our stories,” both as the collective human consciousness and the individual person simply trying to make some sense of his or her life.

Depending on the world location and the particular culture that you were born into, likely defined how you were raised to interpret the world around you.  

Each world region and diverse culture chose a particular way (religious philosophy) to find meaning in life—to give a sense of purpose to their existence—and to rationalize the hardships and losses that they were forever facing during any time period in human history. They needed a framework through which to view their lives, and they needed a context to help them make sense of so much seeming senselessness in the human condition.

As you are well aware, there’s a lot of senselessness in the world.  So to keep your own life from feeling that same blatant absurdity, you search for greater meaning to your existence—or to phrase it more specifically here—you go in search of your own truth.  

You ask: Why am I here? What am I suppose to do with my life? Who am I beyond the physical attributes that define me one way or another? Is there more to life than this daily interactive drama with my family, or my neighbors or my workmates?

What does it all MEAN in the BIG picture, and what part do I play?

And with those few “ask yourself in your journal” questions listed, I’ll mention one other person you might check out who actually survived the monstrosities of human depravity during his internment in a German concentration camp called Auschwitz.   His name was Dr. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, whose best-known book, Man’s Search for Meaning, is definitely worth a read and directly pertains to exploring those deepest, inner-most concerns.

There will be more to later explore on this subject as it pretty well encompasses, or even defines in many ways, our lives.

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