A few days ago, a friend asked me if I was aware of Eckhart Tolle’s book, “The Power of Now”. She mentioned to me that she highlighted areas in the book that spoke to her as she was reading it. Later she realized she had highlighted almost all pages of the book. This line of Tolle’s struck me to the core a few years ago, which then let me to writing my memoir, Embraceable Me. Let me share my take on this part of life. This is purely my own analysis; I’m not a scientist, I’m simply an observant of life, especially my own.
I want to say I was brave, determined, adventurous, and candid when I was little. Almost every kid is. I was curious about my surroundings; touching, seeing, tasting, feeling, smelling. I explored, learned, and expanded. I don’t know when it exactly was, but I know as I was becoming more independent — walking, grabbing, throwing, putting things in my mouth, and diving into many more explorative experiences — I started hearing the word ‘no’. Then when I entered the education system outside of home, additional adults placed more boundaries around me. My achievements were graded based on numbers or letters of the alphabet. My answers were boxed into right or wrong. D and F became the alphabets I despised. I noticed being praised and rewarded with good grades felt good. I strove to get good grades and the right answers, because failing or being wrong was embarrassing. It didn’t feel good. I don’t remember being asked, “How did you come to this answer, what was the thought behind it?” Sometimes I felt I wanted to share my thought process. I wanted to hear why one perspective was wrong and another was right? Why only teachers decided what was right and wrong?
Instead of letting the love of learning prosper, I became good-grade chaser. School became a must, something I had to do, the path which I had to take without question, just so I could get to another stage of life, a grown up. This life programming process started during my 16 years of schooling, and it followed me into the working world; more rules and regulations to obey. Slowly but surely, I conformed. I followed the masses. I operated within the walls. I did things to please others, to get emotional rewards for being good; from my parents, teachers, clergyman, boss, supervisor, employers, government, partner, community, society … everything and everyone but me. I was doing right to avoid punishment. As I grew older, this process continued. I looked outside myself for answers, solutions, happiness, and successes. I craved recognition and acknowledgment from the outside. My inside was never given a chance to grow, and sure enough, it died. I was living but not alive. I cruised through each day, from one task to another, quite lifeless.
I remember discussing this topic with my brother. “When you’re at a quiet street intersection, almost nobody is around, and you know for sure no cop’s watching. Will you stop at a stop sign, or do you keep driving?” What’s the reason for either answer – yes, or no? Do we obey the law because we understand the reason and why it is there, or simply because an enforcer is around? I wish critical thinking was a subject I learned when I was in grade school, not just when I was in college. I do enjoy such topics of discussion now. Most importantly, listening to each answer that’s widely different, rich of perspective, and the background of how one arrives at that answer.
How do you resuscitate a dead inner being that was left behind, was hardly asked to participate in life? Can you? Lucky for me, I resurrected myself from that monotonous, dull programmed life. It took me a while, it took several soul-searching books, courses and sessions, and a huge willingness to reignite my passion. My life did turn around. I can now taste the sweetness of life, and I sincerely feel grateful for it. The steps I took brought me here. I did it because I realized I wouldn’t get to where I wanted to be unless I started taking action, started moving toward that destiny. And I continue to do so. Sometimes it’s challenging, but I keep inching forward. The other day I listened to Michael Bernard Beckwith sharing this powerful line, “You cannot have what you’re not willing to become.” Let this sentence sink into your mind and heart, mull it over. I felt validated by it. That’s the way to living an inspired life, aligning my inside with what I want to become and where I want to go. When this alignment is achieved, things fall into place.
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