Consider your life to be similar to an onion, full of layers that will sooner or later be shaped by circumstance and self-mastery that will lead to the core—your true essence.
Our lives are founded by influence at the beginning, molded by adversity, and finally, created by self-consciousness.
To follow the correct pathway to freedom we need to recognize the different stages and opportunities that are brought to us, while recognizing we are not in control of our own lives, and that we are simply living in auto-pilot mode.
Influence is a major part of our upbringing—through it we absorb the world around us more fully and unconsciously. Like little sponges, we drift as unidentified souls identifying with everything around us: family, school, friends, religion, and beliefs that have been engraved within our brains by our collective influence (society as a whole).
The formation of our personality, character and set of values are directly attached to the duty we feel to follow others (in our journey of pursuing “what is right”).We react similar to the game “Simon says”: we listen, we obey, we do. We don’t really question.
This stage is important because if we don’t have a structure to destroy, create from or question—we will never find our truth.
So during this period of major absorption and influence, we start forming the ego, or false self, an identity based on given things, on the safe, the secure, the known—a comfort zone.
Adversity, on the other hand, is the beginning of our awakening.
After many years of unconscious absorption of the world as-we-think-we-know-it, circumstances in our lives start defying all of those engraved values, thought patterns, behaviors etc., and our so-perfectly-built comfort zone starts crumbling down.
We experience feeling unsafe for the first time and we face our biggest challenge in this lifetime—fear of the unknown.
Because we have spent so many years inside our guarded nest of Ego, full of predictability and conformity, we tend to experience panic when it comes to anything that might tease destroying that.
Just like our belief in Santa Claus, we want to maintain the illusion of feeling comfortable within the known, and within this comfort other emotions start surfacing from our core—our intuition starts to awaken.
At first we feel disturbed when others, or life itself, leads us to an unfortunate situation (a loss of something dear), that makes us question what we truly care about.
Yet by destabilizing things that we care deeply about (relationships, dreams, jobs, health, stability), we awaken from our dream, realeasing the warrior inside us—even while feeling afraid of leaving the comfy nest.
For the first time in our lives we become real protagonists. We make a choice. We fight or we cry. And because it is this stage that we struggle the most in, we always suffer, and we start to understand that life is out of our control—and has been.
As we continue to fight or break down, we learn what we want to stand up for and what we don’t want to stand up for anymore (because some things have let us down somehow and have now lost their credibility—like some family, religion, and friends).
And after many fights—we surrender.
Why is it so important to surrender?
Because on our journey of wanting to feel safe at all times we omit the biggest power that lies within us—the power to make everything happen just as long as we strive for it, do the job and let go of expectations.
When we’re pushed to the limit in order to survive the worst conditions, adversity plays a major role in helping us find out who we truly are and what we are capable of doing.
Also, when we surrender we reconnect to an essential part of life, faith.
Faith is the only way to cope with the mysterious and exciting, yet sometimes heartbreaking “unknown”—a tool that is lost during all the teen years in which we invested more faith in alcohol and parties than in the power that created us.
And after that big surrender—surrender from pain, surrender from suffering, from being knocked out too many times—we proceed to experiment.
Now that we are connected to our root and know what moves us, interests us, and what doesn’t, we can start cultivating all the areas of our lives that need work—identity and form.
Sometimes we experience extremes, only to discover what lies on the other side of everything—sobriety and inebriation, work and unemployment, love and hate, good and evil, beginning and end, gluttony and wellness—and along this path we start making choices, developing personal opinions and concrete beliefs.
As we come closer to the core of our onion, survive the tests of life, learn from the extremes and become more focused on “wanting to be happy” rather than unhappy—we seek balance.
However, we know that balance can’t be found out there among everybody elses’ chaos, but rather among our solitude and silence. And as we strive to find those moments of grounding and peace, we start becoming the creators of our own life.
Discrimination and discerning are some of the tools that we make use of. We start living the life we want, rather than just dreaming about it.
We always have a choice in the matters of our lives. We choose how much we take in and how much we let go of—and at the bottom of that self-discovery, and sometimes painful process of removing the layers to find the true essence—we make life our own.
We take all that is known, releasing it into the unknown, and perfecting ourselves like diamonds in the rough.
And that release is when we come face to face with our true self, the one that is ready to fight with the same passion as it is ready to surrender—the one that is no longer afraid, that is proud to make its unique contribution to the world.
So when you keep coming to those uh-oh-moments too often, and are spending more time being frustrated than being happy, dig a little deeper and identify your feelings.
Maybe you are ready to move on to the next ring of life, and are too attached to the older one, the one that no longer serves you, or your true self?
Hang in there and learn from it all, and please—know that you will always have a choice in the matter.
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Assistant Ed: Laura Ashworth/Ed: Bryonie Wise