People talk about ‘living each day as though it’s your last,’
How about ‘living each day as though it’s your first?’
I have a lovely book called Kuan Yin: Myths and Prophecies of the Chinese Goddess of Compassion, which contains 100 divinatory poems, each one beautifully crafted, and attributed to the great goddess herself.
Over the last few weeks, whenever I’ve opened this book at random, searching for inspiration and insight, I have been repeatedly led to the poem Be Yourself (Says the Poet), which runs thus:
Go and live in a copper mine underground with the birds!
Be in harmony with yourself and all the other paths –
Everyone goes their own way and does the best they can,
And no one can cover the whole of Heaven and Earth’s expanse.
We are all accustomed to hearing friends, relatives, and strangers proffer the advice just to ‘be ourselves’. Yet, do we really understand what this means? How often are we actually fully and truly ourselves on a daily basis?
The fact is, many of us have been so bred to believe that being a fully liberated and realized version of our self is impossible, and not something that society would ever tolerate or allow. We’ve become so detached from our natural core, the realization of our own personal Tao or nature, that what has been left of ourselves has been so contorted, wrought, and dismembered into such a mangled shape, that it’s no wonder that so many people – especially the young – live lives in a state of near permanent anxiety and discomfort, unable to find peace or relief even for a moment, without the aid of artificial chemicals and other synthetic stimulants. I have many friends and people whom I love who are essentially functioning drug addicts, completely dependent on either legal pharmaceuticals or narcotics, simply because they know no other way of being themselves. To see them, or anybody, suffer in this way is grievously upsetting for me, and I would give anything to enable everyone to become the people they truly and beautifully are on the inside.
The worst part about this dissociation from our true selves is that it occurs to such an extent, that, even when we are alone, we often find that we are unable to be at ease, or really ‘let go’, all those rigid notions of societal and interpersonal expectations and pressures still holding us all in a vice. And perhaps that ought to be the true definition of a’ vice’ – not a byword for a sinful act; but, a word that reflects any practice, physical, psychological, or spiritual, that goes against your own self, or the self of others, in a way that is harmful and dangerous. The sin of ‘not being yourself.’ And, when you’re not being yourself, it is all the harder for you to hear your Supremely Silent Divine Self, eternally calling for you to rejoin yourself with it in love.
I know I was guilty of this sin for a long time. I lost faith in myself, and believed that any part of me that was ‘truly me’ would be hated and despised by everyone. The only way to be truly liked, I thought, was to conceal myself in an endless series of disguises that would be more palatable to those around me, and make the act of being in my company much less opprobrious and distasteful.
But a state like this cannot sustain itself for long, for it has sought to cut off its own roots. Nature will always find a way to reassert itself. As Lao Tzu said ‘What goes against The Way does not last’. If we ignore this pressure, this immense surge of change, then we are liable to become ill, which is our body’s way of telling us that we are being dishonest, and going against nature. More than any bacteria, or insanely concocted psychological cause, I would posit that a huge stinking majority of the illnesses of the world, are caused by being inauthentic, and denying our nature, and denying our dreams. The only cure is being ourselves, being divine, being true, being love, being free – the antidote to all suffering.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of people – (not including Buddhas, spirits, planets, and the Tao, whom are all countless) – who I must express my eternal gratitude to for giving me the courage to be myself again, better than ever before – and I’m just getting warmed up!
In return, I want to help all of you do the same. Consider me your servant, your personal mascot or cheerleader, always rooting for you to be ‘you’. I want you all to be happy and share yourselves and your happiness with everyone.
I love you all and want the best for all of you.
May we all be as one again with the Tao.