The Importance of Being Independentabracad, · Categories: purpose, self help
Independence and Quality of Life
Life is a process of accumulating experience(s). Before being born into this world we decide, with guidance from more advanced souls, the kind of experiences we will seek during our life. We also decide the role we will play in the lives of others, ie to help them accumulate experience.
But for all our best laid plans the key characteristic of a human being is our free will. Throughout life circumstances conspire to keep us (more or less) to our pre-determined agenda. But we have the power of choice, every step of the way. There are no right or wrong choices, as all routes bring experience; but some paths clearly bring a higher quality of experience than others. The recognition and valuing of the faculty of independent choice determines the quality of our life.
As the complexity of human life increases so we are bombarded by evermore external influences seeking to affect our decision-making.
From birth we are subjected to the demands and constraints of our family / country / culture's so-called social norms. We are told and expected to do certain things because that's what everyone else (in our randomly determined group) has always done.
Too often those that govern or seek to govern the societies we inhabit seek also to manipulate our minds, subtly (or otherwise) telling us what we should believe. At least those lucky enough to be democratically governed have the option to express an opinion on the leadership, but even so the messages of incumbents and contenders alike should be viewed through a critical lens.
In Spiritual practice we must be particularly vigilant to retain our independence. many "religions" are built upon man-made dogma which has, over the centuries, deviated from the teachings of the founding masters.
Religion is not bad, per se, indeed the very purpose of religion is to provide a well signposted highway to Spiritual realization. But as with all things learn to question, don't swallow whole all that is presented, but feel free to reject what doesn't instinctively feel right for you. There are many paths to the mountain summit, a major part of your life's purpose is discovering the one that's right for you.
Advertising is yet another example of how others seek to influence our choices for their own benefit; as is the contemporary celebrity culture that persuades followers not just to admire but also to emulate whoever happens to be this week's face of cool.
Subject to all these manipulative influences it can be difficult to maintain our independence, our own unique position in the world. Independence is generally a harder road than conformist acceptance: don't rock the boat, lest you get wet, or fall in. A well known business maxim states: "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM", but nobody ever changed the world by doing so either.
Independence doesn't mean absence of loyalty, it means informed loyalty. It doesn't mean isolation, it means conscious choice of companions. It doesn't mean rebellion without cause, it means striving for deeply held convictions. Progress demands doing things differently, independently of the way they've always been done. The alternative to progress is stagnation.
True independence begins by understanding who you really are (without life's multifarious influences). Get into the habit of stepping back from reality, taking just a few minutes each day without the bombardment of external noise, and listening to your real, inner, essence. Independence is maintained by the constant questioning of why you are choosing or acting as you do. If there's no good reason, it's time to stop and do something different.
Filed in: purpose, self help