You may have heard the term, “Living an Authentic Life”. This phrase has different meanings to different people and there are countless ways to embody this, depending on your personality, history, talents and soul purpose, to name a few. My way of helping you live authentically is teaching and facilitating your ability to tune into your Wisdom. Most of the time, this starts with emotional awareness, understanding, and experiencing, and developing your expertise in harnessing your physical experience to align with your values and what is most fulfilling for you in this life.
Every person has Wisdom. Just as we all have logic and are able to reason things through, we have emotion and can act impulsively or with love or out of fear; we all have blood coursing through our veins and bones and muscles in our bodies. In the same way, we all have Wisdom. I define Wisdom as that place where knowing exists. It may occur to you as a settling sensation, a sense of peace, clarity, intuition, or really any number of experiences. Your wisdom is distinctively yours and how you encounter it is unique to you. My life’s work is to help those who are seeking to access Wisdom in such a way that you are not only making big decisions from a Wise place but also living your everyday life informed by this valuable source. I believe being able to part the clouds of your noisy life and tune into the knowing deep inside is your key to unlocking the door to living your Authentic Life.
This begs the question, “How do I reach my Wisdom?” The answer: by treating your life as a Guest House and putting out the welcome mat. In our society, we are heavily reinforced from a young age to “think things through.” While some thoughts can be distressing, most people do not have trouble welcoming in and being aware of thoughts. Even when someone asks how you feel, a typical response is to report what you think, e.g., “I’m stressed because I just sat in traffic,” “I’m looking forward to going to a movie tonight.” In fact, discussing how we feel is so foreign in our society that responding to the question, “How are you feeling?” is never answered by, “Well, let’s see. I have a very slight fluttering in my stomach, I am noticing my feet touching the ground, and there is a feeling of lightness in my chest. Overall, I’m feeling hopeful.” Try responding in this way the next time someone asks how you are and you will most certainly meet a furrowed brow and possibly awkward conversation.
Yet, as the poet, Rumi, so aptly stated many years ago, “This being human is a Guest House.” What he meant is that emotions flow through us, they come, and they go, much as visitors of a guest house. It is a natural process, and we are plagued with much suffering if we fight off, suppress or ignore what we are feeling. Never does Rumi say to brace yourself and clench your teeth until the unpleasant emotion passes. Rather, he writes about “a depression, a meanness…a crowd of sorrows” and urges you, “Welcome and entertain them all!” “Meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.”
The human condition is to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Therefore, being a guest house to our emotions is a practice. When we practice, we rid ourselves of emotional buildup, and we allow ourselves to simply be, with the confidence we can handle whatever comes our way. And when we do this, we clear the clouds of emotional chaos and create an opening for our Wisdom to appear.
Are you looking for the Wisdom to Live an Authentic Life? Please take a look at my articles*, exercises, worksheets, and audio guides to help you achieve your personal goals as you shift from surviving to Thriving!
*Stay tuned for next month’s article, Part 2 of the four-part Body Image and Weight Loss series started this past June. If interested, you can access the written and audio versions of Part 1 here.
Living your authentic life involves tuning into your Wisdom. This starts with emotional awareness, understanding, and experiencing, which helps lead you on a path to aligning your day-to-day life with your values, resulting in your deepest fulfillment.
By treating your life as a Guest House, as the author, Rumi, suggests in his poem, you can cultivate a welcoming, accepting and nonjudgmental attitude toward your emotions. You can learn to allow your emotions to flow through you, leading to clarity, a sense of peace and knowing, and ultimately access to your Wisdom, the gateway to living your authentic life.
I am going to read the poem, The Guest House, by Rumi, twice. Your task is to listen to the words, allow them to flow through you, and notice any sensations as they arise. When your mind wanders, that is perfectly fine, as minds are meant to think, just notice that your mind is thinking and ever so gently, bring your attention back to the words, back to your body and sensations, back home to your house of Wisdom.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
As this recording comes to a close, you may choose to sit in silence for a few more moments, gently noticing the sensations of your breath and your body, knowing that allowing your experiences to flow through you provides access to your Wisdom and to your Authentic Life.
Thank you for listening. I’m Dr. Bando, licensed psychologist, happy to help you shift from surviving to thriving!