“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and try to duplicate it.” –Bruce Lee
This quote from Bruce Lee is, for me, one of the most profound pieces of inspiration and clarity I have ever read. I connect with its simplicity and it connects with me — my inner self — that piece of me or should I say more precisely, those pieces of me behind the voices that I hear guiding me and prompting my actions.
I have come to realize, vulnerably so, that many of my past actions have been misguided because I did not pay attention to what I was telling my self or maybe better said, I was not conscious of which part of me was speaking. I am hoping I don’t come off as some sort of split personality here, but I have come to recognize that the conscious part of my thinking and the subsequent conversations I have with me, myself and I is a choice I make, through awareness. I now know I must be vigilant in where my self speak originates and what I allow to permeate my being. Otherwise, I wind up in the same predicaments as before.
Knowing who I am is at the crux of my argument here. I view my conscious self as that part of me who is in connection with the source of all being. It is that part of me that receives ideas and inspiration with confidence and resonates with, on an energetic level, the information provided from a source outside of me. This is in stark contrast to my ego, which has as its function (as I understand it) protection of itself at all costs. The source of all being provides a holistic approach to living this life which I subscribe to and for which I am truly grateful. My ego provides a sense of preservation for which I am also grateful. Wisdom is knowing where the two merge, where synergy propitiously surfaces and becomes apparent for those I serve.
Returning to the quote from Bruce Lee; I saw myself as having emerged from my youth and adolescence cultivating self preservation which prompted my need and desire to compete at a high level. My thinking and self talk gave voice to a spirit of lack, the sense that if I didn’t win, if I didn’t beat up on my opponent, I was somehow less than and therefore I would not survive physically and metaphorically. That worked for a while, but wasn’t philosophically or materially sustainable.
On the other hand, had I been more conscious of other possibilities, in other words, had I been listening to the source of wisdom for other potential perspectives and outcomes, my self examination and self talk may have been entirely different. Thus the opportunity for a different result.
I must insert at this point, I am extraordinarily grateful for every circumstance that I have experienced because every event of my life contributed to the place in which I currently reside. The story I once lived is no more. I’m writing new chapters. I now choose not to self deprecate because I have learned from Mr. Lee and others that the choices of positive self appreciation, affirmation and expression are all tools that provide contentment and self worth.
The product and practice of mindfulness has created within me a new dimension to the voices I mentioned earlier. That dimension is the capacity to question what I am hearing and to determine, for the most part in the moment, who is speaking. Is it source spirit or ego? Is what I am hearing true, kind or even necessary? These questions help me clarify the consequences of any actions. This practice varies widely depending on the subject matter and my external circumstances at the time, but asking my self questions slows down the process of reaction and the subsequent self talk that may loom underneath. This practice of mindfulness creates an atmosphere of trust that says I’m enough the way I am and I can be content with how I respond, which inevitably creates a better outcome for me.
I want to emphasize that this is a practice, something I have committed to life long, as I value the art of practice and its contribution to my own personal development. Though my practice may have many benefits for others now in my life, it is primarily and selfishly for me.
“I have learned that I can talk myself into or out of anything. The question is…what compassion and grace will I show myself today? “— B. Stuart Noll
Because of the belief that what I say to myself is as important, if not more so, than what I say to others, I have grown to be judicious in both cases. The messages I send to others come from my heart. I want that heart to send messages of goodness, kindness, compassion, joy and love. It hasn’t always been that way. In fact, it still isn’t. That’s why I practice. That is why I examine my motives regularly.
If I have a choice, and I do, my choice is to train my self to be who I am, to rehearse the expressions that resonate with my inner truths and to exercise the faith developing within me!
It’s NEVER too late to let the real you out!