This is from 11/26/2007: I do so much better when I'm not forced to do what I'm doing. Bet you do, too. The "natural self" is what socialization and acculturation take away from us during the early years of childhood, and it's what we spend our adult lives trying to get back to. Living "from the heart," "following our bliss," letting our "passion guide us," allowing our life to "flow from the center," all sounds good, but. Life tends to get in the way of our living. Even if we shuck it all and join a monastery, there are rules at the monastery. Requirements. Obligations. Duties. We are expected to arise at 4 AM to sit. It's a happy fantasy to think that we can avoid being forced to do things we don't want to do. But. Living to be less forced and more natural is an opening to intuitive and creative possibilities, a path to who-knows-where-- opening before us in each moment to eyes that see, and ears that hear.
It is always time for something. Being right about what that is and doing it is the key to a life well-lived. Knowing what is called for and being right about it are functions of living a long time with intentional awareness of our experience on all levels. We are capable of knowing things that we don't know how we know. Sitting still, being quiet, and waiting to see what arises, emerges, beckons, calls, urges, occurs, nudges, compels, in the silence is a path to knowing that has no rational/logical basis. We all come packed with intuitive, instinctive, innate, inherent, natural, spontaneous, unconscious powers of perception, guidance, direction and realization that flow from "listening to the Force," or the Source, or the Center, or the Core, or the Foundation, or the Tao, or whatever term you prefer for "That Which Cannot Be Named But Can Be Known" that is available to all of us and all sentient beings in all times and places of our existence. So teach yourself to sit still and be quiet and sense what it is time for, and do it. The Call to Adventure is that close at hand.
You can't spend much time in AA without hearing about the necessary trip from "White Knuckling It" to "Faking It Until You Make It." Just about everyone comes to AA after a lengthy bout with "White Knuckling It," thinking they can lick their drinking problem just by standing up to it. Their drinking problem is merely the surface manifestation of depths of denial and self-deception without end. You can't stand up when you are sinking. AA comes in to "turn the light around." "Look, Jim," they say, "You have been thinking one way, and now you have to start thinking a different way— The right way." They are bearers of the First Spiritual Law: "We are never more than one slight perspective shift away from having it made." And they begin to talk about the difference between "white knuckling it" and "faking it until you make it." Faking it until you make it is acting as though you do not have a drinking problem, knowing that is as close as you can come to not having a drinking problem. And "making it" is not graduating from alcoholism, but realizing that you are never more than the next drink away from knowing you are an alcoholic. Faking it until you make it is remembering you are an alcoholic without taking that next drink. It is pretending to be what we wish we were. White knuckling it is proving you are not an alcoholic by going without a drink for two months, or six months, or a year. It's walking into a bar without buying a beer. "See! I can do without it! I'm not a drunk!" You are the next drink away from being a drunk. Faking it until you make it is not even driving by a bar. It's not going to a beach where they are drinking beer. It is knowing better than to think that not-drinking means you are not an alcoholic. Now for all of us non-alcoholics in the audience, white knuckling it and faking it until we make it applies to a host of denial-based behaviors that have nothing to do with alcohol. Denial-based behaviors are commonly referred to as "addictions," and that is a shame, because most of us think we don't have any addictions, like going to church and listening to the preacher tell us we are going to hell if we don't come back next week and listen to the preacher tell us we are going to hell if we don't come back next week and listen... Right. What's addictive about that? Alcohol at least forces us to confront our denial-based behavior. We are awash in similar denial-based behaviors that allow us to trick ourselves into thinking we are just fine as we are, and it is everyone else who is doing it wrong. And we can get by with it because we aren't wrecking cars or losing jobs. But what is the standard by which we measure a life well-lived? How truthfully do we live? How mindfully aware? How self-transparent? How right are we about what is truly important? How completely does our life reflect what is truly important in the way we live? What are the subjects we never discuss? What are the fears we never address? What are the habits that drive our life? Who are we kidding about being "just fine"?