If we all listened to ourselves underneath all the messages and stories and interpretations and assumptions, and each of us looked to ourselves as our own authority for taking action in the world, I am imagining a world of incredibly rich creativity, excitement and joy! Unbridled from all that internal noise, who we are and what we are here to do in the world would become clear, clean and attainable.
Even 50-60 years ago there were only a tiny handful of people who even considered the thought that there was a real, unique, purpose driven person inside of all of us. Today there are much more than a handful who hold this belief (although maybe not quite everyone!). And we seem to be a the point in our global evolution where getting to that place of being our own true authority is still incredibly difficult for the majority of people.
Which leads me to the thought of the huge value there is in community. And at the same time, the dark side to the communities we build or create for ourselves. Community can take many forms: it could be the group of people you are engaging in a field of study with, it could be your peer group, it could be your close circle of friends, it could be the people you are building some co-creative endeavour with, it could be a group that get’s together specifically for the purpose of supporting and encouraging each other.
The value that community can provide to this question of ‘who exactly am I’ primarily appears in the form of reflection and feedback. Who do they see? Could this help to inform my own wondering about me? What reactions do my actions seem to create? If they believe great things about me might that help to give me the strength to experiment?
The dark side of community is embedded in exactly the same questions. Which is where being your own authority becomes key. If we take the reflections and feedback as truth rather than possibility then all we do is add other people’s potentially erroneous ideas on top of the erroneous ideas we already hold about ourselves.
Finding open, generous, encouraging community and keeping your own self fundamentally guiding your own life – now there’s a goal to aspire to!