“To thine own self, be true.” -Shakespeare
My meditation practice has brought many gifts into my life. The gift I want to talk about today is self-honesty.
Self-honesty is not in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. My type A personality would love a clear, vetted definition of this word to use as a guide here. Something that I can memorize and reference. But it doesn’t technically exist.
Ironically, the lack of recognized definition requires me to tap in to my own senses to define self-honesty, which is kind of what self-honesty actually is.
For me, self-honesty is this amalgamation of seeking, accepting and understanding what I’m experiencing within.
I think of it as this voice, deep in my core that is really quite wise. It’s the voice of my true nature. The one that had a say when I was a kid, telling me sincerely what I liked and what I didn’t.
Horses? Like. Piano lessons? Dislike. Potato chips? Like. Bananas? Dislike.
These examples simplify this inner voice, but what I keep thinking is how simple it was to listen to this inner voice when you’re a kid. I knew exactly what was going on inside when I was 8.
But as I grew and became an adult, I began to ignore this inner voice. I turned away from it and began to pay attention to the outside ‘should voice’. Doing, thinking, saying and acting according to how I thought I ‘should’.
I ‘should’ study science because that would mean I was smart.
I ‘should’ do marathons because that would mean I was a dedicated, good runner.
The ‘should voice’ was completely external, directed by all the things that were outside of my true self. Sometimes my true nature actually liked what the ‘should voice’ was saying (like running). But the problem was that the ‘should voice’ took it to the extreme (1 marathon = great! 6 marathons = bye bye knees.)
The ‘should voice’ was loud, bossy and really (really) hard to please.
When your ‘should voice’ takes over, it is hard to hear your true, inner voice and it is almost impossible act and make decisions that are in harmony with our true nature.
We are exposed to so many external messages that it becomes a real challenge to turn inward and listen to our true nature, our deep-inside-voice.
I believe that my inner voice brought meditation into my life because she knew I desperately needed to hear her. She knew that this externally-focused life was causing internal suffering and even harm. The ‘should voice’ didn’t work and I’d had enough.
Meditation has given my inner voice some volume. It has given me the ability to step inside and connect with my true nature and recognize what I may truly need or want as opposed to what the media or other individuals may be saying. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to stay the course. But at least I’m gaining awareness.
Meditation has given me the pause I need to turn from the outside to the inside.
As a result, life flows just a bit easier now. There are moments of calm, acceptance and self-love. Somedays there are longer moments than others and some days the moments escape me. But that is just how it goes.
Meditate & be well.