I had lived my whole life listening to dogmas in my head and around me. So many decisions I made in the past where based on belief systems I had never really questioned and I simply took them to be true either because someone else said it or it was just part of my mind somehow. Yet, it took me a long while to come to this realisation because I always considered myself a rebel and a person that questioned everything. I did not even care for a status quo – or so it seemed.
At school I was the one who always talked back to the teachers. I got kicked out of class a couple of times because I would not stop interrupting the lecture and I even got kicked off the basketball team in primary school because I could not keep quiet. I always thought that was because I was so unique and did not need to comply with the normal “rules”. Rules are meant to break them, right? Well, in hindsight I was probably just a bit hyper active.
The truth is I did not so much have a different opinion out of a conviction or a passion I just did not agree with whatever I was told me because I needed to be different. Even if it was something I would agree with I would not admit to it on principle. I just needed to swim upstream for the heck of it. Well, now I know I was not some born rebel and I was no “Che” Guevara on the inside just waiting to break free. I was simply defiant and resistance towards anything anyone told me. I believe stubbornness is what this quality is called in people and as a matter of fact, I was quite annoying to a lot of people.
Little did I know that I was putting up a facade, to the rest of the world and more importantly, to myself to hide my deep insecurity and this gnawing feeling that I had actually no clue what I was all about and what I really stood for. It was not that I had opinions that differed from the mainstream, it was that I had no opinions at all. I had no idea what I actually cared about and what mattered to me. This horrible feeling of having no identity at all was even more awful than the rejection I experienced from being a stubborn and loud child.
Yet, tired of constant run-in’s with others and this horrifying emptiness I began to just wear different masks, depending on the circumstances and the people I was with. In this process I have acquired a vast set of dogmas for myself that I then tried to live up to and essentially dedicated enormous energy and time trying to live up to the ideas I had for myself and what I thought others were expecting of me. I have actually no clue if they really did or did not. But I had a mind that constantly told me so.
Besides the sometimes conflicting dogmas, the should and should nots, must and must nots, had to, ought to and cannots that where swirling around inside my head there was also this inner voice that told me that I was fake. Today I am glad it did. Back then I tried to keep it quiet in a lot ways. Fortunately for me this did not quite work so by pure chance I found my way to a path of awakening, as I like to call it sometimes.
I use this term because I found that there were times in the last years where I literally felt like I am opening my eyes for the first time and seeing things for what they actually are. For example, seeing the dogmas in my head just for what they are: belief systems that I took to be true but never questioned and never considered the option that there were different ways of perceiving the world. I woke up to my insecurities, fears and realized that the voice that tried to tell me all along I was anything but authentic was actually right.
Interestingly enough, waking up was only the beginning because now that I discovered the lies I had told myself about myself I had to return to the point at the beginning; before my head came up with all this stuff. Who was is that said “we spend a lifetime unlearning what we learned” or something along those lines? Well, this is exactly how I have been feeling for a long time. So as I was walking along trying to make the familiar unfamiliar and the unfamiliar familiar I got to see, once again, that I picked up some new dogmas. Yes, I have to admit they might be a bit healthier, a bit less destructive, chaotic, defensive and mistrusting as my previous ones, yet, they were still absolutes. When I was not living up to the new dogmas I am still was not doing it “right”.
Now, I have gotten to a point in this journey where I no longer want to live under the spell of any dogma. Even if it might be the most well-intentioned and positive. It still remains a belief that allows no other believes to exist and discounts them as wrong. Who is my mind to say what is wrong or right in this world? I will never truly be free if I simply swap a prison cell for a golden cage. If you are somewhat relating to anything I described above I can only say that adapting to this fresh perspective allowed me to let myself off the hook and stop wondering about all the what if’s in life and let go of a whole lot of guilt.
By letting go of any dogma we actually get to the place where our true self really lies. I understand today, that being awake is simply a matter of being true to my innermost self at this present moment and this truth might be different ten minutes, ten days, ten weeks, ten months, ten years or ten lifetimes from now. This then means that there is never a wrong or right choice about anything in life. The best advice I have gotten so far about making a decision is to make an informed decision. It sounds simple and while it is, it is also very complex. For I can only make a truly informed decision if I have all the information that is available to me up to that point in time in which I am making the decision. That means I have to be aware of everything that is right now and at the same time I cannot beat myself up later because I am not satisfied with the outcome and think I have made the “wrong” decision. The knowledge we get in hindsight might not have been available at the time we made the decision.
As we practice to tune out off dogmatic believes, wether they might be “good” or “bad”, the more we will be able to tune in to living from an authentic place with in. Thus, we get the choice of living in the stream of life – not struggling against the current or passively floating around – but to actively participating in creating a beautiful, rich, and meaningful life in alignment with the flow.