I used to believe that it must be hell to believe in hell. How sad to fear for the eternal damnation of our loved ones. Now I know it can be equally hard to believe in enlightenment. It’s a high bar to measure against.
Some among us contort to fit a mold in the shape of an admired one. We hope that if it looks like a saint, acts like a saint, smells like a saint…well, you know. Riddled with self-doubt, disappointment, and despair from our perceived imperfection, we sometimes buckle from pressure. Some fit just fine.
But what if there were another way? What if we could love ourselves all along the journey? What if we could trust ourselves, our longings, our voices, dare I say even our egos, from start to finish?
Wayshowers, the gurus of our world, act as the lighthouse, sometimes also the wind. They illuminate the rocky places and occasionally speed our boat. But they are not the captain. Only we can steer the course.
For many years I believed the captain was my guru. I was merely a vessel, awaiting the turning of my wheel and the filling of my sail. Now I know that I am the captain.
When Swami Kriyananda, a guide of mine, said, “set your own spiritual sail,” to me in my time of need, he meant it.
He did not ask me to let him steer. He did not suggest I wait for the wind to blow. He advised me to lead.
We cannot be captain if we believe our judgement false. We cannot be captain if we mistrust our knowing. Healthy skepticism welcome, but self-doubt, no thanks.
And so I invite you to believe in your inner voice. Listen to your longings. Trust that your desires and traits are planted with purpose. Let the lighthouse and gale support the adventure. But remember, your soul’s journey through this world and the next is your voyage to freedom alone.
Given the choice, my assessment is: I’d rather be me dancing than Mother Teresa praying.
As Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, “It is better to fail attempting to follow one’s own dharma than to succeed in following the dharma of another.”