We all long to be the soul authorities in our own lives. I was talking to a wise teacher whom I very much admire and I felt myself shrink back a little bit when she asked me my opinion about a book we’d both read. I started to speak with enthusiasm which then turned into a tone of impassioned conviction. As I felt myself winding up I stopped short. I felt suddenly self conscious and wrong. My super ego reached back, like a parent ready to smack a precocious child in the backseat: “Who do you think you are,” she hissed, “to speak with so much authority to someone who knows so much more than you?”
I fumbled after that, unable to articulate much, unsure how to be strong when the person before me is stronger. This is a familiar intersection for me. It got me thinking:
Does there always have to be only one expert, one top dog, one dominant energy in an exchange? Or can there be room for multiple authorities? When something stirs my soul, am I not the authority of that domain and therefore entitled to speak with some degree of conviction and straightforwardness?
When I shrink back or rush forward I’m not fully in my soul. I’m negotiating. Or, to be more specific: my soul and my personality are negotiating. “Who do I think I am?” This question is ludicrous. My soul knows itself perfectly. There is no ambiguity or confusion there. It’s my personality which struggles with accepting who my soul is; who my soul wants me to be.
There is a space where this negotiating takes place. A space where the door was left open and everything gets blown around inside me by the wind coming through. A gap. Here is the seed and here is the soil but still there must be some process of planting for the aliveness to happen. I regard that metaphorical planting as the process of commitment. Making a commitment means closing the door, taming the wind. It’s decisive. It’s actionable. When we consciously make a commitment to live from our souls we don’t need to negotiate or subject ourselves to power struggles. We can answer, speak, decide from a place of deeper knowing and clarity and confidence. We don’t need to apologize or explain ourselves or doubt or over think.
A soul does not seek to impress or outshine or belittle another. A soul longs only to be in its truth and to feel that truth demonstrated with congruence in the external world around it, where life unfolds and other souls intersect with one another. We have the right to speak from our souls, to live from our souls. We have the right to heal whatever is in the way of this clear, clean connection.
We have the right to be the authorities of our own souls the same way the gardener has the right to tend to her garden and to pluck the fruit, when the time is right, at her own discretion and desire. She has done the work of planting, of committing. She waters. She weeds. She pays attention. She shows up. She makes the garden her work in this world. She is deeply connected to the ebb and flow of seasons warming and cooling; the bloom and the decay. There is a mutual respect between the earth and the attending gardener just as there is a mutual respect and beauty and harmony between a soul and a person when that person is committed to honoring the longings and directives of her soul above the ever changing compulsions of her personality.