I knew I was in the right place when Bill looked around the circle at us and said:
"I don't want you to believe anything I'm saying here. If you don't agree, say so. If there's something that doesn't make sense to you, say so. What I want is for you to find out for yourselves in your own experience what's true."
I've lost track of the number of times I've written on this subject (here's just one example), an indication of just how important I believe it to be and how rare it is to find others who are grounded enough in their own being that they have no need to sell us on their own beliefs.
It was the first live weekend in London of a seven month training programme I'm undertaking - a journey with twenty or so other coaches and creatives exploring the power of love, presence and connection in our work. And when Bill spoke those words, I knew I could trust this place, this journey and these people.
Osho writes, in his gloriously direct way:
"Only stupid people depend on ready-made answers because then they need not be intelligent, there is no need...But my own understanding is this: whenever commandments are given, they create difficulties for people because by the time they are given they are already out of date. Life moves so fast; it is a dynamism, it is not static...So one thing may be right this moment and may not be right the next."
Let me share with you how it feels to me. It feels like commandments have been easy to sell. Systems have been easy to sell. Formulas have been easy to sell. Roadmaps and blueprints and step-by-steps have been easy to sell.
They speak to that part inside all of us that wishes beyond anything that there were a follow-my-lead formula for living a happy, peaceful, joyful, successful life. That part inside all of us that desperately wants to believe that if we just do it the way they did it then we'll experience the very same results and even the very same life.
And so we allow ourselves to be sold to. And over and over again my experience is the same:
That person's way of doing things doesn't have space for all of my humanity. The system doesn't have room for my questions and curiosity and need to explore. The roadmap doesn't have time to sit with me through my challenging moments whilst I navigate the murky waters to come to my own powerful truth.
And repeatedly I find that because who I am won't fit neatly into that system or formula or roadmap, I'm cast aside as someone who just didn't try hard enough to do the work. I didn't dig deep enough to get to the end and implement the system.
But I know it's more than that. Deep inside my being I know it's not because there's anything wrong with me. I know it's because there is no single way of doing anything and no system can ever contain sufficient space for all that we are, in our wonderfully brilliant uniqueness.
There comes a time, and it's different for all of us, when we truly learn to trust only what is inside. A time when we come to see in an entirely new way that no teacher can know what is best for us or provide us with the answer. Then we begin to seek out people who'll sit with us. People who'll hold space for us. People who'll share experience without pushing it on us. People who'll repeatedly point us back to ourselves. Then we begin to revel in the joy of our own journey, of going inside and finding what's true.
So the only piece of advice I'll continue to give anyone who crosses my path for both their business and their entire life is this:
Trust what is deep in your own heart. Even if it feels not possible or uncertain or seems wildly different to the norm, trust that. Trust your own deep wisdom, your intuition and your inner knowing. When something inside you feels limited or confined by external advice, trust that feeling.
Returning once more to Osho:
"Don't listen to the scriptures - listen to your own heart. That is the only scripture I prescribe: listen very attentively, very consciously, and you will never be wrong. And listening to your own heart, you will never be divided. Listening to your own heart, you will start moving in the right direction, without ever thinking of what is right and what is wrong."
I've found that it takes a great deal of courage to live this way. To listen only to your own heart. To trust what is coming from there and to not be swayed by everything outside. But I've also found that it is the only way to live life in a way that feels truly alive and joyous. Because it's only in listening to and following the truth inside of you that your life can be completely authentic. And it's the ability to live a wildly authentic life, no matter whether that fits the expectations of others or not, that brings us the deepest joy.
Be not in fear of life. Let go of the idea that you need to get somewhere by a certain point in time. Embrace it and love it for the wonderful mystery that it is. Experiment, explore and most of all...
Trust whatever is in your heart.
Love and courage,