In the post – a lesson in humility, I talked about how the plane of Earth is a perfect schooling ground for a soul (being) to learn a sense of authentic humility through coming to an understanding of the oneness of life, thus letting go of egoic pride, and seeing through any sense of false extra-ordinariness. Another crucial lesson, that the plane of physicality provides a soul, is the lesson of aligning with a value-system, or rather the ability to consciously “do the right thing”. Inner freedom, or inner liberation, is not a ticket to a sense of “I can do whatever I want because I am free within” – it’s not a license towards insalubrious self-indulgence in the form of greed, indiscriminate living, exploitation, manipulation, abuse or inconsideration.
True inner freedom allows you to be fearless within, it frees you from being a puppet to external influence, it frees you of all limiting conditioning, it frees you of being a prisoner to your emotions/mind, so it does bring you to a place of inner power, and this power can be abused when you decide to stop being honest with yourself with respect to your value-system or your sense of doing the “right thing”. Being authentic with yourself also involves staying true to your value-system irrespective of your inner freedom. As they say – the true test of character is when you are in a position of power.
Inner freedom and Value-system
It’s easy to make choices when you are moving from a place of inner fear or perceived limitations – in this case, you are not really making a choice because you are purely dictated by your fears, limitations or hang-ups. However, when you come to a place of conscious inner freedom (by consciously letting go of being a prisoner your mind’s conditioning/thoughts) you reach a place of inner power. In this place, you have a “real” choice towards how you will live your life – this is where it becomes really important to bring awareness to your value-system, and consciously choose to stay true to it irrespective of the freedom you have to go against it. It’s one thing to do the “right” out of fear or limitation, and it’s a totally different thing to do the “right” from a place of real choice that inner freedom provides.
Just to give an external analogy, of what I mean by choice of “inner freedom”, consider a person who is living under limited financial means – he does a 9 to 5 job and draws a small salary. He has a girlfriend, and he’s being sexually monogamous towards her. He doesn’t have any real vice, he doesn’t drink much, he doesn’t do drugs, and basically doesn’t have the means to over-indulge in entertainment. In fact, he feels so stressed out by his job, by his feeble financial situation and the limitations in his circumstances that he has never considered any form of indulgences at all – so his behavior is totally dominated by the limitations in his circumstances (this is analogous to when you have no inner freedom, and are living through fears). One day he wins a lottery that brings him several million dollars in one shot. Now he has a real choice on how he wants to express/experience his life (this is analogous to what you feel when you have inner freedom). This “real choice” can also bring real confusion if he is not really sure of what he is about, if he’s not sure of what his value system is – the expression that he lives from this place of real choice is the true test of his character. The way I define “character” is the ability to do the “right thing”, and the way I define the “right thing” is the choice that lines-up with your inner value system.
(On a side note – it may look as if a person who is “reckless”, from a place of being unconscious, has inner freedom because he/she is not dominated by fear. However, being “reckless” stems from an unconscious state of being where you become a prisoner to your own fearlessness – it’s still not a place of real inner freedom. Only a conscious person, who develops the power of awareness, has the ability to truly find a space of inner freedom, which allows one to be in a place of true/real choice)
Where does a value-system come from?
Your “value system” is totally personal to you, and only you can know your value system. If you’ve never really taken the time to understand your value-system, you are bound to be a very confused/indecisive person, and when you are in some state of strong “impulsiveness” you are likely to do the “wrong thing” driven by the pull of your mind/heart reaction. But how does one know the difference between a value-system and a hang-up/fear? For example, how do you know if you are being monogamous out of fear or because it’s part of your value system? The only way you can find out is when you are free of the pull of your mind’s fear. When you reach a place of inner freedom, by consciously letting go of your mind’s pull, by growing in the power of awareness, you are in the perfect place to really start understanding your value-system. It’s easy to confuse certain fear-based beliefs to be a part of your value-system, so you can’t be really clear about it unless you have a conscious freedom to look beyond your fears.
Where does a value system come from? Is it purely a product of natural conditioning, or is it totally dependent on conditioning we acquire through learning from the outside? In other words, is it possible that our value-system is simply coming out of what we are told is right, or wrong, by the outside influence (like parents, teachers, priests) or does a value-system stem from our inner-being, our nature as life-energy? The truth is that it’s a mix of both. There is a value-system present in our “being”, or the life-energy that we are, which gives us a sense of right and wrong, and there is a value-system unique to the natural conditioning of our brain/body, that we incarnate as, which can be called the value-system that you inherit from your gene-pool. What we call “conscience” is also part of our value-system. It’s very possible to suppress the voice of our value-system, but one always “knows” in some way when one is suppressing it, even the most unconscious person has this knowing – it’s just that the momentum of imbalance, the pressure to “fit in”, and deluded perception created by low awareness, can cause people to live a life against their value system.
Lining up with the wisdom of your being
Wisdom operates at several levels and staying true to your value system is a part of wisdom based living, or conscious living. True maturity is about the ability to stand true to one’s value-system, and have the wisdom to see beyond an impulsive pull of the mind/body/emotions. Also, you cannot base your value-system on the behavior of the people outside you – to say that you did what you did because everyone else is doing it, is really just an example of unconscious living. As a being, when you learn to make a conscious choice, from a place of inner freedom, towards living your value system, you reach an evolved level of maturity – you will feel “tested” when you are put in situations where you have to make a real choice, and these situations can be used as opportunities to deeply understand your value system more consciously.
There is always an instinct in you when you are doing the right thing or when you are doing the wrong/unwise thing, it’s about staying true to this instinct in a conscious manner. When you have a consciously reduced mind/emotional momentum, you also have the ability to sense this instinct more clearly, however it’s still a matter of choice on whether you choose to stay true to its call – the wisdom of your inner being will never “impose” itself on you, it’s just that, without a high mind/emotional momentum, you are more resistance-free towards aligning with your inner being (your inner intelligence). Of course, a reduced mind momentum also brings you to a place of freedom where you can choose to do the “wrong thing” knowing that you will not be disturbed by your mind’s sense of guilt or fear. So I am not going to say that a person who has consciously attained inner freedom has also attained the ability to stay true to his/her value-system at all times – they are two different things altogether.
What’s the benefit of staying true to one’s value-system?
A person who is yet to come to inner wholeness would suggest that the benefit of staying true to one’s value-system is to get “peace of mind” and it’s true for such a state of being. However, for a person who has attained inner freedom, and has come to a place of inner wholeness, and thus finds a space of unwavering peace irrespective of the circumstances (with the ability to release any emotional-energy (karmic) build up), the only reason to stay true to his/her value-system is simply out of a conscious choice to live an expression aligned with his/her true nature. Whatever be the place you are at, you can make this choice of living aligned with your true nature simply because it’s eventually the “right thing” to do. It’s about you, and the way you want to live your expression as a being; don’t make this about earning brownie points with life out of some deluded idea of being judged by it.
When you make a conscious choice towards staying true to your value-system, you also become a more decisive person even in the face of multiple, available, choices that can overwhelm the best of people. It’s very possible that your brain (from its primordial physical impulses), or even the heart, may instigate impulses in you that may not be really aligned with your value-system, in which case, it takes a very conscious choice to stay true to your value-system. This conscious choice would have to come from your being, and the more aware you are as a being the more likely you are to make this choice unequivocally. To simply follow the impulses of your mind, in the name of joy/enjoyment, is not a part of conscious living (I’ve discussed this in the post – Beyond Enjoyment and What Are You Driven By) – though joy is a definite expression of life, it can’t be your only source of motivation; when a sense of “wholistic” wisdom takes precedence over being driven purely by joy, you know you’ve come to a place of true maturity as a being.