The people we follow instinctively are those who seem more “solid” than we are: better internally connected to their identity, give off the symptoms of someone who is a healthy animal, a healthy human being, and a healthy spirit. Those people are hypnotic, charismatic. Not perfect, by any means. But THEY OWN THEMSELVES in some way that it is difficult to describe.
And the rest of us? Well…if you were told you were unlovable as a child, you could easily either accept that and fall into a series of abusive relationships, or stretches of loneliness, or develop a false ego shell: “I’m terrific!” which might get you a relationship with either someone naive, or someone else with a similar shell. The naive person will probable grow, see through you, and leave. The person with a comparable shell will, under stress, have that shell crack. So will yours. And then you’ll be dealing with each other’s reality, and the chances are those realities aren’t compatible, and the relationship ends.
If you dealt with fear and abuse as a child, you might build shells of wealth or physical power. Build fortresses of skill and badassery around that inner terror. “When will I stop being afraid?” one fine young black belt asked me. Within a year he’d blown his brains out. Under stress, the shell will crack. The martial arts is crammed with people who fled fear, and if they find the right teachers, those teachers will gently nudge them toward their real core. FORCE FAILURE so that the false image collapses, but nurture so that the collapse is toward the center, and encourage the student to love and respect their essence, so that the question “who am I?” and “what is true?” can be addressed without terror that the answer will be “I am a worthless coward” or “what is true is that no one will ever love me” or “what is true is that people are shit.” No, they aren’t. YOU feel that YOU are shit, and you are using the world as a mirror.
Ultimately, all that scaffolding collapses. It always does. None of us get out of life alive. What we can do is collapse it deliberately, in balance. “Controlled spiritual detonation” you might say.
The same amount of being, of “is-ness” but solid, not puffed up with air and ego. A potato is smaller but hella stronger than its weight in potato chips. You can STAND on a potato. And you will genuinely see a little further and clearer. Be solid, even if, temporarily, it seems like a step back.
The best way to do this is either to center on your heart, the reality of love, and feeling love for all. ANY blockage here is fear, and you will be able to see the work to be done. Instantly you know the difference between your weight in potatoes, and your weight in potato chips. Try loving the opposition’s political candidates, especially if they beat you. Instant awakening. (and no, love need not make you weak, or less capable of fighting for what you believe in. Love can be the greatest power in the world, capable of conquering people nothing else can touch)
Another “best” is to focus on the animal self: your physical health and vibrancy, your sexual/mating energy, your hunting and gathering. That equates to body, relationship, career. Happy, healthy, and in alignment with your own values OR happily engaged in creating that alignment.
In either case, it is a matter of finding joy, happiness, with everything else a symptom, or a means to an end. The end is joy.
Embrace the tests of life, but confront them in balance by having goals in all three arenas, constantly bumping into your walls. Stop lying to yourself about wanting health, love, success.
Be a potato, not a Pringle.