Authority and Tao

Thinking and believing that other people have the answer to the “mystery” of you is a child’s task.” – Thomas Merton

This is one of my favorite statements that Thomas Merton offered among many. He was a person who, after so many years of following and doing what he was told, managed to move beyond the “authority” of the system and started seeing “what is” on his own without being told what or how to see. Of course, there was always conditioning present in his perspective but being able to step outside of that was amazing.

Realizing that the only real authority on you is you is an opening to taking responsibility for all we do. But there is a secondary level to see, and that’s the internal conditioned authority that exists in all of us. It’s basically external authority that’s internalized and becomes your own voice instead of others. I noticed I can move away from reliance on external authority and still be obeying and following all the ingrained conditioning while not realizing I’m listening to a second type of artificial authority by default. All those I should, could, I need to do this or that’s, and what rules and regulations I need to follow to be the “right” person. Those internal controls implanted by conditioning will last long after you have finally left the influence of anyone else who claims to know the mystery of you or how to solve it.

A way to diminish that artificial impact is to start examining, very deeply, your own conditioned state and how it affects everything you do. This practice is one that takes much patience and self-compassion. There’s no hurry because you will be doing this practice for the rest of your life. We quickly adopt new messages and add them to the ones that already compose that inner authority. The process is that deeply ingrained and manipulative. But the result from moving away from conditioned authority will be an increasing sense of freedom and choices that are relevant to who and where you are in life. There is a degree of strength that rises when we move from our own knowing.

You can delve into this by reading “There’s Nothing Wrong with You, Going Beyond Self Hate” by Cheri Huber. Also, by seeking out information on Critical Thinking. An important process to learn if you’re interested in seeing how intensely we are socially and culturally conditioned. I use the book “Critical Thinking” by Richard Paul and Linda Elder constantly. Both books can be found on Amazon new and used.

Be good to you today, possibilities abound!

Bryan Wagner

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