Live Life from the Inside Out
Why this Story?
My story 'Never take things Personally' inspired Diego, one of my readers, to send an email. He wrote, 'Thanks for sharing your experiences. I have a question, and don't take it personally ;). I wonder if you did not have these kinds of experiences before your nomadic lifestyle. We all follow a different path, and each path has its own struggles. Your path is to get to know yourself and find inner peace. Did you really not notice before your nomadic lifestyle that we all choose differently? The personalities you describe in your story are everywhere, you don’t have to live like a nomad to interact with them or have the experiences you describe. At the end people everywhere are the same. I wish you lots of positive experiences.'
Diego's email inspired me to write about the power of Living Life from the Inside Out.
A few years ago I heard this story about three clubs in a New York street. One of the clubs was usually packed, the other two rather empty. People kept on lining up in the queue in front of the entrance of the club that was usually full. The secret behind this long queue is that the club paid students to stand in the line. After they entered, they could enjoy one drink for free, dance a bit and afterwards they had to go out and stand in the line of the queue again to give the illusion there was always a queue in front of the club. Potential customers looking for a good time saw the amount of people at the entrance and thought: this is where the party is, and joined the queue to party. The storyteller concluded his story by saying, ‘People follow other people! When you create the illusion of success they are willing to stand in line for your product.’ It may not be a surprise that this storyteller was a marketeer. His expertise is to study how most people make choices in their daily lives so his clients can sell some ‘happiness’ in a bottle, building or box. Take a look around you or turn on your television, surf on the internet, or be active on social media to see how the marketeer’s story has an impact on our society. But what happens when you practice living life from the inside out? Does his conclusion still stand?
The inside out
A different perspective, a story from the spiritual teacher Osho, in which he talks about the real self. He says, ‘The real self is dangerous for the established church, dangerous for the state, dangerous for the crowd, dangerous for the tradition, because once a man knows his real self, he becomes an individual. He no longer belongs to the mob psychology; he will not be superstitious, he cannot be exploited, he cannot be led like cattle, he cannot be ordered and commanded. He will live according to his light; he will live from his own inwardness. His life will have tremendous beauty and integrity. But that is the fear of the society.’ His words sound rather radical but reflect upon them for three minutes. What do you think will happen when most of us no longer live according to the story of others, but in alignment with our own light?
A lot of us don’t choose to live life from within our real self because you can feel alone at times; you don’t stand in a crowd, instead you follow your own authentic path. Living life from within your real self also means you are never lonely because the light and love on this path are truly warm, peaceful and beautiful. Once you choose this path you will connect more and more on a deeper level with different kinds of people, even with a beggar on the street, because you deeply realize we all want happiness and peace of mind.
In the house of strangers
The people I have met during my nomadic life, and some of the personalities I describe in my story ‘Don’t take it personally’ were not much different from the people in my old life, they could have been my colleagues, and neighbours or we could have been strangers exchanging a friendly smile in the supermarket. The difference is that by living with them, our lives intertwined and together we created a new story. At the end of the day I did not return to my own home, close the door behind me, and forget about them. Instead these strangers confronted me with my personal, cultural, emotional, intellectual and spiritual habits. Living with strangers can be quite frustrating and confusing, because what you think and believe end up under a magnifying glass. When I had an open heart and mind, I enjoyed it, and challenges were not more than challenges. When I experienced it as frustrating I noticed that my heart and mind were closed, and my ego was at play. I wanted to hold on to what I thought was right, to the stories in my mind. This created tension and problems.
When you look at, for instance your neighbourhood or home country you can see on a bigger scale that living with strangers is not easy when we are closed, and want to hold on tight to our stories, our perspective and our traditions. We start building walls, because we are afraid to lose and we don’t want our stories to change. My nomadic lifestyle has helped me to bring more stability in being my real self, opening up, honouring light and love and letting go of feelings, thoughts and actions that don’t serve me and others. I had created this excellent opportunity to practice, not in a temple, church, mosque or retreat centre, but in the houses of strangers and with strangers.
This brings me back to the depressed vegan Italian traveller I introduced in the story ‘Never take things personally’. I spoke to him last week because I was curious how he was doing. I was pleased to hear our conversations had given him food for thought. We talked about how important it is to look at your own state of mind, to be honest with yourself, to change your perception when it does not contribute to your own happiness and that of others and the benefits of spiritual practice in daily life. The vegan Italian is not depressed anymore. He went back home to Italy and he is trying to be realistic without being pessimistic. He does not want to follow an ‘empty’ kind of happiness, the one where you get attached to material stuff, and your thoughts and feelings. He is practicing equanimity, finding a good balance and he is spending more time with family and friends and less time worrying about humanity destroying our planet.
The final chapter
I’m now in the final chapter of my nomadic life. It has been a truly wonderful and healing journey. I did not have a desire for positive experiences back then or now; instead I practice opening my heart and mind, and welcome everything that helps me to personally and spiritually grow. Living with strangers is not the right path for everyone, but it was for me. I did not want to be a subject in the story of the marketeer anymore, nor the follower of spiritual teachers. However, both their stories inspire me! I consume less, buy what I need and practice more to live life from the inside out. It has helped me to build a new life with more meaning. I hope this story inspires you to follow your authentic path, and to do whatever makes you and others happy.
© copyright 2017