Years ago, I remember announcing to my best friend that I had discovered the sweetest words in the English language; they were, “I know exactly what you mean!” Yes sir, it’s deeply satisfying when a friend ‘gets’ you – validates you. My best friend and I understood each other, even if no one else did.
But these days, that “best” friend has all but disappeared from my life. She no longer understands me, validates me, or indeed seems very interested in my life. And yet . . . here I am still, a valid human being.
Oh I knew that my experiences and thoughts were as real as such things can be. But still, they didn’t feel real to me unless another person shared and understood them.
Then, last week, I became a Self-Actualized Being.
As usual, I didn’t fully understand the technical meaning of the term. Gurus have written reams about it, I’m sure. I, however, seem always to stumble into such things by happy accident, checking Wikipedia only after someone else has named it for me. Even now, I am unable to recite a definition for Self-Actualization. But! I can sure tell you about my experience.
I was in Charleston, SC for a 5-day class (Karttikeyen Yogic Method) with three of my favorite teachers.
Great class. But I was having emotions, and not the fun kind. I was reeling back and forth between highs and lows – at first feeling closer to God than ever before, then fretting, because no one else seemed to recognize what was happening.
I even wondered: If my teacher doesn’t notice my progress, is it real?
But I knew it was real. And I was weary of the roller-coaster ride of my internal machinations. When the teacher asked us to set an intention for what we’d like to accomplish by the end of the class, all I could think was, “I just want to stop being at the mercy of these blithering doubts.”
Suddenly, out of nowhere, the words “Self Actualization” seemed to float just above my head, slightly to the right, then to land and settle into the right hemisphere of my brain. I actually experienced it landing there! That kind of thing doesn’t happen to me every day.
So I announced my intention: to become Self-Actualized. To me, that meant becoming the determiner of my own experience, the interpreter of my own process.
And magically, that was the day that I learned “Drop it.”
“Drop it” is a lesson my teacher has repeated to me countless times. It means dropping all the stories in my head about other people, their actions, their intentions, and their opinions about me. But knowing about “drop it” and really getting it were, for me, quite different. That day though, I finally GOT it; I acknowledged each of my emotions and doubts when they arose, and then in each case I made a decision to “drop it”.
And it worked. It was so easy!
Here’s a surprise though: Apparently, learning to “drop it” wouldn’t mean that I was immune from negative thoughts. Instead, it meant something better: I had become an observer, rather than a victim, of my thoughts. Yes. I observed them, and I dropped them . . . then I dropped them again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and not once did I attach to them. Not once did I get stuck in their energy. Not once was I discouraged by their return. I no longer regretted my thoughts . . . I merely noticed and then . . . dropped them.
Two days later, my teacher declared that I had achieved Self-Actualization. Wow.
Two days after that, I returned to Atlanta.
When I arrived home, I immediately saw a sticky note stuck to my bathroom mirror, with words I had written the week before:
“Choose to turn; choose as many times as necessary. That is all.”*
I had to laugh! That’s exactly what I’d learned to do! And somehow, my Higher Self had known that, even before the actual experience in Charleston. I had intuited, all by myself, that that sentence was important enough to read over and over again. (Although at the time I couldn’t have said why.)
So yes, it’s pleasant when a friend really gets me. But I have stopped looking outward – even toward my teacher – to authenticate my experience. I trust myself. Self-trust is, of course, exactly what my teacher has been working to evoke in me, all along.
No more seeking validation from others!
(Holy Cow! What will I do with my free time?)
*Quote is from the book The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power by Vernon Howard