Taking Charge of Yourself
We all know the image: the person with the angel on one shoulder, and the devil on the other, telling them what to do. The angel represents their higher conscience and personal restraint; the devil represents their need for instant gratification regardless of the “rules.”
Most of us spend our lives being pushed around by these two impulses, struggling to figure out which one to listen to. And sometimes, the more we listen to one, it seems the louder the other one gets.
Is there a third option?
I’d say yes. Ignore the angel. Ignore the devil. And listen to yourself.
This means not living by an external moral code; it also means taking full responsibility for your own actions, which can be frightening. It means losing the ability to excuse your actions by saying that a momentary impulse took you over.
But it means the freedom to make your own decisions—like an adult, not somebody beholden to external symbols, ideas and codes that somebody came up with thousands of years before you were born, and which will probably outlive you by a long time, too.
“Going within and becoming the best of who you are is a spiritual goal.” – TeriLynn ext. 9625
Think of the angel and devil on your shoulders as training wheels. If other people need them, that’s fine. They help stabilize one’s path when you’re still learning how to operate in the world. But when it’s time to ride your bicycle on your own, you need to take the training wheels off. You might crash easier—if you’re not paying attention—but you’re going to go a lot faster, too, and be able to go wherever you want.
This doesn’t mean that one has a license to be “bad.” It simply means that one takes responsibility for one’s own conduct without relying on an external social standard, and rejects external moral categories for one’s behavior. And gives you the freedom to explore more clearly who you really are.
Do you dare stand on your own?
“If you have to explain Zen you are missing the point, it is about just being.” – Quinn ext. 5484
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