saw a bumper sticker proclaiming, Dont
Im following my bliss. Good advice! How much more creative and successful would your
life be if you remained true to your own inner guidance rather than
imitating the paths chosen by others?
When you are secure in who you are, you set the trend for your own life,
and do not look to others to tell you how to live. I remember seeing
Julia Roberts show up
unannounced on the David Letterman show one night, clad in jeans and a
tee-shirt, with no make-up and her hair not styled. The audience gave
Julia a rousing welcome, and then she had a lighthearted spontaneous
interview with Letterman. Everyone was thrilled to see her, and no one
cared that she was not glamorous that evening.
Authenticity yields far more power than ostentation. Sometimes people
become confident in themselves because they are successful, but always
people become successful because they are confident.
For many years I wore a jacket and tie when I spoke in churches, simply
because I thought I should be appropriate. Yet all the while I felt
totally unnatural and hated it. Then one night I asked Wayne Dyer what
he wore when he spoke at the same churches. A sweater¾or
whatever, Wayne told me nonchalantly. I dont even own a jacket
That did it. I realized that Wayne had been true to himself, but I had
not. I squirmed as I remembered the title of some of my talks: Dare
to be Yourself. That was the end of the jacket and tie era for me.
Other men love to wear a jacket and tie. To be true to themselves, they must dress
up. To be true to me, I must dress comfortably. Realness is an inside
In Monty Pythons hilarious film Life
of Brian, a scofflaw during the time of Jesus eludes Roman soldiers
by disguising himself as a pundit. Brian finds a soapbox in the town
square and spouts mock words of wisdom. As soon as the soldiers depart,
Brian makes a beeline for the city limits, only to discover that he is
being followed by a crowd of students. Soon the throng grows from
hundreds to thousands, begging their master to teach them. Finally Brian
turns and chides them, Im not your master ¾
Just go away!
But master! a voice cries out from the crowd, tell us how
we should go away.
Many of us have given our power,
money, and minds to people whom we believe can tell us how to live. And
many teachers have given us good advice. But advice is useful only if it
resonates deep within us in a place that feels like home. So the teacher
did not give us anything we did not already have; he or she just pointed
us to what we already knew. A consultant is someone who borrows your
watch to tell you what time it is.
is someone who sits by the bank of
a river selling bottles of river water. Anyone could just go
directly to the river and obtain water without going through a middle
party. There are two kinds of gurus: those who get their students
hooked on bottled water and keep upping the price, and those who show
their students how to get their own water. The best teachers are those
who work themselves out of a job.
ago I got involved with a cult led by a teacher who claimed to be
enlightened. The students in this organization worshipped
the teacher more than the teachings, and I went right along with
the hype. I gave my power away to this man and I did things just to fit
in with the crowd. But every time fit in, I sold out. Eventually a
scandal revealed that the teacher had been lying to the students and
engaging in covert activities contrary to his teachings.
debacle became public, I
felt ripped off, betrayed, and angry. I blamed the teacher for fooling
me. After some introspection, however, I realized that I had fooled
myself. If I had been true to myself, I never would have become one of
the sheep. Then I began to appreciate the experience. I realized that
the purpose of my involvement with the teacher was not the lessons he
gave, but for me to learn to follow my own spirit rather than the herd.
Suddenly the whole process became immensely valuable to me, and I
laughed about it. It was worth the experience to learn how to respect my
sacred self rather than external authority.
you know that every truth you seek is available within you, you will not
place someone elses idea of how you should live, above your own.
There are many roads to the mountaintop, but the only one that will take
you all the way is the one with your name on it.
Alan Cohen is the author of
15 popular inspirational books, including
the award-winning A Deep Breath of Life. To order Alan's new
novel My Father's Voice or request a free catalog of Alan's books,
tapes, and seminars, call 1-800-462-3013. Join Alan on a mystic journey
to Bali in October, 2001! For info contact 455A Kukuna Road, Haiku, HI
96708, 1-800-568-3079, email: email@example.com.
Check out Alan's web
site at www.alancohen.com.