Truth: “the quality or state of being true” (Oxford Dictionary)
Satya (Sanskrit): “unchangeable; absolute truth; reality; that which pervades the universe in all its constancy” (Wikipedia)
I decided to make this week’s ‘theme’ on my Facebook community, The Healing Network, about Truth – because it’s been on my mind a lot recently. In fact ‘truth’ is a concept that has interested and perplexed me throughout my life. What does it mean, to speak one’s truth (a yogi phrase) or to live a truthful life? Certainly for me that is something I always aspired to do, but I realise that for a long time, I did not achieve it.
I see now that this ‘healing journey’ of mine is as much about healing and self-discovery as it is about the search for Truth. In fact they are one and the same. I am searching for my truth. And in doing so, I am searching for the truth – the truth about life and what it’s all about, about why I am here, living it, and discovering the most truthful, authentic, real way for me to ‘exist’. It’s an internal and external exploration – and the truth is, the two cannot be separated.
One of the reasons I left (ran away from, some might say) my life in London is that I felt like I was living a lie. (Actually, I’ve felt like that for years.)
My career was an ‘accident’, born out of the necessity to make money, a sense of obligation to follow the path I believed others expected of me, and circumstance: right (or wrong) time / place. It was not a decision made out of intention or desire; it did not play out because I really believed it was right for me. I did not aspire to be a successful businesswoman (I didn’t really want a job at all if I’m honest). And my gut instinct always told me that it was wrong.
I never believed that it was right to sit in front of a computer screen for 8+ hours a day and to come to work at a certain time of the day, every day, regardless of my mental, emotional and physical health at the time. Nor did I think it was my destiny to be in the business of cheating people out of money so that we could make them more money, so that they could manipulate other people into spending money. (I worked in marketing, in case you hadn’t guessed.)
It never sat well with me.
I felt like a fraud going into that office each day with a pretend smile on my face, faking my enthusiasm for whatever pitch we had won or campaign I was tasked to run. Why am I doing this? I thought constantly. I’m not helping anyone (which I believed I should have been, as I felt from an early age that was my true purpose. I even did a short work experience stint at a hospital once thinking I might become a nurse. Didn’t follow through, obviously. Probably for the best though – not a fan of blood, or needles.)
I saw straight through the BS. And I bitched about it constantly. But I still did it. For five years.
Admittedly, in my early twenties, when an interest in my own self-development was clouded by more materialistic and hedonistic pursuits, I did find pleasure in the after-work drinks, the socialising and the parties. And I enjoyed that pay cheque each month that I spent (idiotically, I see now) on more clothes than I could fit in my wardrobe, an array of high-heeled shoes which I never wore, and taxis to and from said parties (not to mention the bar tabs I racked up).
I filled my life up with ‘things’ and clouded my mind with unnatural highs in order to fill the void inside – to quiet the inner voice that was there all along trying desperately to scream ‘THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN THIS!’
I jumped ship once before, in 2012 – quit my really rather well-paid job and set off to South America to find myself and /or whatever it was I was yearning for. I vowed never to go back to those claustrophobic four walls that suffocated my true potential and made me feel constantly that I was, day-by-day, slowly wasting my life away. But, ‘needs must’ and ‘fun over’ I reluctantly returned (to a different four walls, but in essence to the exact same routine: sleep, eat, work, and repeat.)
To say it was a culture shock to come back from that trip is an understatement. And as the months went on, my tan fading along with my memories of freedom, the feeling of separation from myself – from my beliefs about who I was, who I could be, and what I could offer this world – increased by the day. (If you’ve read this blog at all you’ll know the rest.)
I traded in TRUTH for security, stability, (financial) wealth and ‘success’, as it is defined by the culture I was raised in.
By the end my fake grin was impossible to bare, my in-genuine enthusiasm impossible to muster. The mask was off. And I knew they could see it too.
Well, thank God! Because when I finally started listening to that voice inside me (the one saying ‘get the hell out of here! You don’t belong here!); and to my inner child who wanted to play and to explore; and to my heart that told me I need to be doing something more meaningful, more TRUTHFUL with my life; and to my gut, which felt physically sick by the end of my ‘real world’ career (/life)… then, finally, I was free.
Finally I could see the truth.
The truth is that there is more to life than this. There’s a whole world outside of those four walls waiting to be explored. There’s a whole wealth of opportunities which don’t exist within the confines of my previous very limited existence. There are thousands of people out there, living in a myriad of different ways, many of which do not subscribe to the eight-hour-day work system or the belief that your job title, bank balance, or the car that you drive defines you. And there’s a whole person inside of me who has so much to see, to learn, and to give.
What is my purpose? It’s to discover what that gift is. And then to share it.
That is my Truth. And I’m living it, right now. Are you?
Just before I sign off, I want to say that it is not my intention to offend anyone working in an office, or for that matter, anyone working in the offices which I once did (in case you happen to be reading). I met amazing people there, I learnt a lot, and regardless of the fact it wasn’t right for me, I am grateful for those experiences. And, if you do work in an office, and you’re doing something you love – if you get up each day excited to go to work because the work itself is the reward – then that is wonderful. What I take issue with is that I believe many (probably most) people don’t feel that way. They don’t feel fulfilled. They aren’t happy. And they do it for all the wrong reasons – because they feel they have to.
What grates me the most is the rigid structure of modern capitalist society that defines our value to the world within the limits of what I believe are very superficial concepts: money (it’s not even real!); success (who says making money or working your way up an organisation is a valuable contribution to the world?); and ‘happiness’ (well, I’ll let you decide what that means to you).
Do whatever you want. But do it for the right reasons. Do it from your heart. With integrity. With ‘truth’. Don’t let fear and ‘duty’ hold you back if in fact you are not doing what you think, what you know deep inside, is really right. Because in the end, only you will suffer – with the regret of a life wasted, a dream ignored, and a chance for real, authentic, true happiness slipped between your fingers.