Our culture has values, attributes it prioritizes and awards. Some of us have more of those attributes, and some of us have less. But they are all only part of us, a facet in the greater totality of our true selves.
Other cultures have other values. There is nothing inherently right or universal about the cultural values, they are simply unexamined remnants from people that lived long ago. Or they are created by the institutions that have the greatest resources through advertising. Regardless, they harm me when they are accepted without examination. (And they rarely survive the act of examination!)
Our culture values facets of us.
But we are diamonds.
A model that I find helpful is to remember that I can identify as a diamond, or as a facet. When I remember that I am a diamond, I feel connected to the Divine, to myself, to nature, committed to my creative expression, and listen wholeheartedly to Jeff, myself, and my kids. I feel whole, complete. I am my most conscious self, with no agenda for life or other people. It's a sense of the no-self that the mystics and sages talk about. And I feel bliss.
When I am identifying with a facet, I am hiding part of myself. Over-identifying with one facet or another, a partial dimension of myself, but no my whole self. Interestingly, I frequently feel like I have an agenda - whether it is hidden or overt.
My greatest humanity and power is in returning, over and over, to the sense of myself as a diamond.
Anything that distances me from my sense of being a diamond is, by nature, not mine. Inherited from my lineage, or learned in my family or culture. As such, it's not mine to carry. My goal in life is to only carry that which is mine to carry, and return and restore anything else to it's rightful place. (It's an incredibly empowering practice.) To do so, it's helpful to have tools to point myself back into my sense of self. One way that I can examine if a value is mine or inherited through the culture is to ask myself about the attribute or person in question.
- Do I admire that facet?
If the answer is yes, then I can put it into a statement: "I admire that facet." If not, "I do not admire that facet." The answer is always felt in my belly. And, one way or another, I am restored to a sense of my own wholeness, but also the wholeness of the other person. Because I have been reducing and minimizing them to one of their multitudes of facets also.
Living as my diamond, as my whole, complete, connected sense of self, feels like the point of life. It creates bliss and joy and peace and perspective. Heaven on earth.
May it bring comfort to you as well.
Norma Van Horn