I had an interesting experience recently. I'd like to share it with you. I was at a seminar and the presenter quoted Friedrich Nietzsche:
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
I contemplated the famous quote, identifying with it and thinking how I have spent so much of my own life walking a path that few could understand or support. I thought about my stepping out as a psychic while still in my twenties, and losing most of the friends I had then, as well as the support of my family. I remembered how it was fine for me to be 'eccentric' while still holding a 'normal' job and following the same life pattern and beliefs as everyone else...but when I took myself out of the tribe, so to speak, and adopted my own individual world view, I was cut out of the herd, almost as if my presence might contaminate the mix. I learned quickly not to speak of my work or my beliefs or my psychic insights to friends and relatives who could not stand to have their own world shaken by thoughts of something different. But I never lost sight of my own dreams, or that inner flame that sourced my direction. I refused to be overwhelmed by the tribe. Sometimes that created sadness and loneliness, but mostly it led me to wonderful new experiences. That was a very long time ago.
Today I can read about relaxation techniques, Yoga, meditation, energy clearing, and spiritual spaces and counseling in the daily newspaper. I saw a column of advertisements by psychics giving readings in the classified ads. I can buy incense and incense holders and Feng Shui supplies in Walmart. It would seem that the tribe has caught up with me and the others like me who chose to follow the lonely path of their dreams, and of their hearts.
If we hadn't had the courage to follow our own lonely paths, would the remainder of the herd have opened to any of these things? Even now, would more and more people be opening to embrace concepts of One World, World Peace, and the Spiritual Evolution of Humankind? I think not.
I went back to my office that day and saw two clients. Synchronicity struck as it often does. Both clients were dealing with life situations that were unhappy and that they had themselves created, while following the life-paths their friends and relatives expected them to. Both were over achievers, and had done an exemplary job of not just fitting in with the tribe, but leading it. And neither was happy. Their life situations were radically different, but both felt they'd missed something important that they left behind somewhere. Both felt they were somehow off track, but couldn't find their way back to the right track because they'd never had a chance to be on it. They'd spent their lives excelling at all the things their friends, families, and colleagues told them they should do, or want, or have. And having it all - they found they had nothing at all. By being overwhelmed by the tribe, as Nietzsche said, they had lost themselves and their life purpose before they'd even found it. My advice to both of them? Take the time to get in touch with what you really want in your life. To quote another famous philosopher, Joseph Campbell, "find your bliss and doors will open where before there were only walls."
We all need reminders occasionally, that we are in charge of our own happiness, and that very few of us can find that true happiness when following the dreams and desires of another.
Love and Light,