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Actualizing Personal Truth
Self-actualization comes down to three basic premises: this is who I am, this is what I believe and the foundation on which my life is built, and this is the way I manifest that belief system on a daily basis.
If you say that you live by the Golden Rule, but treat other people with a lack of respect, then you are dishonest, and others will perceive you as hypocritical.
If you say that material things are not important to you, but are driven to success materially or are continually dissatisfied with your current financial status, then you are dishonest, and the world will perceive you as hypocritical.
If you say that you love your mate, and make conscious choices that do not take your mate's wants, needs and desires into consideration, then you are dishonest, and the world will see you as hypocritical.
If you say that the family is the most important thing in your life, and yet make conscious choices that take you away from the family or inflicts stress upon the family, then the world will see you as dishonest and hypocritical.
In this process of self-analyzation, one must ask outright, "Do I practice what I preach, and do I preach what I really feel, or what other people have told me is what a good person feels?" For most individuals within this culture, some religious training has been a part of coming of age. Some individuals remain within a given religious group all their lives.
If this commitment to a particular religious sect has a positive influence on that individual, if it truly is a matter of recognizing their spiritual aspect and integrating their spiritual self into their everyday life, then this is good, for the basic guidelines of any major religion in the world today are in accordance with God's basic truth. The doctrine and the dogma of each sect may be questionable, but the basic truth remains valid. But - if religious practice is simply a part of one's lifestyle, if one looks upon church as a social occasion, as the thing they do that fits their routine every Sunday morning, as the thing they do before they go out to breakfast, then something is lacking, and what is lacking is the recognition and the realization of their spiritual self.
Going to church on a regular basis does not constitute living a spiritual life, for many individuals who go to church on a regular basis are totally unaware of their interconnection to other individuals, and totally unaware - and therefore un-accepting of the responsibility for - the effect that they are having.
Choosing in a given lifetime to remain unaware of one's personal power does not eliminate the karmic debt incurred when that power is abused or misapplied, no matter how unaware the individual may be at that point. It is a basic premise that one's responsibility in assuming a physical existence is to become aware, to open up to the inner consciousness as early in the existence as is reasonable so that the spiritual self can be integrated into the daily lifestyle, and with the integration of the spiritual self comes a higher level of awareness.
The various Christian sects place a great deal of emphasis on the fact that, to their perception, each of them is the only "right way" to worship, that the doctrine and the dogma provided by other sects will most certainly take you to Hell. This is ridiculous; God existed long before any organized religion, and souls have experienced life on this planet long before there was a church or a written set of rules to follow.
It is against God's will that any individual, at any given point, presume to know someone else's answers. Personal growth is a personal matter, and it is only by being fully aware of every implication that goes into our conscious choices that we know we are working according to OUR truth, and making decisions that are in accordance with OUR perception of life, and God, and the universe. No other individual has the ability to be aware of every implication of any situation in our life, and therefore no other individual has the right to tell us what to do or what to think or how to respond.
Why, then, do the majority of individuals follow a specific religious doctrine or a specific life philosophy that has been presented to them by an organized group of individuals as "the truth," and why are these individuals so defiant and so defensive and so against the exploration of alternative truths?
When one is confident of what one believes, one does not feel threatened by a difference of opinion; one finds it interesting to discuss. One finds it enlightening to explore, and occasionally one finds new truth that they know instinctively is valid for them as individuals. In establishing religious doctrine that requires acceptance of the whole dogma in order to be "a good practicing person," these religious organizations are breaking Universal Law, for Universal Law demands personal responsibility for personal truth.
Many individuals are simply too lazy to explore for themselves, to seek out information and to choose their own life philosophy from all of the options available historically to the human race. It is far easier, much less stressful, and much less time-consuming to accept ready made dogma as personal truth, and if there are some "minor" doctrines, "minor" rituals, "minor" belief points that the individual disagrees with, the individual simply ignores it, because nothing is perfect. Or is it?
When one takes the time and the effort to confirm or deny their personal belief system, each point that is confirmed as their personal truth then becomes not just something that they have been taught throughout their life, but a matter of personal conviction, and it is conviction that becomes a new motivating force in their life.
If one has truly explored the potential of the statement, "Judge not, lest ye be judged," and his decided in their own conscious mind that this is, indeed, a part of their personal belief system, they will - because of the strength of their commitment - unconsciously integrate into their interactions with other people an approach to life that prohibits them from acting from a position of judgment. With a lack of judgment comes respect - for other individuals and for what they are doing in their lives, positive or negative - and with a lack of judgment comes acceptance of other people's lifestyles, life circumstances, life's relationships, and one does not interfere if one respects another person's rights.
To say, "Judge not, lest ye be judged," but to spend one's time and energy judging other people, and worse, judging themselves in comparison, shows a lack of conviction and illuminates the difference between practicing and preaching. If one has truly accepted the belief that, in accordance with God's law, an individual must not judge others lest he be judged on an equal basis, it is reflected in one's behavior and in one's relationships.
Life is a learning experience, and as one learns to integrate the Inner Self, the external personality traits that one has chosen for a specific lifetime, and the emotional drives that are incorporated into that ,existence through those life experiences, one comes to recognize that only by working from a personal sense of conviction - only by defining one's personal truth and manifesting it on a day to day basis - can one make one's self a reality, an actuality.
Self-actualization means manifesting that self, and one cannot manifest what one does not understand, what one does not comprehend, what one does not believe to be a point of unshakable conviction - conviction so strong that it becomes the motivating force and replaces the emotional drive that preceded it. Recognizing that emotions must be replaced by conviction of personal truth as the motivating force in one's life is a major step towards self-actualization.
Lois Grant-Holland is a Life Path Focus Counselor offering Life Path Focus Sessions, Karmic Astrology Charts, Channeled Guidance, Intuitive Readings and Classes and Workshops to spiritual seekers on all positive paths, and is the site facilitator at The A.N.S.W.E.R. - (The Seeker's Resource Guide to Alternative, New Thought, Spiritual Growth, Wellness and Enlightenment Resources.) You can visit her website at http://www.loisgrantholland.com
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