We are each our own Spiritual authority, and it seems of paramount importance to me that we each maintain an awareness of that.
I don’t have the definitive answers to the questions people ask me when they’ve read my book. I often answer the questions – sometimes because they’re fun to think about, sometimes because answering them helps me to think something through in my own mind. I don’t expect people to just take what I say as gospel truth, though. I would hope that they don’t. I would hope that each person will understand that what I say is just one person’s idea (mine). If they’re then inspired to think through some idea on their own, open up to a new possibility of experience or perspective, examine their own experience or be inspired to ask new questions and perhaps look for an answer in a way they hadn’t considered before… great. The circle moves – others’ ideas have done that for me too.
But I’m not anyone’s spiritual advisor or guru.
I was doing a psychic reading for someone awhile ago. I saw what looked to me like a job involving metal, electronics, high tech, with this client in a position within this environment but moving between individual people, interacting with many of them on a rather brief and superficial level. That is generally how I described this scene to the client. I then went on to say that this appeared to me to be some sort of position in a company that dealt with computers or some equivalent high tech. When I said, “does this make sense to you?” the client said no. I asked them to think about it, and moved on.
Later in the reading this client told me that they were considering a job as a flight attendant.
Look again at the raw description that I gave this client: job involving metal, electronics, high tech, with this client in a position within this environment but moving between individual people, interacting with many of them on a rather brief and superficial level.
If this client had been maintaining her own authority over what she was taking in, would the client have said no to my asking if this made sense? The pieces were there for both of us to put together into the flight attendant. Yet all the client responded to was my incorrect interpretation of the information that I was receiving – they gave up their own authority of interpretation, going right along after me in my mistaken summary of “computer industry.” If I’d been walking toward a cliff, would they have ignored the clues in the environment and followed me over the edge?
(I learned something from this experience – that was exciting for me!)
We each have our own perspective from wherever we happen to be standing at this moment or in this lifetime or in this Whole Self. I think we ought to own that place, wherever we are at the moment. In order to responsibly take in and digest or pass on by what someone tells us, we ought to pay attention. We have to pay attention on behalf of ourselves. Don’t give up your own authority to someone you think is wiser or more experienced just because they seem wiser or more experienced, or just because they have wisdom or experience in an area that you don’t. Don’t walk off a cliff after them. Pay attention to what you know too, not only what they seem to know. Ask questions but be willing to ponder the answers; take in information but be willing to reinterpret it if necessary; look for answers to your questions, but be willing to get the answers in unexpected places or ways, or one small slice at a time, or all by yourself. Don’t give up your own authority. Don’t give up your power to me or anyone else.
She said authoritatively – ha!
Some young soldiers that I know are a constant inspiration to me. When they want to know how to do something, they ask someone how it’s done. They take a shot at doing it themselves, think about it a little, then they ask more questions.
They don’t need to be proficient the first time, and they don’t expect someone to give them all the answers. They’ll try it on their own and see if they can figure some things out without help. If someone gives them bad or useless advice, they don’t get angry or treat that person disrespectfully (at least to their face!), they thank them and walk away, looking for someone else who might have an insight that they can use.
They’re not looking for a guru, just a teacher. They’re not abdicating their own authority, they’re engaging the information. They’re taking it in and evaluating it, trying it out, and then either practicing it until it’s their own skill, or dropping it and moving on.
There’s nothing wrong with asking what others think, what they know, or looking for inspiration or insight in others’ words and ideas, or in books, nature, music, wherever … there are lovely ah-ha moments available there. We often learn and grow through interaction with others. But learning does not mean a flat out submission. Real learning requires engagement – an interaction between what you already know and the new information.
My advice: Don’t give up your authority over your own spiritual life. Take responsibility for shaping it. Shape it consciously and with attention and respect for yourself. It’s your journey: no one else can say what the best route or the best speed is for you. Only you know that. Only you.
4 thoughts on “Who’s in Charge: Application of Responsibility”
Natalie, this is a beautifully written, well-spoken article on self-authority. One of the thoughts I have used for those who don’t agree with a reading I do or attempt to follow it to the letter is to ask them to remove the thought from the environment of the reading, as though it were their own thought, and unfold it from there for themselves. In other words, “If you hadn’t had a reading, you simply had this thought, what would it mean to you?” Eye-opening!
Oh, that’s beautiful, Toni! Graceful way of reminding people of their own power. Thanks!
Very good reminder. I want to re-read your book. It had such a positive influence for me. It was very clear in your book that you’re not trying to be anyone’s guru. And yet you really help opened my mind to wonderful things! Thx!