What is REAL?
"You can just tell when someone is REAL." This is a statement a great man told me once and I always go back to it. It explains a lot. And the cool thing is that it transcends time, generations, nationalities, family history, income level, etc. It doesn't seem like it should take much to be real and it is something that you cannot necessarily strive for. You just are. But the key is: you cannot try. And that is where most of us go wrong. We try too hard to be something. Something someone expects us to be. Something we read or watched that everyone is doing or that has been said to improve our lives.
The biggest barrier I think we face is the ability to let go. To stop trying so hard. To let our natural strengths show through. To know the things to work on and to know the things to let go of. To be. To be real. It might take a long time. And it might hurt. Because of that, most people won't do it. Our culture is one of instant gratification. If it requires too much work it won't happen. There is our answer. You can tell when someone is REAL, because perhaps, not enough people are.
Does it hurt? Of course, but like the Skin Horse said, "if you are real, you don't mind." It hurts because you are willing to put yourself out there and experience things. The more you experience, the more likely you are to encounter both the good and the bad. It is awesome to be real, to experience things, to live fully. But it is also painful to get hurt. What we find however, is that when we get hurt, we have something to get back up from, or some new experience gained. And because of this, not because we are willing to deal with stressful situations, but because we have the skills to deal with stressful situations, we become even more REAL. Here is another key found in REAL people - the ability to cope with stress. No matter what, we all encounter stressful situations. How we deal with them is what differentiates us. Get your mind right! One method to have the ability to live in a heightened state of conscientiousness is meditation.
"Meditation is perhaps the most important habit if you want to change other habits.
When we are unaware of our thoughts and urges, which arise in the back of our mind mostly unnoticed, they have a power over us. We are unable to change if these unbidden thoughts control us. But when we learn to observe them, we can then release their power over us.
Meditation is practice for observing those thoughts, for being more mindful of them throughout the day." ~Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
With intuition (the mind in a clear state, usually attained through mindfulness and meditation) and deep "passion" (the open heart) also come pain. Because feelings are so raw and on the surface ( it is the way of life in a connected and intuitive state - a REAL person) there is also greater opportunity for pain. Because you can feel so deeply and are in tune to the energies and vibrations around you, you are susceptible to the experience of joys and sorrows created.
To be REAL means to love, knowing it might sometimes hurt. Live from your heart! The capacity of the human heart is humbling. With our enormous capacity to love also comes a depth of feelings so vast that the emotions created can be hard to bear and even painful. Yet, without sorrow there can be no joy. And our happiness exists because sadness was once present. Many people go through life without much contemplation and even become numb, forgetful of the human experience. Until a human experience reminds us. It can be as simple as a kind gesture from a stranger or the occasional reminder from a friend. Or it can be life- changing. The interesting thing is that it is always tied to our relationships. We are not made to go through life alone, and so we have relationships of all types.
"We are most alive when we are conscious of our treasures" ~Thornton Wilder
A friend and one of our Energy Lab family recently said to me, "this is where I am meant to be". He knew with complete conviction and regardless of the feelings that would be involved that nothing could keep him from that place. And to be honest, he is in a painful place. He is waiting by his daughter's hospital bed to see if she will get the life back she once lived. To feel that strongly and for it to resonate so deeply is both an expression of passion and fear. But not the fear that makes one afraid, the fear of the edge where you are both vulnerable and invincible at the same time.
"I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul." ~William Ernest Henley
We are the captains of our souls, we can weather any storm. A REAL person knows that. Fear and strength will see us through. The happiness is along the way, even though it may not always be on the surface. When I visited our friend whose daughter is in the hospital, there was a sense of peace. A calm within the storm. They are living in the storm, but they are definitely in touch with their souls and that alone means they are the masters of their fate. It is not about "what happened to them", there is no blame. But it is about how they cope with what happened to them. They are doing it so gracefully, with a beautiful sense of joy and gratitude that it is humbling. That is REAL and it is not something that we can say we want to have and go out and get it. But it is a lifetime of living knowing the value of a healthy mind, an open heart, a deep faith, and a strong spirit. It is, when I think about it~ YOU. The person reading this ~YOU. The family we have at The Energy Lab who recognize something deeper and are not looking for the quick, superficial fix - because that is not real. And YOU are.