If we are clear on our values, then we are able to use them as a source of energy and inspiration, a grounding anchor that we can always come back to.
Some of my intellectual values include courage, love, truth, harmony, honor, aesthetics, and simplicity.
When I look more deeply into my source, I find the core values of what I teach and live.
“Inquiry,” for me, is an essential curiosity about life and what it means to be human. Also how to optimize the human experience, how to most deeply partake in life, who am I? A central part of inquiry for me is when I can sit in a state of wonder about myself or the world, a state that is both “I wonder” and a sense of awe or appreciation, gratitude, “WONDER!”
-Life as Art
“Life as art” is the idea that my most important expression about what life is about is how I live it. I create, craft, express, live my life in a way that I show to myself and express what is most meaningful, beautiful, and truthful to me.
My life is like a painting or a sculpture about what is most important. Just as a painter can’t always show visually what they want to express, my life doesn’t perfectly express what is in my heart. Life is a tricky medium, but I am always working toward expressing that vision I hold inside myself.
-Happiness from the Inside Out
“Happiness from the inside out” is the quest to discover and connect with the source of happiness inside me. We have all been conditioned to look outside ourselves for the source of happiness, through relationships, food, pleasures, travel, entertainment, money, possessions, and other material and circumstantial conditions for happiness. If you have had this experience of inner happiness, you know it has a different quality, more profound, more secure. I seek and honor the inner potential for unconditional happiness, in other words, “happiness from the inside out.”
-Want for Us
“Want for us” is something I have begun to discover as I have healed myself and my internal and external needs have diminished. I find that without sacrificing anything of what I need or want, when I am with someone else or with a group of people, I can un-focus on what I want for myself and connect with what I can imagine will serve the whole.
It is the feeling of being part of something larger than myself. It is still coming from a self-serving perspective, but the identification is now with the larger whole. Then, ‘what serves the whole’ becomes the question. And sometimes (when I have met my own needs) I can identify with the highest interests of the group.
As I examine my values, I can see how they build on and support each other.
Inquiry has led me to understand some limited aspects of life and myself better each day, building a connection with the truth.
Inquiry has given me the self-awareness and the tools to begin to see life as artand express my unique aesthetics through it in a self-honoring way.
Life as art has led to an inner sense of happiness, happiness that is inherent inside of me, waiting to be expressed through action. Some would call this expression love or passion; it seems simpler to call it happiness from the inside out.
The more my happiness is secure and not conditional on my external experience, the less I feel the need to control others to manage and insure my happiness.
From having my inner needs met in this way, my focus and energy can go more to what I (we) want for us. I begin to identify myself with larger systems of people, nature and harmony, My sense of self expands, leading to experiencing and expressing more of my intellectual values that come up in the exercise, such as love, truth, harmony, honor, aesthetics, and simplicity.
What are your values? What is most important to you? How can you inquire more deeply? How is your life art? What is the source of your happiness? What do you want for “us”?