“If you bring forth what is within you, what you will bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
Gospel of Thomas
Remember “The Secret” craze a few years back? It was all about manifesting your heart’s desires. Unfortunately, it’s focus was all about manifesting material desires, which is no secret whatsoever; we all know how to get stuff: whine, cajole, marry well. (I’m kidding. Sort of.) But the REAL secret lies in this quote from the Gnostic Gospels. It doesn’t mince words and it lays out the true secret in two, concise sentences, neither of which, happily or unhappily, has anything to do with a Tesla. And here it is: something very powerful lives inside of you, something that holds the key to life or death. That something is Consciousness.
This ancient wisdom from the Gnostics finds a modern companion in the practice of depth psychology, which teaches that self-knowledge, or insight, is the key to consciousness (called “the Kingdom” in Christian writings). It is consciousness which contains the voice of your soul and consciousness that will give you a life worth living. The alternative, both Jesus and Freud (a most unlikely pairing) tell us, is that remaining unconscious, repressing or denying the voice, is what makes us unwell, unfulfilled, and even dangerous people.
This begs the question of just how one goes about finding one’s voice. Well, it ain’t easy. It requires a certain courage to still yourself, to poke around in the dark, to be scrupulously honest with yourself, let alone another. It requires an interest in discovering something more within you: something bigger, wilder, more alive. But for those who wish to take life in big bites, it is an indispensable, uncompromising and infinitely rewarding journey. It is integral to being a whole human being.
The more conscious you become of yourself the more you will hear your voice. It’s the one that always tells you the truth. It’s the little voice that you sometimes don’t want to hear because if you listen to it, it will cause the world as you know it to crumble. It’s the voice that says “You need to leave him,” the voice that says “I want to paint,” or “I don’t want to be a CPA, I want to be a farmer.” It’s the voice that begs you to come clean, come out of the closet, say the things that are hard to say. It’s the voice you hear before the voice that shuts it down with that terrible word: “But.” The voice of Consciousness will insist that you face your fears. It will ask you to fully embrace your quirky, authentic, vulnerable self.
Becoming conscious, waking up and finding your voice, is the basis for living a truly honest and voluptuous life. You simply can’t have a big, juicy life if your energy is all tied up in hiding, ignoring or avoiding the truth. If you want to live on the surface of things, if you prefer not to know about the inner richness that dwells within you because it’s hard and why bother, well, be my guest, but the price of such willful ignorance is not bliss. Living a little life filled with a job you don’t like, a spouse you don’t relate to, passively watching tv, schlepping the kids to practice, buying Pringles and paying the minimum on the Visa every month is far from bliss. It’s not really living. It’s just sort of…waiting. (For what you ask? See quotation, above.)
The people that leave their marks on this world are the ones that are bold enough and brave enough to search within and to express themselves authentically, from their souls. It requires boldness and bravery to go within and speak out because it’s not always a sweet, receptive world. You may be entirely misunderstood, mocked or reviled. You may even risk your life, like Joan of Arc or Martin Luther King or Jesus. Consciousness inspires not silence, but a radical call for truth and courage and love.
Your life has purpose and meaning and that purpose and meaning is within you, waiting for you to find it and bring it out. If you don’t know what your purpose is, or you think it involves the mall, I encourage you to start listening. You are unique in all the world. There is no one else on the planet that thinks or feels or has the point of view that you do. No one has to offer exactly what you bring to the table – no one. You are someone’s teacher, whether you know it or not. You are needed. And, as if I need mention it, the earth itself is calling us to wake up and save ourselves.
Turn down the noise. Listen with attention and intention, and you will create a conscious, luscious life of purpose and joy. That’s the Secret.