Shambhala Life Skills: Self-Authorization
Originally the word "health" meant "whole" or "undivided." However, today the word "health" has come to mean something quite different. Today, it is more likely to mean free from illness or able to pursue your daily activities.
Shambhala Black Belt Life-Skills bring us back to the original meaning of the word "health" by recognizing the interconnectedness of the mind, the body and the spirit. Shambhala Black Belt Life-Skills unify and strengthen the bond between the mind and the body, resulting in a powerful spirit that becomes your guiding Life-force.
Shambhala Black Belt Life-Skill Number Seven Self-Authorization
Most people give little to no conscious thought to much, if any, of their behavior. Behavior is programmed in, passed down from generation to generation, based on time-tested ways of surviving. These programs evidence themselves to you as voices within your head, sometimes still referred to as your conscience. In ancient times the vital issues of everyday life changed very little. The first milleniums of human existence consisted of food-finding, shelter-making, self-protection and propagation. Because there was little or no change in their existence, people could trust the voices in their heads to point towards the best ways to secure life.
As history has progressed, rapid change has replaced a world that at one time changed little from generation to generation. Yet, some things have not changed. Parents, teachers, and other authority figures still pass down traditional ways of living. For example, you are still taught that it is important for others (even complete strangers) to think well of you. You are taught that social approval is crucial. These traditions still evidence themselves today through voices in your head. Voices that haunt you – continually warning you that others are watching and critically assessing your every move. These voices would have you believe that what others think about you directly effects your well being. The problem now is that the voices you hear are out of date and no longer appropriate for the rapidly changing times in which you are living.
Another problem is that much of your behavior is unknowingly directed by these voices. Unless you make a conscious effort to hear these culturally acquired voices and consciously evaluate whether or not they prompt behavior which strengthens your Integrity, you will unknowingly remain subject to them.
The Shambhala Life-Skill of SELF-AUTHORIZATION develops a conscious hearing of these voices and an understanding of the traditional behavior patterns they prompt. SELF-AUTHORIZATION also fosters the conscious evaluation of whether or not these programmed behaviors are still relevant and additive to your life.
In this age of rapid social and technological change, Shambhala Black Belts are able to uniquely assess the issues confronting them. They also have an enhanced ability to assess all the alternatives available to them in order to make life-enriching decisions. On the other hand, individuals who are not SELF-AUTHORIZED remain reliant on programmed behavior, which in many cases is damaging and destructive to themselves and the people they love. Individuals who are not SELF-AUTHORIZED are unable to protect their Integrity in our rapidly changing world.
Shambhala Black Belts do not randomly throw out or carelessly disregard the wisdom of past generations. They respect the hard-earned knowledge and the ways of their elders, and, at the same time, Shambhala Black Belts keep continually aware of their own changing circumstances. By being aware of both, they are able to create new patterns when traditional behavior jeopardizes their Integrity and their quality of Life.
Shambhala Black Belts do not believe that their conscious choices of behavior are necessarily better than the choices that their parents and grandparents made for themselves. Shambhala Black Belts see this conscious evaluative process as a matter of practicality. They are aware that behavior which may have ensured personal Integrity for some people at one point in time may not ensure Integrity for them now.
How can you become the source of your own authorization? Allow yourself to detach (step back) from your programmed behavior. By detaching or stepping back you will be able to hear the voices of the past prompting you to behave in a prescribed manor. By detaching or stepping back you will be able to ask yourself “What will be the course of action that will protect my Integrity today?”
Another important aspect of SELF-AUTHORIZATION is the use of a Life-Skill previously discussed – Self-Validation. Shambhala Black Belts are not dependent on external confirmation of themselves. They do not rely on the applause and approval of others to feel good about themselves. They are not dependent on the blessings of others to take action that protects their Integrity.
To guard and protect your Integrity you must create your own Self-Validation by recognizing the importance of your own personal experiences and your own individual uniqueness. If you do not value both you will be powerless to evaluate for yourself whether or not past patterns of behavior are right for you.
Courage or Self-Loyalty is also a critical aspect of Self-Authorization. As in Shakespeare's directive, "To thine own self be true." you must have a kind of staying power with your Self. You must be willing to bet on yourself and your sense of your own life experiences rather than becoming over-reliant on the opinions and personal experience of others.
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