Personal Autonomy

One has to be a light to oneself; this light is the law. There is no other law.

~ Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1996),
Indian spiritual teacher and philosopher,
in Krishnamurti’s Journal

stand in your truth

When persons consider personal autonomy, they often think of it in terms of independence from the control of others, or personal authority over one’s decisions and life course, or being self-governing free from the meddling of others.

However for as long as they conceive of autonomy as being in opposition to another, the extraordinary freedom of autonomy will elude them.

If you are autonomous, you don’t need to rebel from the control of another. The rebel’s need to fight a person or institution implies his own enmeshment with the controller. His actions are a triggered response to the other, rather than sourced from within.

Similarly you don’t need to exert independence from the presumed authority of others. Why arouse yourself needlessly when the only authority you acknowledge is that of your very own Self?

Going through life, bouncing like a billiard ball off of this and that event and person may seem like freedom, but the freedom to be reactive is neither free nor autonomous. We’ve all met persons who were imprisoned by their reactivity.

Instead when autonomous, you make your path through life with your attention resting inwardly, listening to discern and to discriminate the inarticulate thoughts (the tones, the felt sense) of your Heart (not your emotions) and intuition. What you hear guides you like a light on your path, and you act accordingly.

With such guidance, yes, you may find yourself called to oppose injustice like Martin Luther King, Jr. Or you may be called to quiet and still yourself. Inner direction determines whatever you will do, not outer circumstance.

Whether your course is grand or mundane doesn’t matter; what matters is that it is the path revealed by your individual, unique Self as it unfolds itself through time as your life.

Some persons may value your autonomous actions as being self-directed or self-governing. Others may appreciate your actions as expressing personal authority. Certainly your actions demonstrate your capacity to choose, decide, and evaluate for yourself.

Yet for you, what others call personal autonomy is simplicity itself: the inherent joy and responsibility of actualizing your true nature by your living in accord with the Law of your Being.

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