Conformity: the ultimate self harm

In conforming and being ‘good’, we’ve ignored our heart. We’ve created the perfect conditions for collective suffering. And for waking up.

The mind says ‘do the right thing’ because then you’ll be mended, you’ll have crossed the finish line of acceptable and ‘good enough’. And we’ll have order. Without being good – certain anarchy! Chaos!

Or so it says.

But it doesn’t know the deep wisdom behind it.

The deep wisdom of the heart which does the ‘right thing’; naturally inevitably. The perfect ‘right thing’ for you. No reference to right and wrong, no consideration for ‘will this get me the kudos?’. Just doing, from love, which includes strong words, and includes powerful action. This is not about fluff. All in alignment with a deeper reality behind the scenes.

Guess which one we’re listening to most.

In our desperation to satisfy the mind’s call and be good enough we’ve created our own individual tightropes. Gradually the tightropes narrow and narrow, more and more expectations and requirements to cross the finish line in an acceptable fashion. The possibility of falling off the wrong side has become greater and greater, the fear and chatter of the mind noisier and noisier.

So we conform. We climb ladders in work and life believing that when we get to the next level there’ll be freedom, there’ll be peace of mind, we’ll have quality time with others and then we can rest, then we’ll be OK.

We fall into line. We wear the mask that the world seems to want from us. We hide our true thoughts and feelings — we’ve been told they’re not OK and that we should behave and think like ‘this’. We keep doing the job that leaves us quietly, slowly dying inside because it seems I have to because…responsibility, because…reputation, because…it’s apparently the right thing to do. We don’t even notice the dying, it’s so gradual, so subtle, so veiled by the masks that have been practiced for so long. This is just how it is.

So instead of opening things up, the higher we get up these ladders the narrower the tightropes to walk along. Now it seems the only thing we’ve gained is more people watching us. More people who will see us fall if it all goes wrong. And it might go ‘wrong’. It is entirely possible. And now the stakes have got as high as the rope we’re walking along.

The mind mis-sold us but we don’t know this yet. We assume it must be just us who doesn’t feel they’ve made it. Look, the world is pointing at what I have and what I’m doing and saying ‘they’ve made it’ and it does seem like I’m conforming to what everyone says counts as ‘made it’— so if I don’t feel it, maybe I’m not quite there, maybe I actually need to go further, earn more, work harder, exercise more. Then it will feel like it. Then the freedom, belonging and rest will be here.

But with every step. More limitation. More loneliness. More turmoil.

Now. Teetering. Every step on the narrowest wire has the possibility of bigger success and therefore, inherently, the equal possibility of bigger failure built into it. The two inextricably linked. And so the greater the possible success, the greater the possible fall.

But then the chance of a chink. A glimmer of ‘this isn’t it’ shimmers through. A voice, a book, something we’re watching, maybe even a full blown breakdown (more accurately a breakthrough).

To the world of conformity this might look like failure. It might look terrible. Proper jobs left. Mental health support brought in. Mid-life crisis bandied around. And maybe not even any of these, just a quiet, growing knowing inside. All bringing further into the light the possibility of everything ever searched for!

The glimmer that was seen was the glitch in the matrix. It was the beginning of the chance to turn around. To see that heart had been lost or, more accurately, covered over. Hidden and drowned out by the noise of the mind with its incessant ‘onwards, more, achieve, strive, stretch, not enough’. Covered by the masks of conformity.

The mind will tell you there is danger down this path. That you’ll dye your hair pink and go live in a commune, dribbling into oblivion, no longer able to function in society. Don’t worry, it’s not true. Like all good sales people it will just keep trying to draw you back into where it believes safety lies. It doesn’t know any better.

And so the more the heart is uncovered and we hear it, the more a natural spring of our us-ness appears. Led by heart with its in-built intelligence for ‘the right thing’, we are guided and drawn to the people, activities and conversations that are perfect for us.

We open, grow, uncover, connect. We find freedom, belonging and peace of mind. We rest in the comfortableness of who we are like wearing the perfect cosy jumper or well worn slippers.

And yet, this doesn’t mean we sleep in our cosy jumper on the sofa day in and day out. Contrary to that mis-selling of the mind, now we come alive. Now we can achieve more than we ever did before. But with ease and grace and genuine joy. Effort and struggle disappeared.

So conformity: the ultimate self harm — and yet also, the ultimate route to wake up, to come alive. To be the unique expression of life you were always here to be.

With love, Helen

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