Social pressure can’t get to your central core. You are free in that core even when your body is being pushed or pulled around, negative words are used, and others speak to you in demanding or demeaning tones. It’s good to believe that this place exists within you, but it’s much better to find, feel and live in that powerful place.
Let me tell you a story about a personal learning that involved going to jail for 30 days. In a court case, I refused to obey the order of a judge to pay money because I felt it was unfair, and told him that I wouldn’t pay. He threatened me with 30 days in jail if I did not pay within 45 days and I said I’d take the jail time. On the day he had said he’d put me in jail, I turned myself in. He then told me he’d give me more time to pay. I insisted that he put me in jail as he had promised. He had no choice but to do that.
In jail, I had a blast with other inmates and guards by simply treating everyone with respect. After my release, the judge started up again. I told him he could put me in jail again, I would enjoy myself again, and that it would cost the government a bundle of dollars again to keep and feed me there for a month. At that point, he became reasonable and stopped bullying me.
Eventually, all the issues of the case were resolved but it was in accordance with my sense of integrity. What did I learn from this experience? The moment you lose your fear of losing your freedom, the group loses its power over you. In other words, when you know life so deeply that you lose your fear of not belonging, you’re forever free in your life to do what needs to be done.
In one way or another, your body will wear out, so be clear from your heart and in your mind what’s worth wearing yourself out for. Ask yourself, “For what purpose will I gladly use up my body?” Make it a purpose that protects and cares for life, body and planet. Or make it something else. It’s your choice. What you choose defines your quality of life.