How much do we seek approval from things outside of ourselves? Comparing the physical body to the ones we see in films, magazines and advertising. Measuring our own happiness against the happiness we perceive others to have. Wondering if our lives are as good as the snap-shots we see of other people’s lives.
Many of us have lost the ability to find stability within our own skin and bones; to know we’re ok without anyone telling us we’re ‘good enough’; to be content even when life doesn’t look like an Instagram-filtered photograph….
Allowing other things to have authority over whether we feel safe, content, comfortable and confident to just be is one of the biggest causes of suffering, frustration and anxiety. When we give more importance to how others perceive us than how we truly know we are, and attempt to live up to how we think we ‘should’ be, we abandon ourselves in favour of something that is unnatural and ultimately unsustainable.
Inner strength, and the ability to Be Your Own Authority can bring about profound changes in the way we feel within ourselves and conduct life outside ourselves. Simply knowing (or remembering) that actually, we are the ones living this life – no one else; we have to live with the consequences of our actions, and we have to carry this body and mind around, we would perhaps spend more time nourishing and enjoying ourselves and our lives than comparing them.
Living a lie is tiring and draining. It literally depletes our physical and emotional vibrancy and prevents us from making true and lasting connections with others (after all, if you don’t know who you are, how will anyone else?) We do not do ourselves or anyone else a favour by trying to be something we’re not, and we only fully serve ourselves and the world around us when we are fully, deeply and honestly ourselves; when we bring everything to the table and leave nothing behind.
The qualities each of us presents are there for a reason, and each of them allow us to create a diverse and exciting world. When we are strong, stable and trusting in ourselves, we then more naturally allow these qualities to emerge from us and into every-day interactions with others.
One of the obstacles on the Yogic path is said to be Samsaya – ‘doubt or indecision’ – which prevents us from taking steps towards what we truly feel drawn to. Several mudras are traditionally used with a meditation practice in order to focus the intention of releasing doubt and developing unshakeable faith and confidence, in particular – Vajrapradama Mudra.
The word vajra means ‘thunderbolt’, and in the Yogic tradition the thunderbolt is thought of as the ultimate weapon used to defeat fear, instability, doubt and weakness, representing a very deliberate focused source of power.
To practice the mudra; sit in Vajrasana (thunderbolt pose) if possible – otherwise sit in another comfortable seated position – interlace the fingers with the thumbs spread wide, and place the hands over the chest and heart area. Breathe deeply and rhythmically, silently repeating the mantra or phrase “I am my own authority”, believing and knowing that the only person who has the power to tell you you’re good enough is you.