A newborn child has no dreams, no hopes, no failures, no past experiences in particular that stand in the way of simply being himself in the moment. His desire to achieve has not yet come to focus and he knows nothing other than being who he is, where he is and how he is. He begins to interact with his world, albeit in a limited way.
Despite the fact that babies can do next to nothing but the most basic functions common to any living organism, they possess a remarkable ability to radiantly influence the world around them. They inspire intelligent and articulate adults to make silly faces and baby-like sounds. Their presence alone can cast a spell that grabs the attention and softens the gaze of even the most busy and emotionally hardened men and women.
Why is that?
For starters, babies have not yet been forced to make decisions that mute the expression of their natural radiance. Neither have they formed desires, beliefs and goals that change their basic approach to living from a radiant posture to a fundamentally absorptive one. Make no mistake: unbridled, unmitigated radiance intensifies all that it touches. It draws a line in the sand that says “I have not lost hope or my will to live, are you with me?” It reaches through the muck of your consciousness and says “I’m okay, you’re okay, you can trust in the power of life.” All that from a baby…seriously!
Contrary to popular opinion, fulfillment comes not from getting more, but from giving more. Children are typically trained by well-intentioned adults who are not clear on this point. They may profess the value and importance of charity, of sharing and of doing good to others, but look more closely at their motivations and daily decisions and you see that most people shift from being more concerned about giving to being primarily centered in getting as they age.
This is not a function of the aging process, rather, it comes as a side-effect of the reaction to the recognition of one’s mortality. When you start to recognize that you only have so long to do what you are going to do on earth, you begin to ask yourself “am I taking steps to fulfill my purpose?” Most, when confronted with this question, decide to form goals, to set a vision for what they feel their life should accomplish and then set about manipulating the world around them to accomplish they goals they’ve set for themselves. They decide, in a nutshell, that their fulfillment is dependent upon their ability to distill it from the world around them.
Despite the fact that billions have tried this approach to no avail, the new generations come and try to apply themselves even more assiduously, only to fail even more gloriously. But does trying harder to prove a flawed premise make the approach more valuable or the effort more noble? I think not.
So what then?
I am increasingly of the opinion that the basic shift from “how can I give” to “how can I get” influences the life of an individual more than any other factor. When you approach your world from the inside-out, where the radiant expression of the qualities of life that come to focus in you from moment to moment are given voice, you stop excusing yourself from giving the very best that you can give. You stop accusing others around you of standing in the way of your greatness. You no longer blame your circumstances for your failures or shortcomings. You, in short, allow the radiant influence in you to move from the inside-out, regardless of how the world is configured around you.
If, on the other hand, you choose as most do at some point in their life, to live in reaction to the world around you rather than radiantly in relation to the world around you, you make an initially conscious and and eventually unconscious resolution to give a fraction rather than the fulness of yourself. You begin to measure your radiance, giving only to those people and circumstances you have judged to be worthy of your giving, likely in exchange for some perceived benefit. You stop being who you are and start to become who you think you should be, that is, you begin to live from the outside-in, based in large measure on your reaction to the world around you.
You alone can choose which course you shall follow. Make no mistake: dreams and goals are not distractions from your true purpose unless you let them pull you around by the nose. You can have dominion over the world you center without being domineering; you can be who you are without apology, without excuse and without exception as soon as you are willing to drop all other pretense.
So let it be!
11 thoughts on “Living from the Inside Out”
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The title and picture go hand in hand. Great post!
It was good to check throughout the day “am I concerned to give or get?” and follow the potential outcome from one vs another – they are very different. Much evidence today that have the choice to be a positive influence on my world.
The original purpose of business (enterprise) was to provide something of value to the community in which it served. Of course profit was important for without it the business would not be around for very long. However, it seems that over the decades the purpose of indivudual business’ has shifted to more of a profit/what’s in it for me attitude and less of how can we be of value to the community attitude. It is no wonder that our economy and a high percentage of business’ are in deep trouble. If one major corporation, say a major bank, were to read your post of this morning Gregg, and act on it accordingly, than I would think that the ripple effect could in fact over time change our economy, and therefore our entire country, for the better.
Thanks for the sharing of what are obviously not only your thoughts but your actions with us.
The wonder of radiance is that it is an inexhaustible source. ‘Giving’ that is measured against return is bartering. It is not sourced in radiance, and therefore it depletes – just what most people fear! But genuine radiance gives of itself without effort and is not depleted in the process. It is not based in measurement of return, and its expression brings a sense of secure wealth and wellbeing. I agree with you that failure to recognize this basic reality is central to the barrenness and poverty experienced by so many, even when they may appear wealthy.
The lack of judgement in babies gives us a good look at how pure radiance looks. The power is visible and the magnetism…wow! What would the world look like if everyone decided today is the day I will think only of giving , unbridled radiance no matter what comes. I think I can’t imagine because most of “what comes” is a result of the lack of radiance in mankind. This would be a game changer on every level.
I think there are many and varied influences which in some way conspire to shape the identity into one of acquisition. These are deep seated, and are found woven into all of our external social norms and furthermore tend to be sugar-coated in a way that make the negative qualities deceptively acceptable. Not many wish to question these norms for in doing so, you run the risk of destabalizing the identity and that can produce a psychologically taxing outcome for you have to reconstruct some kind of cohesive paradigm all on your own instead of simply inheriting the one given to you from the outside which seems to be much easier.
I agree with you in the fact that if you can start from a basic premise of giving into your world, you can let everything else that follows in your decisions of living square up to that, and if something comes up that doesn’t, well you have to deal with it. You may have some tensions in the process, but ultimately you will not be torn if things are resolved correctly and you will stand whole instead of torn and fragmented. I believe there is nothing that breeds as much internal stress and tension as what naturally occurs when the various aspects of our identity are incoherent.
One last thing – this process can start anytime, and it’s ok if there has to be a time for deconstruction. It doesn’t have to be painful, because in giving there seems to be a larger matrix of support around you; you become increasingly aware that this principle attitude is shared in the great beyond somehow and the bonds you forge in your life from this point are much more real and carry much more meaning than ever before.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ricardo. Identities formed by conflicting elements are inherently unstable and the life expression of an individual thus configured carries the signature of that discomfiting mixture. Much genius is born through that aperture, and I can only imagine what it would be like were the creative impulse given a “cleaner” and less convoluted mechanism through which it could manifest.
What a terrific post, thank you. Your case for babies is true. No matter how they look or what their future will be their genuine radiance draws me right in immediately gaining my support and good will. I have thought of it as love attracts the love in others. Living from the inside out is an excellent way to convey the idea of radiant living. Living to give! I do believe that radiance is the authentic expression for all human beings.
Thanks for providing a work environment where being ourselves is not only encouraged, it is required. I appreciate working for and with you, Gregg.
It’s my pleasure and likewise!