Image of a beautiful fog covered landscape at dawn.

Shambhala Life Skills: Self-Direction

Originally the word "health" meant "whole" or "undivided." However, today the word "health" has come to mean something quite different. Today, it is more likely to mean free from illness or able to pursue your daily activities.

Shambhala Black Belt Life-Skills bring us back to the original meaning of the word "health" by recognizing the interconnectedness of the mind, the body and the spirit. Shambhala Black Belt Life-Skills unify and strengthen the bond between the mind and the body, resulting in a powerful spirit that becomes your guiding Life-force.

Shambhala Black Belt Life-Skill Number Ten Self-Direction

The Shambhala Life-Skill of SELF-DIRECTION puts us in charge of our own Integrity and the quality of our lives. It enables us to wean ourselves away from blind reliance on programmed behavior and other people for our life-direction.

Shambhala Black Belts do not allow themselves to be intimidated by the conventional "shoulds" and "oughts." Social platitudes like, "You should not eat red meat." and "You ought to get at least eight hours sleep." are not assumed to be accurate just because they are repeated frequently. Shambhala Black Belts use the Life-Skill of SELF-DIRECTION to closely evaluate all "shoulds" and "oughts" on a case-by-case basis knowing they must assess their own individually unique needs. Nor do SELF-DIRECTIONED individuals place themselves in a position to be coerced and directed by others.

The Shambhala Life-Skill of SELF-DIRECTION strengthens your courage to experiment, to change, to stand alone, to dare to be different. It gives you the ability to let go, if only for a moment, of the tried and true, of the expected and of the security that comes from the familiar.

The Life-Skill of SELF-DIRECTION does not encourage you to be different out of defiance. It does not foster change for the sake of change. Instead, the Life-Skill of SELF-DIRECTION gives you the strength to dare to be who you are. SELF-DIRECTION gives you permission to become what you are meant to be. It allows you to opt for change when change will increase your Integrity and enrich your quality of Life.

Most importantly, the Life Skill of SELF-DIRECTION helps you recognize that the anxiety (adrenalized response) you feel when you contemplate leaving the familiar to step into the unknown is merely your self-system preparing itself to be alert, conscious, and ready to help you make high Integrity decisions. This Shambhala Life-Skill enables you to know that this preparatory trepidation is not a sign of impending doom telling you to "go back," "you can't handle it," "you'll fail," "don't risk it," "play it safe."

On the contrary, the anxious feelings which accompany SELF-DIRECTION let you know you are approaching the unknown and that your self-systems will be with you every step of the way to put into use all the Life-Skills you have been practicing. The preparatory trepidation which goes hand-in-hand with this Life-Skill urges you to hold the tension between the known and the unknown long enough for your self-systems to gather all the information needed for you to make your own high Integrity, life-enriching decisions.

The Shambhala Life-Skill of SELF-DIRECTION is the coordinator. It calls into play all the other Life-Skills at the right moment so you can create your own unique life. This particular Life-Skill enables you to know what other Shambhala Life-Skills to use, and how and when to use them. It tells you what Life-Skills will enhance the directions you are just beginning to take.

Because these directions that they are taking are perpetually changing, Shambhala Black Belts do not know in advance where their lives are going, for their lives are also continually evolving. This evolution is seldom in any predictable direction. It is the result of a constant and dynamic interplay between the environmental possibilities and their skills of SELF-DIRECTION. Shambhala Black Belts develop a high tolerance for the unknown. They do not know if they will choose to marry, choose to parent, go to college, finish college, take a full-time job, live in a certain place and/or stay with a certain person forever. They are able to consciously over-ride their socially acquired beliefs and behavior. Consequently, their life-decisions always take them in unique and personally fulfilling directions.

Music and Lyrics Copyright © 2011 Forerunner Publications