As rained poured down one night on the streets of Bucharest, Romania, I stepped out of a restaurant with a dear old friend who offered me a drive home. He is a very well educated man, now in his fifties, a successful classical musician with a beautiful heart and a deep mind. Even though he had played many times in the painful symphonies of life, he managed to keep a profound kindness that still shines bright through his blue eyes.
We drove through the crowded streets of Bucharest guarded on both sides by the heavy, tall, gray Communist building and an observation cut through the darkness of the night: the bitter looks of people passing by, filled with smoldering resentment, latent anger, self-perpetual judgment, and just a few, very fragile signs of hope. “Why are people here so sad and hurt, what led to this situation?” I asked my friend, hoping he might have an answer. But I never expected his reply.
He sadly remembered that from his thirty-f9ve high school classroom mates, all except two had died due to alcoholism. “This was just a few decades ago. Once you graduated from university,” my friend continued, “the government would give you a house and a job somewhere in the country. You had no other choice. People lived in a context of fear, they couldn’t express themselves – you could easily go to jail for saying the wrong thing. They didn’t have the freedom to live the truth of who they really were, they had no freedom to be creative. For God’s sake, if you played in a band, the government controlled every lyric you wrote and would lock you up if you made the smallest mistake. You had to play by the rules or else! They lived in a social context of massive fear in which their smallest desires to be free, to be themselves and live their truth were easily punished. They had to adapt to this context in order to survive. They were just pieces of a big governmental machinery that had to work no matter what. Of course they took refuge in alcohol.”
Your own mind, a toxic friendship or a harmful family relationship can become a huge block to your freedom.
This is a powerful example of what happens to us if the freedom to be who we are, the liberty to live our truth and our creative flow are all blocked by external forces. But you don’t need to live in a social context like communism for your freedom to live your values, your unique gifts and you creativity to be suppressed. Your own mind, a faulty classroom environment, a toxic friendship or a harmful family relationship can become huge blocks to your freedom and have the same tragic effects on your life.
In today’s world, we don’t have drinking, abuse, violence or drug problems. The real problem is that we have created social contexts in which people don’t feel safe to live their truth and their authenticity, we don’t allow people the freedom to express themselves, and we deny them the right to reveal their own unique beauty. When people live a lie, they unconsciously accumulate self-anger and find ways to act out that anger in the world: drinking, violence, drugs, addictions, depression. Teenagers don’t have the inner power developed enough to fight these social forces so they just take refuge in what takes away their pain even temporarily.
If you ever felt uncomfortable, worried or afraid of being who you are, of standing up for your own passions and values, of following your dreams, you know what I am talking about. All of us have a natural gift, ideas and the creativity that we want to share with the world. You cannot stop the creative flow going through you and you can’t put a block in front of the truth.
In the lost Gospel of Thomas, Jesus taught that “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” No matter how much the social contexts oppose you (family, friends, co-workers, etc), if you live your truth, your passions and your values, you will be fine. Once you begin living a lie just to fit in, you become your worst enemy because you’re attacking yourself from the inside and don’t stand a chance. Denying the truth of who you really are, of your dreams and your passions can literally destroy you.
We punish creativity, we punish differences, we punish radical new thinking and then we wonder why we live in pain.
Crush your fears and live your way. You will find your most profound power against the flow of normality and social thinking. You are so beautiful, let the world see you. What is the truth that you have to embrace in your life right now? I would love to hear from you.
DR. DRAGOS – Internationally renowned scientist and filmmaker, director of the award winning documentary film, THE AMAZING YOU, featuring NASA legends, Rock stars, New York Times bestselling authors and the Angry Birds. Dragos spoke at conferences on five continents and his work has been translated in sixteen languages. You can follow him on Twitter or FB.
Image courtesy of Shlomit Wolf.