“Authenticity is first and foremost a matter of being attuned and responsive to the sacred within – to an instinct, an intuition, a sixth sense, a deep voiceless voice that can be “heard” even in a crowd. This inner guide may at times call us to live apart from others, but it surely summons us to follow a road less traveled; that is, it calls us to turn away from the conventional wisdom of society, those ways of thinking, believing, and behaving that go unquestioned – busy is good, more is better, success equals wealth… Authenticity often requires the courage to be different, to stand out, to be considered odd, and perhaps even a threat by those who find their identity and security in the status quo.”
Taken from the Introduction to my book In Sync with the Sacred, Out of Step with the World, the above quote challenges us to heed the promptings of an inner wisdom whose “voiceless voice” guides us to our Truth; that is, to the recognition of how we must live if we are to experience the likes of meaning, peace, joy, and satisfaction.
None of us are immune from the ethos that surrounds us; we are all impacted by the sometimes subtle messages that come from our families, friends, faith communities, and society in general. The “sound” of their influence can make it difficult to hear and to trust an intuitive voice, one that may be calling us to take a “road less traveled.” Being busy may be good, but so is being quiet and reflective. More might in some cases be better, but sometimes the simplicity of having less is more. Success is most often equated with the accumulation of wealth, but doing what is meaningful may lead to a richness that money can never buy.
Encouragement to follow the dictates of an inner wisdom is found in every spiritual tradition; they all invite us to live in contradiction (against the word) to the culture of conformity. That culture, with its emphasis on affluence, appearance, and accomplishment, is not necessarily flawed, but because we are spiritual beings, its material focus can never satisfy our deepest longings.
It is nothing short of prophetic to be true to the Truth within, for doing so puts us at odds with most others. But by heeding the “voiceless voice” we find ourselves in the good company of people like bird biographer John James Audubon who opined that, when the bird (inner wisdom) and the book (conventional wisdom) disagree, always believe the bird!