Self-actualization is one of the holy grails of personal and spiritual development. To not only know your purpose but to live it, day in and day out is something that is approached with far too much reverence. Reverence clouds our faculties, let's try something else here.
You might be familiar with Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Unless you get your basic needs out the way, so it says, you won’t be able to live yourself beyond them. Even Maslow retracted his position when clarity entered him later in his life.
I value my values, deeply: euphoria, flow, excellence, inventiveness, truth, playfulness and excellence. Yupp. My values might be different to yours, but it doesn’t take a complex navigation around the drabness of an ordinary life to live them.
To live life at your full potential, you must challenge your ideas of it. To live your values, expressed in your life, you must refine them to such an essential precision that they become context independent. To experience the immensity of peak experiences, you must know how to make way for it.
But the most important obstacle to dissolve in the way of self-actualization is the prejudice of the past. The past is like a ripple on the water surface trying to recreate itself. Ripples disappear, no matter how much energy we lend them. There is only one source of all phenomena: the fountainhead of the present.
It’s not a word, it’s not even phrase. It’s a sensation that runs so deep that words defy it. It is made of the very substance of meaning: motion. It’s a sensation, precisely because it is most powerful when it is untouched by the stale definitions of ordinary language.
When you discover your existential value, it will feel intimately familiar. It will feel like yourself, more than your name and more than anything else ever did. When your reality becomes infused with its presence, your experience becomes ripe with peak experiences.
Actualizing yourself means to learn how to forget that false idea of yourself you carry around, and identify with the fountainhead of your existential value and live from it.
Nothing is more satisfying than manifesting material evidence of this most profound sense of yourself in the world. And you can flow with its spirit and infuse your reality with it as you enrich that of others by putting your efforts into leaving its mark.
Let me warn you, however, of the bogus values and delusions that might trap you into betraying yourself. I see many people in an existential confusion of having confounded compensatory values with their existential value. The key difference is best explained by the following haiku.
Living by your values, as an end in itself, is so intrinsically rewarding that the consequences and circumstances become irrelevant, for each blood is victory. The blood of failure you might shed, and the blood of victory your might spill.
Fear, worry, and anxiety become secondary and sometimes even the very sources of energy and power that will drive you. You experience yourself as beyond the winner-loser continuum, because you cease to measure yourself by the prescribed standards of your surroundings.
Once you are so firmly set on your true essence, nothing can shake you. Compensatory values are mere means to an end. They are objectives based on present conditions and, not on the heart that beats in your chest, but the heart that beats in the chest of others.
It’s the difference of living life as wagon in the slipstream of others, or as a train driven by the passion of your own engine.
You will know if you have found it. You will know, because when you do you will develop a new view of the world. You will experience a new cut of reality: more porous, more malleable, more at your disposal, effortless and euphoric. Vying for approval and joining realities will have entirely lost its flavor.
Now, you create realities. Now, you are fearless in spite of fear. Now, you have actualized yourself as the generative source, the fountainhead of your experience.
Now, you are are beyond approval, with no authority above you other than the continuous and creative unfolding of your true self. Now, you are the ignition of reality.