Friday, December 23, 2011

The Currency of True Self


No. I’m not taking about dollars, yens, or euros (that’d be a whole different blog)... Although, I am taking about exchange and how we “buy” and “sell” and even “trade.”


In our lives, I believe we all choose our currency (few do it carefully, while most allow the culture to do the choosing for them). And with this currency, we go out into the world of relationships to buy, sell, and trade. We use our currency to gain friendships, respect, and romance. We use it to define our position and purpose. For some, their currency is wit. For others, it’s cunning. And for some, it’s intimidation. Really, the list could go on and on…

But the way our society is, it is very easy to feel that above all, beauty and material wealth are the currencies of our nation. Everywhere we look, we are bombarded with images of sensual men and overly-sexualized women, all of which are under the age of thirty. We are inundated with fantasies of affluence and power and are made to feel that those traits are our own currency, our crowning achievement, our highest calling.

If we are unthinking, it’s all too easy to allow the magazines, movies, and television to do the picking for us. The message is ubiquitous and unceasing. But what if we rejected it? What if we went about our lives with the currency we alone created for ourselves? And what if we helped others to discover their true currency as well?

To know your real currency, your true self (or as the Buddhists call it, ātman), one must truly look within their own nature. Your currency must 1) come from your natural state, 2) be timeless, and 3) be without worldly trappings.

1)    To know your natural state, one must look within themselves without the attachment of their roles and exterior definitions. Who are you, really? Not, what are you? For example I am a teacher and photographer… But who am I? I am a helper and an artist. Those traits will not change no matter my role or station in life. They are the fabric of my soul.

2)    For your currency to be timeless, it cannot rely on your age or youth. It must be a nature you possess now and forever. Beauty cannot be a true currency, as it only lasts a portion of your life. And you, my friend, were not the maker of your beauty. Your true currency must be cultivated by you. Your beauty is a blessing of good genes.

3)    True currency cannot come with exterior trappings that limit you or shape who you think you are. Your true self comes from within, and from this comes your currency for the world. A large home or a bountiful financial position is wonderful to share with others. But tomorrow a storm could come and carry it all away. Then what will your currency be?

So now, my friend, you must go about finding and defining your currency. And once you know, use them in your relationships with people, nature, and the Universe. Work to cultivate them and sharpen them. Use them in love, in pursuit, in selflessness. These currencies are your true self. It is a beautiful self, a more meaningful self.

This world is always changing, and so are you. The man or woman you see in the mirror today will not be there ten or twenty years from now. The jobs, wealth, physical characteristics, and roles you may perceive as “self” today, could be gone tomorrow. Instead of gripping onto this surface currency, learn to release it. Then go about the work of cultivating your true self, the one that is natural, timeless, and without the trappings of this exterior world.

And what’s magical, and exceedingly so, is that when you go out into this world with your real currency, your true self, you will be embraced by people just like you. You will be seen for exactly who you are, not what you are. And if you are not, be at peace; for the people who are oblivious to you, are often blinded by their own stumbling.  

May your new year be bright!

Peace and love,
The Universal Soul

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Thousand Words...

Over the past few months, I've thrown myself into my photography business and improving my craft... Here are a couple photos from the road that merge the art of photography and poetry together... Enjoy!



*All photos are property of K.A. Phinney.

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