Are You True to Yourself? – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings

Question:

Are You True to Yourself or Are You Living According to Other People’s Expectations?

Response:

What is this “yourself” that you should be true to? Isn’t it an amalgamation of your upbringing, influences of friends (and enemies), etc all merged into a slippery and ever changing self image?

Don’t you wear clothing because of what society deems as acceptable? You eat food as its been prepared for you? Don’t you respond to your environment in ways that millennia of evolutionary adaptation has prepared you to? Do you not speak a language that existed before you were born and will exist after you die? Aren’t your thoughts conditioned by the structure and content of that language?

If you were to live true in some way, wouldn’t it be authentically, naturally, in a way that is safe, and makes contentment available to you? Looking to your personal preferences for guidance seems myopic. Living to someone else’s expectations is barren and inauthentic.
The question offers a false choice, either of which limits the benefit to the chooser.

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Modern Koans is an ongoing series that recognizes that good questions are often more important than their answers.

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man. ― G.K. Chesterton

Dialectic Two Step, Modern Koans, Verse Us, Say What?, and Minute Meditations all copyright Andrew Furst

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Andrew Furst

Author of two books, Poet, Meditation Teacher, Buddhist blogger, backup guitarist for his teenage boys, lucky husband and technologist
Andrew Furst
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