Alan Davidson – founder of ThroughYourBody.com and the author of the best-selling and award winning Body Brilliance: Mastering Your Five Vital Intelligences.
In a world focused on outer authority and external validation it’s easy to lose track of that quiet still voice of wisdom, your own inner guidance.
This article is for you if you are a lover of truth, a wisdom warrior, a maestro of stillness, and/or a bodhisattva for compassion.
How to Be Your Own Guru –
Alexandria was the Pearl of the Mediterranean. Demetrios was the most trusted pearl merchant in that ancient port. He relied on the Persians for his trade, their caravans crossing the scorching Arabian deserts. The caravans, with their barking dogs, brought to him the finest pearls in the world from the far eastern Arabian Gulf. The diving fisherman who hugged the merciless coasts of the desert dived as many as 40 meters deep to harvest the oysters and their precious crop of pearls.
Just as the goldsmith is skilled at finding the purest quality of gold through rubbing, burning, and testing; Demetrios was quite was wise and fair and skilled at testing pricing the pearls that came his way. He was a merchant, trained over many years to know the beautiful, fine qualities and variety of pearls.
He knew all the tests for the rarest of pearls; rubbing two pearls together to test their friction, the subtle density for the rarest pearls; the tooth test for judging the grittiest, and best pearls, and bouncing light for testing their luminous overtone.
Demetrios loved the beauty of his pearls, the journey from a grain of sand created by agitation and irritation and a polishing process to become a “translucent light,” a “seed of light,” a “holy touch of the divine ocean.”
Often he would walk to the center of the city to Alexandria’s grand Library and listen on the steps to the teachers and preachers speaking to the crowds. Philosophers from Athens and Rome, High Priests from nearby Memphis, and the saints and sages from distant India all converged on the steps to share their wisdom and insights on the meaning of this life and our universe. Inspired by the stories of –life-after-life from the near-naked sadhus, the pearl to Demetrios was the perfect symbol for the “light of the soul,” the spiritual journey every man takes until the seeker and the Beloved, blissfully become One.
One summer day, a caravan master, weary from months on the Silk Road, summoned Demetrios to his tent. Inside, wrapped in fine silks, was a Black Pearl, the color of which he had never seen. The master assured him it had come from an island with black sands on the far-eastern tip of the South China Sea, much farther still from the capital city of Peking.
Demetrios ran his battery of tests, with each success falling deeper under the spell of the extraordinary Black Pearl. He had, indeed finally found his translucent light of the soul; his pearl of great price; the pearl of infinite oneness.
The caravan master asked an unholy amount for the rare pearl. Demetrios would have to sell everything he owned to buy the Black Pearl. After fever-dream days of longing for the Black Pearl’s beauty and understanding it’s deep symbolism of enlightenment…Demetrious decided he could not live with-out it. He systematically sold off all his other pearls, his property, his slaves, and all his belongings to possess the Black Pearl…
Demetrios then retreated to a near-by sanctuary of holy men to meditate on his pearl of great price, the most exquisite thing he had ever seen in the created world, and the image of God’s Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
Demetrios’ story is, of course, a retelling of the Jesus parable; suggesting that there is no price too high to enter the kingdom of heaven. In more modern terms, for the spiritual traveler, the Kingdom of Heaven is God Consciousness. In order to reach this goal, each seeker must give-up all their attachments, thoughts and desires; surrendering their personality, their very life to the Divine.
The Three Steps to Embody Your Spiritual Authority:
1) Look Inward:
The crux of the story is Demetrios’ “wise choice” to give up everything he owns to possess the Black Pearl…aka, the Kingdom of Heaven. We call this quality discernment. The ability to make wise choices; to see the options ahead of you and the consequences of each choice is true discernment. We must unplug from the external world and look inward to discern the truth.
Let me take a radical leap here and jump from Jesus to Madonna, and no I don’t mean his mother…Madonna, Mother of God. I mean the pop star Madonna.
In her own way Madonna is living the journey of the black Pearl. She’s gone from Madonna, the Material Girl with her riffs on Marilyn Monroe and “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”…i.e. looking outside of herself for love, safety, success and satisfaction. Her journey now traverses the Madonna of “Ray of Light,” the Madonna focused on yoga and the mystical Kabbalah…i.e. looking inward for the answers to all things.
It is a trend I see happening all around me…many entrepreneurs and internet marketers have made millions of dollars, lost millions of those dollars, and made millions more. Only to finally realize that there is more to life than money, success, and “outward validations.” Now I see a real shift to inner validation, to personal and spiritual authority.
Money may come and go, but well earned spiritual authority, the refining and polishing of the personality so that it serves the Soul, will never leave you. That is the inner truth that both our pearl merchant Demetrios and the Lady Madonna found for themselves.
2) Listen Deep:
The simplest way to do that is to listen deeply, and then strategically act on its guidance.
We each have an inner voice of wisdom that KNOWS our soul purpose; that knows our universal highest good; that knows our inner-most values; that knows our core strengths; and our life passions. This is the essence of one of your Five Vital IQs, the key to your Moral Intelligence.
Our inner voice of wisdom is an essential part of us that is constantly re-calibrating and re-balancing our lives so that every moment is a gift, an opportunity for growth and healing.
When we learn to cultivate that inner voice of wisdom, we practice discernment by turning inward. We decide for ourselves our very own wisest choice in the moment.
After riffing on a number of chapters on the qualities of the Tao (and the mysteries of the universe), Lao Tzu asks, “How do I know this is true? I looked inside myself.” The deepest meaning of Pearl of Great Price is the knowing truth that nothing else matters. All of our daily needs fall away when we turn our attention to embodying our True Selves, the essential truth of who we are.
3) Act Wisely:
The more I can listen deeply, then act on the wisdom found there – the voice deepens, becomes louder. It’s like flexing and building a muscle. In my experience that inner voice of wisdom has never steered me wrong. I might have stumbled a time or two or three as I learned to listen better, but every choice I’ve made listening to my inner wisdom has served my own spiritual flowering. AND it invites me to embody my own spiritual authority; to trust, to know, to live my truth as it is revealed in the moment.
When we tune out the din on all the external demands for our attention, we rise above the our fears, our defenses, our programming to turn our tremendous energy to serve our soul, our destiny; and ultimately our joy, our happiness, and our essential purpose for choosing this life.
The more I embody my own inner wisdom, the more unshakable trust I have in my True Self. The easier it is to make the “hard” decisions in my life. And the grander the adventure my life becomes…not to mention the spectacular people, also anchored in their own personal and spiritual authority I attract to me. So whether I am the merchant trading everything I own for the pearl of great price, or I am the Madonna singing through “the ray of light,” it is my own discernment, my own inner wisdom, my own spiritual authority that guides me to greater and greater depths of grace. I’m happy with either…and with both.