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Experts have their place — but ultimately you’re responsible

bloghummingbirdOkay, so here's what happened. I went into my coffee shop and ordered my coffee. "Did you do anything interesting on the weekend?" the barista, the friendliest guy on the planet, asked me.

I paused a moment. "Yes I did," I replied. "I saw a really great movie. It was so much fun -- haven't laughed so much for a long time."

He wanted to know what the movie was, and I told him, "The Proposal."

His ears perked up. "I thought that wasn't very good," he said, "That’s what the reviews said."

"I know," I said. "I thought I'd give it a try anyway. I find that sometimes reviewers just don't see a movie the same way I do." The fact is, not only were JoAnn and I laughing all the way through the movie, but it also had a very sweet and touching, genuine quality to it. Endearing. "That's how it should be when you see a movie," I said to JoAnn later. "It leaves you feeling happy and uplifted."

Let's move on to yesterday. I'm in the gym working on my back muscles when my friend Jack, the lawyer, asks, "Did you do anything fun over the weekend?" I tell him I saw The Proposal, and of course he says he had thought about going but was put off by the negative reviews.

So I give him the same positive feedback I had given Shawn at the coffee shop. "Good, I'll go and see it," says Jack. "Mind you, don't give me a hard time if you don't like it," I say. "I'll ask for my money back," he grins, as he goes to work again on his bench press.

We need experts, of course. How could we make it through without them? But let us not allow experts to take over responsibility for our lives. Let us be true always to the eternal principle expressed so beautifully by William Shakespeare: "This above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

I've thought about this many times in relationship to my own health. It's wonderful that there are capable doctors and healers out there. My own doctor is a gem of a man. But there is a delicate line somewhere which, though it may be a little hard to discern at times, I know I must always respect.

Somewhere along the way there is only one person who really knows what should be done, or not done, and it is not an external source or authority of any kind -- it is my own intrinsic wisdom, the wisdom of my own eternal truth, my own eternal essence.

Of course, experts can take many forms. Parents sometimes play the role of an expert, and goodness knows none of us would be here if it were not for the care and love our parents provided us back along the way. But in the matter of relating to my own son, I find it works much better when I abandon the façade of the expert -- and relate to him simply as myself.

The truth is we all have an authority and wisdom that is natural and proper to us -- an authentic wisdom, an authentic authority. We do not need to try to make ourselves be more than we truly are, neither do we need to be overly impressed by the authority and credentials of other people.

Chances are we have hardly touched the surface of the proud, limitless wisdom and understanding available to each one of us from within ourselves.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Everything Counts July 25, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Really great post. I quite like the thought and appreciate it. Very inspirational and motivating. Thanks for such great post.

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