Your inner life is the realm of your private thoughts and values. Your emotions, fantasies, spirituality, capacity to love, desires, and sense of purpose. In other words, your inner life is who you are on the inside. It is where you deal with your emotions, your degree of self-awareness, your sense of clarity about life, and your capacity for calm. Your inner life is where any resiliency resides to handle a frenetic and demanding outer life, which makes it the key for a healthy wellbeing journey.
If the concept of your inner life is foreign or uncomfortable to think about, you have most likely sacrificed your inner self for the demands of your outer self. This is sadly the case for many people today. We’ve all watched public people who have destroyed their external lives with what is happening in their inner lives – billionaires arrested for indulging in ill-gotten gains, self-destructive celebrities overcome by their successes, political leaders whose hidden personal lives destroy their credibility. Would we really suggest that all of these extreme examples are solely victims of their environments or systemic issues? Or is there a nature that exists beneath all actions that has the ability to be stroked or flamed by the addition of corrupt external systems? What is fueling what?
There definitely are systemic issues to tackle and fight, but I believe we must individually pay attention to what lies inside as a first principle. After all, don’t all systemic issues come from the design of someone in history? Their value system was communicated externally to design something that we’re all still operating in. Outside of nature, systems don’t originate on their own.
We make decisions based on our value systems, and those value systems are built on what grows from our inner lives. What we lack inside will result in a devaluation of external life. We are constantly faced with external systems that support inequality and injustice, and these systems only justify and build upon what is already inside.
If the police officers in Minneapolis valued George Floyd’s life, they would never have knelt on him for nearly nine minutes while he begged for his life. Ask yourself whether you think they would have done the same in all other similar instances with someone from another race, sex, or class background. Whatever their value system was built on controlled their attention, connection, and action, which ended in the result of George Floyd’s death. Systemic racism has supported these actions throughout history, but I would argue it did not create the origin of the evil to allow for that result.
These experiences and deep personal realities can be isolated from the ontological designs we operate in that have been designed by someone else and, in turn, design our lives. These environments haven’t been “designed” by someone in history, they are formative environments that, once combined in an individual’s life, are completely unique to every single human experience. Each is like its own unique fingerprint. Our thoughts, feelings, memories, decisions, hopes, dreams, hurts, opinions, attitudes, sense of purpose and value all come from, as well as create, our life experience. Like a sort of a pump mechanism between our inner lives and the outside world, we absorb from our environment to either nurture or harm our inner lives, and we then push back out what has grown inside.
Everything in our outer lives flows out of our inner lives.
Peace and Love, Jim