Happy SMART Day Everyone!
Do you know whether you’re and innie or an outie? While those terms usually refer to a belly button, they apply even better when you are asking about a person’s spirituality. In other words, is your spiritual life inner-directed or outer-directed? And it doesn’t really matter what religion you practice. If you live your life based upon what others tell you to do, be, have or care about—even if that “other” is a spiritual leader of sorts—then you are outer-directed. If you instead listen to your own soul—especially in matters of the heart and spirit—then you are an innie. A huge part of living SMART 365 is learning the difference and then following the still, small voice within.
I think I first learned the difference between the two options from Deepak Chopra. In case you’ve never heard of him before, he is the best selling author, writer and speaker who also happens to be a licensed doctor. Back in the 90s, he wrote a book called “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind.” He was the first person I had ever read that made claims like, “every cell in your body is totally aware of how you think and feel about yourself,” and “you are only as old as the information that swirls through you.” He was also the first person with any authority who said, “People who age successfully…were those who ‘stayed in training’ throughout their adult lives in three major areas: physical activity, psychological and intellectual activity, and social relationships.” Plus, he was the first who used the words “self-referral”—and that of course is being an “innie.”
The opposite of this form of “innie” is an “outie” or what Deepak calls “object-referral.” He explains, “In object-referral we are always influenced by objects outside the Self, which include situations, circumstances, people, and things. In object-referral, we are constantly seeking the approval of others. Our thinking and our behavior are always in anticipation of a response. It is therefore fear-based. In object-referral, we also feel an intense need to control things. We feel an intense need for external power. The need for approval, the need to control things, and the need for external power are needs that are based on fear. “
In contrast Deepak explains that when we “…are self-referral, we identity with our inner self, the unchanging essence of our soul.” According to Deepak, the state of self-referral, “is an absence of fear, there is no compulsion to control, and no struggle for approval or external power.” Again, regardless of what spiritual tradition or religion we practice, do we listen to the world around us as an outie? Or do we listen within and follow our own guidance as an innie?
Of course, being an innie or an outie applies to just about every single aspect of our lives. It effects how and who we love, where we live, whether we experience joy and contentedness on a regular basis, whether we are active and involved, how we think about aging, whether we are optimistic or pessimistic, to even our political persuasions. Nearly every time we are affected by any choice we either listen within, or we repeat what others have told us. Much as I admire and respect Deepak Chopra for his writing and his work, I reserve the right to question what I read and hear—and we would all do well to do the same for everyone—including me!
Needless to say, it is much easier to say than to do. That’s because we are all socially conditioned to pay far more attention to, and listen to, other people and the world around us—than we are to our “higher power.” In fact, the more you feel that your world is in the hands of the government, your spouse, your kids, your employer, your neighbor or even the tax man—the more your life will feel like a roller-coaster, making you feel insecure, worried and out of control. On the flip side, the more you become inner-directed, the less the circumstances and people around you will determine your happiness.
What can you do to become more of an innie? The one simple (but not easy) solution is to meditate. Again, regardless of your religion, meditation is the act of “listening” to Spirit—not petitioning or telling it what to do. That means in contrast to the way most people pray, meditation is spending time in the “still, quiet place within.” The more you do that, the more your inner life will grow and the less the outer world will dominate. Again, it’s very simple, but not easy.
While I’ve consistently prayed throughout my lifetime in one fashion or another, meditation used to be only an occasional practice. Then about a year and a half ago, Thom and I made the commitment to sit and meditate every single day. After all this time, one particular benefit is that I now know that my inner Self is much more “real” to me than ever before. Finally when someone says to me, “You are a spiritual being having a human experience,” I really know what that means and have an awareness of the difference. I might not (yet) be a person who never cares what other people think, is completely without fear, never worries and always feels secure, but I know that I am much closer to that understanding than ever before. One day at a time, I’m becoming an innie and living my life with inner-referral. How about you?
“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” ~ Stephen R. Covey
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”~ Albert Camus
“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” ~C.S. Lewis