Monks, be islands unto yourselves, be your own refuge, having no other; let the Dhamma be an island and a refuge to you, having no other. ~ Attadiipaa Sutta
This is a profound statement of autonomy. Autonomy is the ability to operate with freedom from our beliefs and conditioning. When we’re autonomous, we are fully collected in clear awareness. Our consciousness is not scattered. Here are some beliefs, thoughts and habits the lead us to become scattered:
- Clinging to the past
- Worrying about the future
- Trying to control that over which we have no control
- Believing we need something or someone to feel happy or complete
- Judgments we have about ourselves and others
- Resistance to the way things are
- Dependence on others’ approval
By exercising a calm mindfulness to consistently clear these beliefs, thoughts and habits we will find our autonomy. When we decide to always accept what is, we develop a sense of self sufficiency, contentedness and calm.
When we are autonomous, we have the clarity to make wise decisions and the energy to accomplish great things. Autonomy is the confidence to stand on our own two feet. It means accepting and being comfortable with ourselves on all levels.
Our communication in relationships tends to challenge our autonomy. Therefore we can develop a great level of autonomy when we attentively choose to communicate as a person who doesn’t need something. This will allow us to be open, vulnerable, calm and contented in our communication.