Authenticity is a word that you hear flying around spiritual communities and self help gatherings and psychology offices all the time. I myself am leading an authenticity movement. But what does authenticity really mean?
Something that is authentic is not copied. It is genuine and it is real and it is true. As authenticity applies to a human being, we must swallow the reality that each and every person comes into this life as a unique expression of source consciousness. This means each person comes in with a unique essence, like an energetic signature and our unique purpose and unique thoughts and unique feelings and unique desires and unique needs and unique role within the greater universe is embedded in that essence.
Our life experience is a process of unfolding. You could picture that essence as a unique pearl that is contained inside of a lotus flower that is tightly closed. In a perfect world that lotus blossom would bloom naturally to reveal the pearl within to the world. The parenting and socialization process would be a process of enabling a child to unfold in that way. If we did not interfere with this process and simply met the unique needs of the unique child in front of us, it would naturally happen this way. But this is not the world that we live in. We live in a world where the process of socialization and therefore parenting, is quite often an impediment to this process of unfolding.
When we come into the world the people around us do not look at us like gifts to nurture so we can unfold so they can see the unique pearl within us. The people around us look at us as if we are a raw substance to mold into what they think is best for us and for them. They tell us that certain things are acceptable and if we are those things, we will be loved and safe. They tell us that certain things are unacceptable and if we are those things, we will be rejected and unsafe. Anything that remotely resembles something that will meet with disapproval is then something that we feel vulnerable about. And we begin a process of splitting ourselves. We put forward only the things about us that make us loved and safe in the world. The rest, we keep hidden. It is as if we will not let certain lotus petals open and therefore keep the pearl hidden so as to fit into the world, be loved and feel safe.
This means that our personalities are in essence, fake. Our personalities are merely the parts of us that we identified with or developed so as to stay safe and away from vulnerability in the very specific situations that we were raised in. We suppress, reject, deny and disown the aspects that make us vulnerable or get us disapproved of in the world. By doing this, they become subconscious. They are buried outside of our awareness and we don’t know they even exist. To understand more about this process, I encourage you to watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease.
We can only be authentic to the degree that we currently know ourselves. Better said, we can only be authentic to the degree that we are currently aware of ourselves. And because so much of us is denied, rejected, disowned and suppressed into the subconscious, we are not aware of very much of ourselves. We are copies of other people. We are not genuine. We are not real and we do not reflect what is true at our core. Our commitment to unfolding usually ends up being something that we have to take charge of and allow to happen in spite of the world. We end up having to sort through illusion to find what is real about us.
The process of becoming authentic, which is finding your essence again and allowing that to be shared with the world is no different that the process of awakening. And so, for the sake of awakening, I will give you some tips about how to be authentic.
The simplest way to understand authenticity (beyond it being an uncovering of your personal essence) is that authenticity is the conscious mending of the incongruences between one’s inner self and outer self. Authenticity is when your inside matches your outside. You have most likely heard the term “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. This is an example of inauthenticity. The wolf is not a sheep; he is showing a sheep to the outside when inside he is a wolf. It would be no better if a sheep was in wolfs clothing. There are all kinds of incongruences between one’s inner self and outer self. When a person is working at a job they hate, this is inauthentic because their outer work does not match their inner desires for work. When a person says they like someone or acts as if they do, when the truth is they hate them and want to be nowhere near them, this is inauthentic. When a person says they are not artistic, because they suppressed that inside themselves long ago, this is not authentic. When a person denied how they feel because they have learned certain feelings are not acceptable, this is not authentic. When we care so much about seeing ourselves as good that we cannot admit to aspects within us that wouldn’t be seen as good, we are inauthentic. When we have two Facebook accounts, one for the people we know from work and family and one for the things we are actually interested in that they would negatively judge us for, we are inauthentic. When we are gay but we pretend to be straight, we are being inauthentic. To be honest, our entire society today is based on pretenses. But the time has come for this to end. It is one of the greatest barriers to awakening. So the question to live by is: Is there any incongruence between by outer self and inner self?
It is a far bigger deal to not even realize or admit to yourself that an incongruence exists between your inner self and outer self and that therefore you are being inauthentic than it is to consciously choose to be inauthentic. In an ideal world, we could all be transparent, honest and authentic 24 hours a day. This is the world I want to create. But it is not the reality of the world we currently live in. For some of you, there may be times that call for you to be consciously inauthentic. These scenarios, which force us to question our own potentially limited perspective and also consult our own conscience, are a dramatic call for us to awaken. But proceed into authenticity knowing that becoming authentic is much more about becoming aware of what is REAL and from there, you get to consciously choose how to share that realness with the world and even what part of it to share according to your own continually evolving and expanding perspective. The most dangerous adversary to authenticity is not pretending. It is denial. For this reason, I want you to watch my video titled: How to Call Bulls#!t on Denial.
Be willing to look bad to yourself and others. Or at least be willing to confront the incredible terror you have of doing this. We spend our whole lives trying to avoid shame. Shame is the number one enemy to the human ego. But this means that we are constantly avoiding anything that is real about us that could possibly make us look bad to ourselves or bad to others. So we are never actually able to face and work with what is real about us. Most often, we only stop this when we are in so much pain as a result of being inauthentic that we can’t be inauthentic any longer and so we are willing to deal with the negative consequences of our authenticity.
I’m asking you to make this leap before you get pushed up against a wall like that. Accept what is real about yourself, regardless of whether you judge it as bad or good. To a certain degree all people wrestle with what is. We have an intolerance for things the way they are and so we want to change it. We fight what is as if our survival depends on it. Acceptance is the opposite of denial and avoidance. What does it mean to accept something? To accept is to recognize something as valid or correct. Doing this makes your being consent to receiving it and digesting it as truth instead of fighting to not acknowledge it and not take it in. Acceptance has nothing to do with condoning something or condemning something. It has nothing to do with whether you want to change something or not. It is simply about being able to acknowledge something as valid enough to let that acknowledgement in instead of fight to keep it out.
The heart of being authentic is being vulnerable. The reason we aren’t authentic is because we are afraid of what will happen if we are. We are afraid that we will be rejected, unloved, not received because we have been taught either intentionally or unintentionally that we will be. Many people think they are being authentic when they aren’t because they are only exposing part of what is true. Here is an example of what I mean: You could think it’s authentic to express “you know what, you’re just too self centered to pay attention to anyone except yourself and where you want to go.” But this is actually just defense. And it only represents our anger, when that is a small fraction of what is real. Being authentic might look something more like this… “That was really scary, it made me feel like I was invisible and didn’t matter.” One of the best ways to figure out how to express authentically is to ask yourself, what is the opposite of being defensive in this scenario? Whatever you are trying to defend is in fact the vulnerability that you need to be authentic about. Relative to authenticity, expression is about telling the whole truth, not just parts of it. And that includes a whole range of emotions. For this reason, I want you to watch my video titled: How To Express Your Emotion.
The root of authenticity is knowing how you feel and admitting it to yourself and subsequently others. Your emotions are like a compass. A compass that is bringing you straight to awareness. In the same way that a compass tells you where you are located in space and what direction to go, your emotions tell you what vibration you are currently holding and what direction to go to improve that personal frequency so that the circumstances of your outer life are in alignment with your essence. Your emotions are also the doorway to discovering the subconscious limitations you have which are preventing your authenticity. We do not collectively understand what emotions are and what purpose they serve. We are essentially living in an emotional dark age. For this reason, I want you to watch my videos titled: How To Feel and The Emotional Wake Up Call.
Become aware of your thoughts and beliefs and question them. Our thoughts and beliefs can either be true to our essence or they can be the very thing that is preventing the un-covery of our essence. The reality of me is that I may be thinking a thought like “no one will ever love me”. That thought may be preventing me from uncovering my essence. The thought itself may be an illusion, but it is still real because I am really thinking it. And I can only question it and discover that it is an illusion if I can admit that it is there. I can only change a core belief once I know that it is there. I want you to become conscious of the fact that truth and illusion are both part of what is real.
- Most of us do not see ourselves objectively. We are not aware of our actual actions. We aren’t aware of whether our inner world matches our outer world because we are inside ourselves. We are looking through the telescope of our own perspective. We watch other people, but not ourselves. Get into the habit of ‘objective viewing’. This can be done easily in meditation where you imagine stepping outside your body and watching yourself from bird’s eye view. Watch as if you are literally a bird who has no attachment to the human (you) it is watching. The human (you) is just a thing in the world that it is observing. Re-witness arguments you’ve had from this perspective, what you did over the course of an entire day, watch yourself in the shower, watch yourself at work, watch yourself making love. The sky is the limit for situations you can watch yourself in. Just notice what you see. If you really want to be committed to seeing yourself objectively, film yourself. But notice the tightness in your body when you know someone is or could be watching you. Notice when you alter your behavior or tailor your response to what you know will be approved of when you are being filmed. We always see the truth of the discrepancy between our inner and outer world when we don’t know we are being filmed.
You can only work with something that is real. Unless you know and admit to what you really think, really feel, really want, really need and actually do, you are working with illusion and you are not going to get anywhere. It is like building a castle on thin air. It will crumble. Anything in life can either be true to our unique essence or the very thing that is preventing us from uncovering that unique essence. Literally anything you do that makes you more self-aware is a step in the direction of authenticity.
Authenticity is the highest state of being that one can achieve. In the years to come, authenticity will become the replacement for enlightenment as the true goal of spiritual practice and more than that, the true goal of life itself. And as such, our society will be an expression of our collective human essence instead of the very thing that molds it, corrupts it, keeps it hidden and shuts it up.