“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” – Brené Brown
The Master was never impressed by diplomas or degrees. He scrutinised the person, not the certificate. He was once heard to say, “When you have ears to hear a bird in song, you don’t need to look at its credentials.”
The passage from Anthony De Mello’s book, One Minute Wisdom underscores the message that brilliance always seeks its own path to reveal itself.
Ask anyone, “Who are you?” and they will reel off a list of attributes relating to their occupation, education or familial status. “I am an architect, husband, father, mother, accountant, etc.” What you do in your waking hours encompasses one facet of your life. It holds significance we identify with but it doesn’t tell us who we are at a deeper level.
Take a moment to consider who you truly are, beneath the surface and irrespective of your title or status. Who is the person you call the Self? The person you identify with as “I?” A facet of your being prevails beyond the individual you recognise in the mirror or see in photographs. This Self, although having transformed its external form over the years, remains the same.
In his book The Mind-Body Code, clinical neuropsychologist Dr Mario Martinez seeks to discover the key to longevity through interviews with centenarians. Having traversed the globe to uncover the secrets to long life, the common denominator among those who live beyond 100 years is the person they call “the Self” remains much the same.
Reflect on that for a moment. The person you know as “I” remains the same throughout your life because of your self-constructed image. Whilst your external façade may change, the essence of the “Self” is unchanged.
“Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.” – Eckhart Tolle
There is an underlying quality to your existence entrusted in goodness and recognised as the authentic self. Beneath your conditioning, the authentic self emerges to reveal the core self – the spiritual part of your nature. The authentic self is the embodiment of your soul nature – the immaterial Self which exists beyond the physical space-time continuum. This Self is not bound by the demands of our collective culture to conform by way of rules and regulations. It is boundless, transcending the limitations of time owing to its essence as simple awareness.
Equally, we recognise inauthenticity in others by labelling them as “fake.” However, we are less likely to detect the same flaws in ourselves. This is because we associate with the dominant egoic self which strives to achieve more and is never fulfilled until it gets what it wants. Thus we buy into its false demands needing more to survive.
In contrast, the authentic self does not support the same needs as the ego. Through a quiet stillness, it communicates to us in silent whispers. The authentic self can be drowned out by the voice of the ego. Many people fail to merge with their deeper wisdom due to the overpowering ego which dominates their life.
The American mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” The authentic self is concealed beneath the formed image of the Self whilst serving to obscure your spiritual nature. To realise the core self requires shedding the false image of who you think you are and allowing the real self to emerge.
As we strive to assimilate within our collective society, to venture beyond the pale as Dr Martinez describes, we risk being excluded from belonging. Those who embark on a journey to realise success in the world are no longer considered part of the tribe. Our social need to identify with our tribe is an acknowledgment of our belonging.
This begs the question, how do we unite with our authentic nature, concealed under the weight of our conditioning?
To reveal your authenticity means honouring the wisdom contained within the core self. At the deepest level, the soul’s yearning to express itself through you remains vital to your personal evolution. The authentic self honours the wisdom that you are more than your thoughts that relate to yourself. You created your image of self to exist and survive in the world, yet the eternal self does not associate with this likeness.
An authentic life requires you live according to your highest truth. It means embodying your innermost values which serve as guideposts for genuine living. Those who live an inauthentic life are prone to life’s struggle contained within the states of: boredom, mid-life crisis, addictions, infidelity, etc. They stray from their authentic self by buying into the false belief they are lacking in this respect.
Life succeeds through contrasts. It was Shakespeare who expressed through Hamlet that “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Whilst unsettling, life’s conflicting nature highlights our inner struggle to make sense of the world. This becomes clear as we dip our toes in the water to experience the other side. Thus a mid-life crisis becomes a call to heal unpleasant emotional conflicts we have abandoned. To stay stuck in a mid-life crisis however becomes a healing crisis vying for our attention.
As we merge with the authentic self, our problems, pain and struggles give rise to inspired living. We harmonise with our essential-self by integrating our highest values into the core of our being.
Self-analysis is a means to reawaken the authentic self by making conscious what was unconscious. I use reawaken since your default state at your conception is one of innocence and pure awareness. Byron Katie’s program The Work is a valuable healing and transformation tool which offers powerful insights for enquiring into unconscious beliefs to awaken the authentic self.
As you unite with the authentic self, a greater wholeness emerges to reveal the core self.
To appreciate a bird in song requires one to recognise the same tune within their own being. It is then our story of wholeness emerges out of the fog of separateness.