Monday, March 18, 2013

The Path of Deepening Authenticity

 “You come to harmony with others not through conformity, but through authenticity. 
When you have the courage to be yourself, you find the highest truth you are capable of receiving.
That truth is what enables you to reach across the aisle to your brother or sister.

You do not have to agree with others to value them and respect them.
Because you accept your own uniqueness, you can honour the unique path that others take.
Finding the truth in yourself, you recognize it when you see it manifest in others.”

Paul Ferrini (Everyday Wisdom).

The Path of Deepening Authenticity
(Part 2 of 3 of “Why Authenticity?”)

So if being fake brings unease and authenticity brings peace, what fool would keep choosing to fake it?  Apparently most of us most of the time! Whether consciously or unconsciously, we seem to prefer unease or dis-ease, even if we adamantly deny it. Sounds like another layer of self-deception? Certainly confusion.

So much confusion. 

How then do we get real?  How do we distinguish the true from the false, the authentic from the inauthentic?  For me, it is certainly a journey, a deepening process of discernment. 

Surely we all know the excruciating guilt of feeling we have not been true to ourselves. We are often haunted by it. Well, what if all disquiet is at root the pain of self-betrayal? If our truth is oneness, then all attack, all judgement, all rivalry, all resistance, all separation from perceived “other” is an act of self-betrayal because it feels like we are betraying our oneness. And we feel really bad about it even if we don't immediately recognize why we feel bad.

Our first line of defense is typically to blame someone else. If only he or she were different, then I could feel whole again. And then there are those of us whose torment takes the form of scapegoating our own perceived wrong-doing.  Our mind flits around and spots, say, the time I was unkind to so-and-so (substitute the gazillion possible scapegoats and false idols we could adopt). It becomes an “idée-fixe” circling round and round in the mind endlessly. It exhausts us; it reduces us to despair.  The blame, the guilt, the shame seem relentless, and underneath it is the sinking conviction we must be unredeemable.

Even the quest for authenticity, like anything, can be co-opted by ego, and become a tyrant:  “I can't move forward for fear of committing the ultimate sin: being inauthentic!”

What I didn't understand for a long time is that feeling bad is actually, in a funny sort of way, a good thing. Guilt, shame, grief, anxiety are our allies if we understand them to be red flags of our inauthenticity.  What if that is their only significance? What if the pang or stab of guilt is just a scalpel that points out our fakery?  What if the nausea and lightheadedness of anxiety are simply serving notice that we have chosen the separated state of ego-land again?

So we have a great system for discerning between the inauthentic and the authentic.  Unease is the hallmark of faking it.  Peace is the hallmark of authenticity.  Our job is always and only to restore our peace.  Spirit guides with peace.  The absence of peace is the tip-off that we have strayed from the path of authenticity.  What I am learning is that nothing but this is going on.  All the complexity and confusion is simply losing sight of the truth of this.

So what does restoring our peace actually look like?  How do we go about it?

(to be continued)

10 March 2013

Speaking my Truth, study 1

The Path of Deepening Authenticity
(Part 3 of “Why Authenticity?”)

So, what does restoring our peace and living authentically actually look like?  How do we go about it?

First, I would say, it is helpful to be clear on the one and only equation:  all my disquiet boils down, beneath all the projections onto scapegoats, to the belief that I committed the ultimate sin, betrayed my oneness. I have betrayed love and the only fit punishment is to be cut off from love, terminally ostracized, and soldier on alone. Understandably this feels really bad, so bad that I would do just about anything not to feel it or look at it. This, I am learning, is the equation to be kept clear. Nothing else is going on.

Second, from the platform (or altar) of present moment awareness, that is, a palpable resting in the
Here and Now (the only place we experience oneness, true joining, non-separation, Christ awareness, authentic guidance), I welcome the disquiet that it is so tempting to resist (and its apparent source, be it an unfaithful friend, a cheating partner, an illness, financial scarcity, etc.). This does not mean I welcome misforture; it means I welcome back that part of me that believes it made a big mistake, is cut off from love, and deserves to be punished.  My role is to see it, acknowledge it, listen to it, soften towards it,  open to joining with it, offer to feel it fully, and embrace it as I would a long-lost best friend.   And in this willingness to surrender resistance, this opening to unconditional love, I invite and patiently await the voice of authenticity to guide my insights and actions.  

Now this does not mean “anything goes.”  Authentic action or insight means discerning the false from the true, not assuming that because everything is “Love and Light,” I should accept it all. Afterall the “should-word” is a dead give-away of inauthenticity. As Byron Katie so wisely observes, we can't act from a place beyond our own evolution.  That is the journey.  Not to fake it.  Not to hurry past our lessons, our forgiveness opportunities, our grievances. If we are not authentically ready or inclined to understand or do something at a felt level, that's okay, that's precisely what we are being asked to discern:  what is it that truly offers us the juiciness of authenticity, not the sterility of fakery? What truly lights our fire?  What is our passion?  What is nourishing, not wearying?  What is whole-hearted, not faint-hearted?  What is unforced, not efforted?  What is empowering and resonant with authority?

This path, between disquiet and fakery, on one hand, and authenticity and peace, on the other, is, it seems to me, the cutting edge of our healing and growing awareness and trust.

14 March 2013