So why is authenticity significant? What IS authenticity? And what does practicing authenticity even look like? These are among the questions that we come back to again and again in our Lighttree circle.
For starters, there are clearly some things that authenticity is not. If there is a “should” anywhere in sight, anywhere in one's decision-making equation, it's a great tip-off that ego, not spirit or inspiration or guidance or true knowing (whatever you want to call it) is in the driver's seat. If you catch any whiff of “I should do something because I owe her, I want to appear to be a good citizen, I'll feel guilty if I don't, etc.,”it's a great opportunity to stop and inquire into what's going on here.
Another great tip-off that inauthenticity is calling the shots is the urge to “people-please,” a variation of that seductive urge to “sweep something under the rug.” And then there's that big one: the temptation to fake how “enlightened,” aware, loving one is on the “noble”grounds that, well, I should suck back my anger, grief, sadness, and just be loving (as if when we are faking it we can even attune to what love what look like in a particular situation).
And the list grows, I find, as I become more aware of the slyness of ego/fear at masquerading behind the various identities I cling to in order to try and feel more safe.
Another way I can spot inauthenticity or fakeness is that lousy feeling of self-betrayal, whether it expresses as mild unease or a full-blown melt-down, in which I invariably make someone else or something else a scapegoat for my own discontent. But even if I manage to pretend most of the time and blame something other than myself for my unease, I, like us all, have those moments of clarity when I know it is me who is the problem: I have not been true or authentic in a particular situation and it is that that is tormenting me. In A Course in Miracles terms, the reason inauthenticity feels so bad, is that we are “reliving” the excruciating guilt we feel at imagining ourselves as separate from our truth, from our oneness with all that is. Put another way: if our truth is oneness then, of course, it feels like self-betrayal when we act from what we believe to be a separated place.
And the way we recognize authenticity is the peace it brings.
(to be continued)
28 February 2013