“Authentic” is one of my favorite words.
The deeper I meander into the metaphysical world, the more and more it shows up in my life. It applies when I explore and accept the feelings and reactions I am having and live from them, without trying to hide them from mySelf or others. It applies when I use the knowledge gained to further my own development. It applies when someone cries or laughs or snorts during my work. It applies when locking soul-eyes with a stranger, to a spontaneous hug, to animals… What it means to me is hard to describe, but it has to do with the experience, however brief, of being real, unfettered by mores, mask-less, unplanned. It is not the domain of joy or sadness, males or females, or any other grouping, it just is.
As that sure isn’t the best definition, let’s see what Wikipedia has to say:
“Authenticity concerns the truthfulness of origins, attributes, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intentions.”
“Authenticity (philosophy), a particular way of dealing with the external world, being faithful to internal rather than external ideas.”
To me, it boils down to this:
If we are, in fact, eternal Beings, defined as souls, then living as if this Earthly existence is the be-all and end-all makes little sense. It seems to me that as a society, ideally we would aspire to living authentically, letting our souls be visible, en masse. How exactly that would look, in terms of what would change in education, conflict resolution, entertainment, agriculture, medicine, etc., is exciting to contemplate but I’m not going to go into that here. In regards to our day-to-day interactions, however, I can hazard a guess.
Level 5: This is where our daily interactions are heart-centered. Even with strangers. Our personal conversations are not fine – you know, where one person says, “How are you?”, and the other responds, “Fine.” (yes, I have ranted about this before) This happens when everyone in our circle (family, friends, colleagues) is doing their work and knows how to engage with their own inner Self and live from there (“…being faithful to internal…”).
Level 4: A lot of us woo-woo folks are living between here and Level 3. Level 4 is where we continue to do our own work, and convey to the people in our life that we are doing so, and, while welcoming them to do the same, we accept that they are not all there yet. It’s kind of like living in the Twilight Zone.
Example, a dear friend who happens to also be a client lives here, in Level 4, in regards to her family of origin. She was brought up in a household stuck in Level 1. As a young adult, she recognized that she “had issues” and moved into Level 2. The more she did her work – Level 3 – the more she realized that she was holding a deep secret. Once she finally uncovered that secret – incestuous abuse – she struggled for a long time in Level 3, trying to figure out how to accept it and move on. When she finally moved into Level 4 on this issue by sharing it with her family, she was shut down. Her family are not willing to hear that a beloved patriarch would have done such a thing, so they insist that she is wrong, insist that she be quiet, insist that she not talk about it. Note: her motive here is not to cause problems, to cast blame, or even to harp on about it, but to clarify her understanding of how the abuse affected her role in the family, how that abuse affected her interactions with others, and that by owning it she could let it go. Clearly, there is no way for her to move to Level 5 on this issue until her family comes to terms with it themselves. When you are ready to move from Level 3 to Level 4 on any particular item, when you are ready to stand in your truth, you not only unleash energy previously bottled up within you, you give testimony to the Universe that there is no shame in being authentic.
Level 3: We’re doing the work, but are pretty much keeping it a secret, i.e., not letting anyone know how “out there” we are, for fear of the response. In other words, this is where we are not speaking our truth, be it around spiritual beliefs, fears, goals, food… – you get the idea.
Level 2: Here we have awakened to the understanding of the permanence of life; we’ve had that A-ha moment and are eager to pursue a life authentic. We understand that by healing our wounds, by searching within for our own reality, by doing the hard work of growing, we are committing to a life of bliss – a life that is “…ancient, imperishable, and ever-lasting.”¹
Level 1: This is where it often feels like everyone else is living – oblivious, heartless, scrambling for material gain while ignoring the eternal part of ourSelves. In actuality, many living in Level 1 are genuinely kind, etc., just not willing to step deeper into their own lives. The folks living here are the ones you want to hit on the head with a rubber hammer.
Regardless of where you are now, remember, the levels are fluid. In some arenas of our lives, we are at Level 4, while in others, we are stuck at Level 1 or 2. Some days are better than others. While Level 5 is the goal, one cannot force anyone else to do their own work; for the most part it must remain an ideal, except to the degree to which one is able to surround oneSelf with like-minded folk.
Please post your comments below; I love to hear them!
¹ – “O SON OF SPIRIT! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.”
~The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh