I hear the word “authentic” a lot. It’s one of those words that have an assumed meaning, like one we can almost pull out of our heads and put words to. I wanted to focus on this word in particular and apply it to my own life. I want to know if I am being authentic.
Let’s start with the dictionary. Authenticity:
- The English Dictionary: the quality of being real or true
- Webster: true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character is sincere and authentic with no pretensions
That’s pretty much what I thought. Authenticity to me means being true to your self, in every given moment. But what does that look like . . . exactly . . . as translated in our life?
Again, it’s words of a meaning we can reach for but not even touch the reality of it. I’m going to try and ground it into day-to-day.
Suffering (depression, misery, victim . . . )
I know I am bent towards suffering. I have made a life habit of it. I have also struggled with it, judged it, tried to change it, and hated it. Suffering lives inside of me and if I try to change it or manipulate it in any way – it doesn’t matter – it’s still there. So I’ve learned it’s not about changing anything (the more things change the more they stay the same) and it’s not about resisting it either (what you resist persists).
Suffering comes from a place of lack and judgment, believing “I am not enough.” Authenticity comes from a place of being complete, knowing who I AM is enough!
It’s about uncovering it and acknowledging it and allowing space for it to live inside me. In acknowledging I have a tendency to suffer, I am being authentic with myself. I am not trying to hide it or cover it up with something that isn’t real. I am giving it space to just be, and in that space of acceptance, freedom can happen. I then have a choice. I am no longer at the effect of my suffering.
At one point in my life, I was a staff member producing a course called the 6-Day Advanced Course. (It no longer exists but has evolved into courses produced by Landmark Worldwide). It was one of the most thrilling and exciting times of my life. I could not at any time entertain a story of misery and suffering. Here’s why:
- I had to stay present to do my job: I was a ropes/events course manager. Not being present and doing my job would have resulted in injuries and possibly death. The thought of someone else’s life at stake was bigger than my suffering.
- I made a promise and was being held accountable. I promised to do my job and live as my word – doing as I said I would do. My promise over rode my suffering because I gave my word and stayed true to my word.
- I had support. Everyone on staff, including the course leaders, supported each and every one of us in being our word, staying in integrity, maintaining health and vitality, remaining in our power.
- I knew that what I was doing was making a difference. I had been a participant in the course and knew the profound changes it had made in my life. I wanted to give that opportunity to others.
- My actions affected the whole. If the participants in the course were stuck, each staff member had to look and see where we may have fallen out of integrity. Once that was cleaned up, the course started moving again. I had to take full responsibility that I had the power to change an outcome by affecting the whole.
- It was bigger than me and my own fears. I remember my Ropes Course Manager training and hearing my fear blasting in my head (what the heck are you doing??) then out of my mouth was “Tyrol, Tyrol, This is the RCM. Come in. Over.”
I was playing a game worth playing. It was bigger than me and caused me to be authentic. Hiding anything or stuffing anything would have been a disaster.
Below is the purpose of the 6-Day Advanced Course:
The purpose of this course is to create space for you to bring forth the context “I am complete (enlightened) as an individual.”
It could be said that unenlightenment is a function of identifying yourself with your presentation or assuming yourself to be your presentation.
Your presentation is your manifestation of yourself: it includes your act, your personality, your point of view, your beliefs, your body, your feelings, your manner, your posture, your speech, etc. – everything which has form.
True transformation commences with the willingness to be yourself as context. From this comes the experience of being yourself freely, fully and completely. It is the experience that you are cause in the matter of your presentation, of what you call yourself, of the forms which represent you. Within that context your presentation becomes a channel through which you can express your full participation and full commitment to making a difference in life. The result is spontaneity, contribution and full self-expression.
So, now, in day-to-day life, finding all the ingredients I listed above that were available to me as a staff member has proven difficult. Actually, I haven’t been able to find them. It’s a rare thing to find a structure that is “calling us to be” unless maybe you find yourself in an extreme situation – such as war or a major disaster.
People become authentic in disasters.
I tracked Hurricane Irma for over a week before it hit Florida. I have family and friends who live there. Lots of what I heard was people saying – “We have great neighbors and we all support each other”, or “I can always go over to my neighbor’s house if I need to.”
People helping out, supporting each other, finding themselves being heroes and doing things they would never think about doing. “The result is spontaneity, contribution and full self-expression.”
Love is at the heart of every human
It’s what defines us
It’s our true nature
Let’s challenge ourselves to “be” in action. We can all start by being authentic with ourselves. Create a life worth living! Start out by taking a stand: Who I am is ___________!!!
“You and I possess, at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances, the power to transform the quality of our lives.” Werner Erhard
Here is Werner Erhard speaking about authenticity!
Link for Landmark Worldwide
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