Monday, May 3, 2010

What does it mean to be your Authentic Self?

Everyone has a persona, an image they show to the outside world. But the question is, is that persona really you? Not too many people can say they are their authentic self. Why is that?
Because everyone is worried what everyone else thinks of them. Why does everyone worry what everyone else thinks of them? Fear of rejection. Why are people scared of being rejected? It goes back the natural instinct of survival. If you are not excepted within your clan you will be rejected and all alone.
Let's explore being alone. How bad could it really be? If you are alone you are isolated from others who have judged you and love you conditionally. Do you really want to be loved for anything other than who you really are? I think that if I had to chose I wouldn't necessarily mind being alone.
Now let's look at the reasons why people are rejected by others. Either their is a control issue and someone posing to be superior to you is asking you to be or do something that is not in perfect alignment with who you are, or you were not behaving as your true self. If you were rejected because you weren't being your true self all you can do is learn from the situation. Admit to yourself where you went wrong and correct it and move on with your new life. But if you were rejected for being your authentic self then It was a blessing in disguise! You are now free! You now owe no one an explanation for being you. In your new life you will only attract those who are in perfect alignment with your real self. You will not tolerate nor attract conditional and controlling people. Like attracts like.
So now which do you chose? Follow your heart and be your authentic real self at all costs? Or be who everyone around you wants you to be at the price of living a life that is not your own?
I chose freedom. I chose unconditional love. I chose being my authentic self at all costs!

Here is a great excert from Osho. Written very eloquently it allows you to see what authenticity means.

Only one thing has to be remembered: be authentic, be sincere to yourself. Declare your truth, whatsoever the cost. Even if life is risked, risk it, because truth is far more valuable than anything, because truth is true life.

I am reminded of Bodhidharma, who introduced Zen into China... The emperor had come to receive him on the border--and if it had been somebody else in Bodhidharma's place, the emperor would have cut his head immediately, because he was behaving in such an unmannerly way. The emperor had created hundreds of temples, made thousands of Buddha statues. One thousand scholars were continuously translating Buddha's words from Pali into Chinese, and ten thousand Buddhist monks were fed by the imperial treasury. He had done much to make China Buddhist. Obviously, he thought that he would be appreciated, so he said, "I have done these things. What do you think--what will be the virtue attained out of all this?"

Bodhidharma said, "Virtue? You idiot!"--in front of the whole court, because the court had come with the emperor. There was silence. He said, "You will go directly to hell!"
The emperor could not understand. He said, "I don't see why you are so angry."

Bodhidharma replied, "You are destroying a living word, and you are feeding these scholars who have nothing to contribute to the consciousness of the people. Still you have the nerve to ask if you are doing great virtue? You will suffer in hellfire!" The emperor thought, "How to get out of this man's trap? I have entered in a lion's den and now it is very difficult to get out..." The emperor went back, and Bodhidharma remained in the hills just outside China's boundary. Sitting in a temple, facing the wall for nine years, he declared, "To talk to people who don't understand is just like talking to a wall. But talking to a wall at least one has a consolation that it is a wall. I will turn my face only when I see that somebody has come who is worthy of listening to the living word."

Nine years is a long time--but finally one morning the man came. He said, "Listen, I think I am the person you are waiting for." As a proof he cut off one of his hands with his sword, threw the hand into the lap of Bodhidharma and said, "Turn towards me; otherwise I will cut off my head and you will be responsible for it!"

Bodhidharma turned immediately. He said, "This is enough. This is enough proof that you are as crazy as I want! Sit down. There is no need to cut off your head -- we have to use it; you are going to be my successor."

A man who cuts his hand just to give proof of his sincere search... and there was no doubt in Bodhidharma's mind that if he did not turn he would have cut his head. Unnecessarily, he would be burdened with the responsibility of killing a man, and such a beautiful man, so courageous. And certainly the man was Bodhidharma's successor.

But what happened between these two, nobody knows. Not a single word--Bodhidharma just turned towards him, told him to sit down, looked into his eyes... snow was falling and there was an immense silence all around. Not a single question was asked, and not a single answer was given. But something must have transpired, otherwise Bodhidharma would not have chosen him as his disciple.