Authenticity

authenticityI am a foreigner. I learned the English words, one by one, but I started to learn the being associated, the being meant by some words when I was 38 and started the work of transformation.

The first being word I looked into was generosity. I was still a beginner at distinguishing.

Distinguishing is the art of precision, what it is and what it isn't. What it isn't distinguishes something a lot better than trying to explain what it is. Interesting, isn't it?

I had to learn the hard way what generosity isn't, how "generosity" can and does make enemies of friends, destroys you in the process, while it builds your ego to sky high.

The second being word was authenticity. Not much can be found anywhere about that being, because it is near extinct, because authenticity flies in the face of what society wants of you: society wants you to suppress who you really are, and pretend to be part of the group... to want what "they" want, not what you want.

Pretending to be authentic is, of course, rampant.

My teacher, Werner Erhard says: the only authenticity that is available to humans is to be authentic about our inauthenticity... I won't even try to explain that to you... lol.

So, what is authenticity? I have found in my four year long investigation and learning, that authenticity is a kind of transparency. A kind of seamlessness, being the same through and through. A way of living where there is nothing in the unsaid. Where you have no agenda that is not in the open (because occasionally you have an agenda, don't you? Even if you call it a purpose... lol. Or goal. Or aim... it is still an agenda. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with agenda, but it is inauthentic to pretend that you don't have one.)

One big agenda we'll always have: looking good and making it.

Of course, it means different for each person, for some it means having to be liked, accepted, well thought of, agreed with, etc.

And you hide it. You go along to get along. You agree to be accepted. You say "intelligent things" to be well thought of. You smile. You laugh. You accept invitations, or you invite people. You make money to fit in. You do what others do to fit in. You post haughty stuff on facebook... to not be left behind.

You are through and through inauthentic.

Even your feelings are inauthentic. You even lie to yourself.

As you can see, being authentic is probably the least achievable, and is probably the highest level of being, beingness attainable by a mere mortal.

And, of course, there are degrees... like with all beingness.

In the following article from a yoga site from New Zealand, we have some beginner level advice on how to be authentic:

If you can't publicly own it, don't do it (easy to say right?)

February 12, 2012 by Kara-Leah Grant

Forget the Ten Commandments. Forget even the Five Yamas or Niyamas. Here instead is the Golden Litmus Test. Apply it to all your behavior.

Everything you do. Everything you say. And everything you think. (If you really want to up your game...)

Can you publicly own this action, word or thought? Can you publish it in the newspaper? Talk about it on TV? Answer to it on radio? Yes? Sweet... do it, say it, think it. No? Don't do it, say it, think it...

At least, not without further inquiry into the action, word or thought. Perhaps, with further inquiry, you will be able to publicly own it. Until then, park it.

This is my reflection after reading this interview with John Friend, following the recent accusations about his behavior.

It's my reflection as a teacher, writer and yogi, making her way in the world.

It's not advice for anybody else, necessarily.

It's advice for me.

There's just no way I can wiggle out of anything, if I ask myself that question – can I publicly own this action, word or thought?

Because to do so is to own the action, word or thought as part of who I am.

It's to be authentic. Not perfect, but authentic.

In the past, I've owned my drug-taking. My partying. My mental health issues. I'm looking at owning my sexual history. Owning the past has been a path to empowerment for me, because it's meant I've fully accepted me for Me, in all my inglorious glory.

And applying this Golden Litmus Test now means that I take time to truly be present with whatever action, word or thought I'm considering.... so I do, say and think less that will need to be "owned" in the future.

Taking time to be present now means I can't bullshit myself.

Because I know, just as you know, when I'm doing things that will hurt myself and others.

I know. Just like you know. And John Friend would have known. 1

Of course, our wily minds get in on the act and present all kinds of reasons why we should just go ahead and have that extra piece of chocolate cake, lie on our tax return or sleep with those married people.

Anything is justifiable, in the mind, by the mind, for the mind.

Except that one question.

Can I publicly own this extra piece of chocolate cake, lying on my tax return, sleeping with married people?

And maybe you can. Maybe it's ok for you to eat cake, dodge tax or have sex with married people. Because of the circumstances, situations, reasons or path you're on...

You know.

You know if you can publicly own this action, this word, this thought... And if not, why are you doing it? Saying it? Thinking it?

What would happen if there were total transparency?

Laying down of the facts of the matter with no attempt to control the receiving of that information?

i.e. What would happen to you if just told us what happened?

Is this possible? Is this helpful?

What does it take to expose ourselves, as we are, in the choices we make and the things we do, with nothing to hide behind? No excuses, no deflections, no flowery new-age language or hazy spiritual platitudes?

Courage, undoubtedly.

Trust, for sure.

And surrender to what might happen as a result.

What might we gain, if we were to have the courage, trust and surrender required to expose ourselves as we truly are, inside and out, private and public, to all who would ask?

I wonder...

Does any of us have what it takes to live like that?

Great article, isn't it? You see that being authentic is arguably the highest level anyone can aspire for.

None of the gurus, none of the teachers, none of the healers I know are 100% authentic. The average is 9%. Osho was 30%. Christie Marie Sheldon: 5%. Buddha was 100%. Werner Erhard, age 78, now: 70% authentic. When he was doing est: he was 30% authentic. People's vibration and their authenticity is closely tied, but they are not the same number, they are not cause and effect.

I have "attained" 80% authenticity. There are still skeletons in my closet. I am working on burying them, stop doing what I am doing that I would not want my mother to know, would not want the government to know, would not want you to know.

Footnotes

  1. John Friend was/is a yoga school founder accused of impropriety

Author: Sophie Benshitta Maven

award winning architect, magazine publisher, transformational and spiritual coach and teacher, self declared Avatar

8 thoughts on “Authenticity”

  1. Hi Sophie, originally, I wanted to ask you a question about clearing and then I read this article. I hope I will have a stronger question as a result: If clearing involves owning what you have been holding on to and stating it to another or journaling about it, if that is correct, can I achieve authenticity through this practice? Actually, I have an additional question: (I’m sure I’m looking for a comfortable way to tackle this) How do you determine what is considered PUBLICLY owning?-a stranger you tell, a priest, facebook? Thank you

  2. Baheej, you can’t achieve authenticity, but you can increase your authenticity.
    The article I am sharing here, the part I didn’t write, is the way to start: if you are doing something you would not want others to know: stop doing it. For example, I know a guy who chews tobacco. He is ashamed about it, would never want anyone to know it, but won’t stop. You either say: I do that, and if you don’t like it then f… you, or stop doing it. If you say things, think things you would not want anyone else to know about you, then stop doing it, or own up to it to the person who would be most upset about it… girl friend? business partner? family?

  3. Thank you Sophie,,, am one hour & 10 minutes into Werner Erhart’s 3 hour speech on relationship…. ohhh dear!
    what you’ve been saying all along.
    never even heard of him before, a bit of an eye opener.
    Thanks

  4. ’empty your listening’ he says,,, what a relief it would be to be able to do that,,, a work in progress for sure.

  5. your answer to Baheej question is really helpful to me, have been pondering that for quite a while. like the ‘fraud’ part of me and how I am with one person and different with another,,, not exactly authentic eh? there is one person in this block that doesn’t give a stuff what anyone thinks of her and she does whatever she wants, but also takes responsibility for it. she steps on many toes, but at the same time is well liked even though she changes with the weather! I have resisted being controlled by her, but secretly I want to be more like her,,, duh! back to the drawing board once again.
    thanks Sophie.

  6. I also just had the thought that I want everyone else to be ‘authentic’ but not me! I can accept whatever they are/be/do,,,,, but not me 🙁

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