Authenticity

2010 will continue the evolution you have been feeling for some time now.

You may be tired from the climb of recent years. The seeking, and frustration, and the times when you think you’ve risen above some spiritual threshold only to be humbled back down, and the times of three steps forward and two back—all of it is tiring.

Perhaps you dabbled in spirituality. But if you hang around these circles you’ve run into a “spiritualized” ego. I know one right now. A “spiritualized” ego is in need of acknowledgment of its past suffering, and in need of approval of the many ways in which it is attached to spiritual concepts, and concerned about what is true spirituality and what is not, and why others just don’t get it.

But the fear is still palpable in between the lines of these stories.

The highest monk of them all, the Buddha said, don’t believe anything, even if I said it, go and look for yourself. And another very spiritual patriarch clarified, “Do not seek Truth; only cease to cherish illusions.” For some, spirituality is their most cherished illusion. Go figure.

Or you’ve dabbled in practices. Take the practice of being present. Being present is tricky. If you are truly and fully able to be present, that is it, that is awakening. But when you want to be present, it is the mind and the ego which decide to be present, and presence is not something the mind understands.You try to be present, and presence is very scary for the ego, so it immediately rebels, and creates a mental space it calls presence. The ego says, well, it looks like you are determined to be present, so here you go. This presence that the mind creates is lifeless, boring, and empty.

And you say, wait a minute, where is all that damned peace and bliss that everyone else talks about? Are they just pretending? You wonder if you are doing it wrong or there is something more you need to understand.

Or you’ve dabbled in meditation, and realized that the meditator gets in the way. Meditation is about allowing.

Maybe you’ve chased positive thinking, or sought out your purpose, or dived into the law of attraction. You soon realize that all those are just more stories of the ego, stories of accumulating. Awakening is not about getting, it is about letting go.

Maybe it’s awareness, and you remember the time you said it can’t be this simple and you remember the time when you thought it was a practice. You remember the time that you thought you can’t release until you understand it more.

You’ve dabbled in these things. It’s not about particular spiritual concepts or particular practices. All of that is seeking. Seeking does not bring about finding, but it does bring about self-honesty.

With self-honesty comes the the very humbling realization that all of our intentions, even our spiritual intentions, particularly our spiritual intentions, are suffused with the ego.

And yet seeking is what you do, because that’s what you know. You continue to meditate, be aware, release, or whatever your particular stories are, but now with the realization that all of these are stories, and eventually they will all be jettisoned. Now you can relax. You no longer meditate for the meditator.

Progress if that’s the right word is now grounded in reality, and you are more sensitive to subtle energies. It isn’t about special powers or the ability to see signs and serendipity. It isn’t about the ability to see through the ego–that is perhaps the ego’s most diabolical story, when the illusion of spiritual advancement is believed.

With self-honesty comes the amazing humility that even now you may be fooling yourself. You don’t need to resolve this strange conflict.You are leaving behind validation and taking the risks toward authenticity.

You accept that there are bumps and grinds, and stuff will come up and stay for a while until you release it, and this can be uncomfortable and humbling, but now that you accept this, there isn’t much fear about it. You even look forward to it. You invite it.

Your outer life will unfold in ways which are not always comfortable. This is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps Essence is teaching the ego.

The swirling energies that are you and everything else are benevolent. You know this and you say this and other people say it, and sometimes it feels just like something people in these circles say automatically, like they say have a nice day, and other times there is a overwhelming knowingness of it.

You don’t need to stuff everything down inside you anymore. That’s really nice. You don’t have to be pretend to be

dogwoods dressed in dainty pink

Dogwoods bloomed and went in Atlanta! - photo credit: The Gifted Photographer

strong or spiritual, and you are so thankful for this, because at one time you did pretend and pretending is so exhausting. This is better. You only have to be strong enough to be honest with yourself. This is gritty, real, authentic, and

accepting.

Everything is what you call love-peace-joy because you don’t know what else to call it. It is this knowingness that has

been calling. There is no turning back. The things you do that align with love-peace-joy are easy and flowing. The things you do that do not align are lessons to be learned.

Fascinating.

34 thoughts on “Authenticity

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  4. Patty - Why Not Start Now?

    Welcome back, Kaushik! I love what you wrote today, and this line rang so true for me: “With self-honesty comes the amazing humility that even now you may be fooling yourself.” This is the biggest lesson I’m learning. That I have the capacity to fool myself 100 times over, and remembering that is most important. Thank you.
    .-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last blog ..Meaning Mondays: The Stuck in the Mud Edition =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Patty,
      Good to be back. Admitting that we fool ourselves is huge. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      love and peace,
      k

  5. Janice

    Hi Kaushik,
    Wow!! I am so glad to be able to read your writings again. I love the feeling that I am reading something that feels like your personal journal. It is so mysterious and beautiful. Like delving into a still moment.
    Well, you managed AGAIN to hit a nerve with me. I had a great quiet time last night and felt really serene and peaceful. Today, I did take two steps back, I was more negative than I have been in ages.
    Accepting where I am at this exact moment is wonderful and I am learning it more especially in the quiet times and I feel so grateful. But, accepting when I am not serene or quiet is much, much more difficult.
    But, I am willing to understand that situation more, even if I am disappointed.
    Thank you so much for coming back to our little village of folks. I really missed you!!
    Janice

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,
      What a wonderful welcome, thank you!

      Yes, it ebbs and flows. During the down times it’s frustrating and hard to understand why it happens. In my experience, it’s best to allow it, watch it, and we can release it, or see that it is not real.

      Here’s a video by Adyashanti talking about these down times: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wy8LbEa91Qw&feature=player_embedded

      Again, thank you so much for your encouraging and warm words!

      love and peace,
      k

  6. Masi

    You’re talking to me 🙂 Still more to release, more letting go…
    It’s so good to have you back! I missed you. Welcome back here, Kaushik.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Namaste Masi,

      so good to hear from you. Yes, more to release, more letting go…but isn’t it lovely to know that this is what you do, you don’t have to pretend to be strong or spiritual. You allow, be patient, love yourself, be aware and continue letting go.

      I hope you are well my friend!

      love and peace,
      k

  7. John Taylor

    Could you expand a little on “It isn’t about the ability to see through the ego–that is perhaps the ego’s most diabolical story, when the illusion of spiritual advancement is believed.”?

    I thought seeing through the false ego structure, being able to abandon its illusions and the suffering it sometimes causes us, was beneficial….. So long as we don’t start to congratulate ourselves on this fine achievement, thereby allowing it in again through the back door…..:)

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi John,

      You are absolutely right, that with awakening, we begin to see through all that is false in us. And, as you point out, when we congratulate ourselves on our spiritual advancement, that is the ego congratulating itself. And we can see this in many ways in what Leonard Jacobson calls the “spiritualized” ego.

      I am reminded of this passage from the “A Course in Miracles” which by the way has a wonderful explanation of the ego:

      “The ego has no real answer to this because there ISN’T any. But it DOES have a typical solution. It obliterates the question from the mind’s awareness. Once unconscious, it can and does produce uneasiness, but it cannot be answered because it cannot be asked.”

      It’s a tricky thing. When we are fooling ourselves we don’t know it, and there can be great defensiveness if it comes up. And perhaps that is our hint.

      Thanks for expanding on the discussion in a very insightful way!

      I hope you are well.

      love and peace,
      k

  8. Janice

    Thank you!! I forgot about that clip. That woman, in the clip, reminded me so much of myself and I just listened to it again.
    By the way, I loved what you said to Masi, “you don’t need to pretend to be strong or spiritual.” The thing is I did not know I had a choice. I did not know that there was something else, (letting go) I thought all the really “smart people” had all the strength and the “blessed people” had all the answers. I was certain that you had to be “special or gifted” in some way to have the answers.
    The awareness (learning curve) in my life is growing wider and deeper.
    Thank you!
    Have a great day.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,
      Well, we all have an ego, and egos love to promote the idea that things are difficult. People will say that it takes deep spiritual knowledge or special characteristics like diligence or discipline or strength and so on. People say that because their egos are still kicking.

      Awakening is being natural and it is your birth right. There is nothing you need. In my experience, if we learn to expand awareness and learn to release, and we remain open, self-honesty develops. We soon learn this is a very natural process. We learn to stop stuffing emotions and ideas and beliefs down inside us. It may feel like some effort in the beginning, but we soon learn that paradoxically it is more about giving up effort.

      I love your comments Janice. You are open and honest and this helps everyone who reads your comments.

      k

  9. Masi

    When I realize that this is what I am doing, it is very lovely. But when I am observing my thoughts, fears, body sensations, and all the rest… not so lovely- even painful until I remember to breathe! now keep breathing now, now release, and let go…. 😀

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Masi,
      I understand what you’re saying, and you’re doing very well. Breathe and release…that’s it!

      Try the allowing meditation from Adyashanti which I linked to in reply to John’s comment, and also here’s a powerful releasing-breathing meditation:

      Breathe into whatever you are feeling. Allow the feelings and thoughts completely, and let your breath envelope every feeling, thought and memory that you are present to in this moment. Allow your breath to slow down and find its rhythm. Embrace with your breath anything that comes up–numbness, sadness, fear, frustration–no need to label or analyze, just allow and let the breath embrace whatever comes up. Feelings may come, and they may go, and they may come back, and it’s all okay, just breathe, and let the breath do it’s thing, until a natural release happens. Releasing is very natural and effortless because it is the holding on that requires effort. Breathe, allow, release. Stay with this until you feel a release and you may feel tired after this, so this may be best to do before you sleep.

      k

  10. the commentator formerly known as... Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord

    Beautiful, moving, clarifying, comforting.

    I have been dying to myself in the last month or so, perhaps as a way to learn what or who I really am…
    I am also happy to accept that this is something I may never “know,” but instead have been living each moment anyway. Letting go is the MO lately.

    My deepest love to you, Kaushik.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Thank you, joygirl!

      A relevant quotation from Eckhart: “Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to “die before you die” — and find that there is no death.”

      Letting go is MO–indeed!

      with love,
      k

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Stan,
      Thank you for saying that. I hope you are well–long time since I’ve heard from you.

      love and peace,
      k

  11. Brenda (betaphi)

    Fascinating is right! So glad you are back, Kaushik. There was a big hole in my world while you were away.

    I related to this. “Your outer life will unfold in ways which are not always comfortable. This is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps Essence is teaching the ego.”

    My outer life recently took possession of some physical pain. It is difficult to know what role outer pain plays, but it certainly is humbling. Maybe that is the lesson, to remain humble.

    Essence is my favorite word for “it.” —love peace joy
    .-= Brenda (betaphi)´s last blog ..Meet Chase Ford =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Brenda,

      It is very warming to come back to such a welcome–thank you for that.

      Several friends and family are dealing with physical pain. I don’t have much experience with it; my demons have been different. The few times that I have experienced physical pain for prolonged periods, I can say that it is very consuming. I empathize and send love your way. Take care of yourself.

      k

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  13. Paul Maurice Martin

    Another fascinating thing about authenticity:

    Going by my personal experiences with people, there seems to be no connection between spiritual authenticity and how much you talk or write about this subject.

    I’ve known people in all categories. Someone like you does lots of writing on this topic and also strikes me as sincere. People like my mom and her mom lead such good lives that they’re inspiring to others and yet they do no writing and almost no talking about the subject. And then there are those who view themselves – and are often viewed by others – as highly spiritual or religious and yet, going by how they live and often by beliefs that are clearly ego-serving, couldn’t be less authentic.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Paul,
      You make an excellent point. A year ago when I started writing on the website, I thought I was writing honestly. I look back and I see that a lot of what I said and felt was affected by the need for validation. Today, I feel I am more authentic than I have ever been, but I am also aware the ego is diabolical. We can fool ourselves. I am aware of this, and this awareness helps but is not fool-proof. So I don’t make a claim to full authenticity…I only make the claim that I am working on it.

      Your other point, that writing (and reading) are different from actually experiencing is also well taken.

      I think we can perhaps do two things. We can remember that we can fool ourselves. The people who get stuck are the people who are completely convinced of their spirituality.

      The other thing I try to do is remember this Buddhist saying: whenever we are offended by something in someone, it is always because we fear it in ourselves. Another way to say it is, if I can spot it, I got it!

      Great expansion of the discussion, thanks. I hope you are doing well.

      love and peace,
      k

  14. Sarah

    This weekend, I had a few hours of total peace. I felt heaven on earth. As I began to continue moving through my life, I noticed my borders. Wow – after all this letting go – I found my no again. And I realized that this ego I’ve been letting go of, piece by irritating piece, was never my defense. I don’t have to justify myself, being is enough. Being is all. It was an odd realization – these natural borders of mine, such as saying no once, such as the power of “so be it.” So much energy is wasted in the effort to present the being we are instead of the being of it (which is what your article describes nicely). Now I know the Universe will test these borders, but only so I can practice.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..New No Way =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Sarah,

      I know what you mean about rooting back to nature–I’m in a busy suburb of Atlanta, but even here, in the early morning, the birds chirp and there is natural life all around. It is grounding.

      It is scary to face the ego. Most of us are not our natural selves, and this is why we suffer, and the ego has no answer for this, so it simply obliterates the whole question, and so most of go through life without ever facing up to the truth of who we really are. Some of us, perhaps because there has been enough pain or exhaustion or absurdity of the ego, do face up. It is a little scary. But I’ve also found that it just takes patience and love and allowing. Nothing else is needed–we don’t have to be spiritual or strong or disciplined.

      There is always more to release. Perhaps the only mistake we can make is to forget that we are able to fool ourselves.

      Thanks for a wonderful comment, Sarah, and I hope to see you again!

      love and peace,
      k

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