In an earlier post, I referred to the yogic process of character building using the yamas and niyamas. I find myself thinking again and again about this matter.
If you want to be authentic, lead an authentic life.
When no one else is looking is the time to do right
I want to be more like the ocean
No talking and all action.
I wrote those lines some ten years ago. Well, the last two are from the Jane’s Addiction song “Ocean Song”. I have been contemplating this issue for a long time, it seems. Perhaps this is because I am a person who has struggled to harmonize my inner and outer lives. I think that we all have difficulty, from time to time, being who we really are, all of the time. Actually, our society often frowns upon honesty. Artifice is the order of the day, as is syncophancy. Although we also swing wildly to the other side, with the trend of unhinged cyber-bullying seeing billious backhanders being left all over blogland.
I think that authenticity is saying what you mean, honestly, but not hurtfully. Treading the middle path between necessary truth and painful reality. Not mincing words, but never lying either. I always enjoy Rob Breszny’s Horoscopes, and this week’s was no exception:
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): *Sant* is a Hindi word that comes from a
Sanskrit verb meaning “to be good” and “to be real.” Personally, I know a
lot of people who are either real or good. But few are both. The good
ones tend to be overly polite, and the real ones don’t put a high priority
on being nice. So here’s your assignment, Gemini: to be good and real; to
have compassionate intentions even as you conduct yourself with a high
degree of authenticity; to bestow blessings everywhere you go while at
the same time being honest and clear and deep. According to my reading
of the astrological omens, you have the power to pull off this strenuous
To be good and real. To be good AND real. To be GOOD and REAL. Challenging, eh? I trend towards real and not very nice. My critical mind and built-in idealism keep me constantly disappointed. ha! There, I said it. I like to think that I keep standards up – I certainly keep people on their toes, as all critical people do. But, sometimes it’s not very comfortable to be constantly on one’s toes! But, my critical mind interjects, comfort zones are dangerous places! We need to work our boundaries in order to grow. Yes, replies my tolerant, nice mind, but not everyone wants to grow. But! interjects critical mind again, they’re just lazy then! ARRRRRRRRHHHHHHHHHH! You see, the internal dialogue continues.
I believe that I should just follow another one of my Rachelistic proverbs “Stop judging, start loving.” But, perhaps it is better to amend that and say “Judge lovingly, critique gently. “
Authenticity and honesty don’t need to preclude kindness. In fact, the message is much more likely to be heard when delivered with soft words that don’t wound. Maybe it’s pride and hurry that makes it come out harshly. Maybe it’s my own emotional attachment to the idea of changing the world. Change comes slowly and is already in progress.