Our authentic self
I really like The Message Bible's take on the Golden Text from this week's Bible Lesson:
Truth lasts: lies are here today, gone tomorrow. (Pro. 12:19)
I had some conversations over the weekend about being who we truly are, about discovering our "authentic self." This comes up a lot when you're doing coaching or helping with identity issues. So, I've been exploring the spiritual underpinning of this idea.
What is our authentic self? As the opening passage implies, it's the only part of our being that will last. Truth always encompasses life, perfection, grace, intelligence, sinlessness, health, energy. Within that, Truth is expressed in infinite ways, by all of us. The truth of our being is all good and eternal.
Lies about our being are "here today, gone tomorrow." The lies can take many forms, not just the more blatant evil ones. They are not always conscious. For example, we may alter how we express our individuality because of wanting to please other people or to fit in. In my life, anyway, that always catches up with me, and I have some sort of burst of self-expression that isn't always graceful but does propel me forward. My true nature must be expressed.
And, it's not black or white. We're expressing the totality of the Divine, after all. Collectively, we are the complete expression. Individually, this can take an infinite variety of forms. It's all good. But, when we try to express someone else's good and not our own, even though it's still good, it may be a lie about who we are right now. It takes some courage to stick to our own expression in the face of possible misunderstanding or disapproval. Trying to squelch ourselves into a misshapen form can take a lot of energy, as well, that would be better spent expressing our own goodness freely.
It means a lot to me to remember that God likes my authentic self. After all, He made it. He likes what He made. What He made is the image of Himself. When I try to please other people or I make decisions based on what I believe others will think, I often squelch in the process what I'm hearing from the Divine. When I remember instead that I only need to please God, it's like my whole world opens up. I am joyous and inquisitive and energized and fearless.
And when I top that off with realizing that is the only selfhood I actually have—it's the Truth about me that will last—I am so grateful to be able to just express it. Sometimes it makes me so happy, I wonder if it's allowed! But in the end, it must be, because joy itself is infinite, and this bit of happiness I feel must be only the beginning of infinite joy.
I'll close with this passage from Science and Health, because I think it's a great explication of authentic selfhood:
The sinless joy, — the perfect harmony and immortality of Life, possessing unlimited divine beauty and goodness without a single bodily pleasure or pain, — constitutes the only veritable, indestructible man, whose being is spiritual. (p. 76)
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