Most ancient wisdom teaches us about ‘living an authentic life.’ What does that mean? How do we do it? Should we strictly follow religious teachings? The truth is, no one can tell you how to achieve authenticity. Rather, living an authentic life means you are able to listen to your heart, do what you feel is right, have fearless self-expression, and maintain unconditional confidence. I will explore each of these subjects, as I believe they are the progression towards truly living authentically.
Listen to Your Heart
There’s a lot of talk about listening to your heart and what that implies. For our purposes, we will look at this phrase as being at the opposite end of the spectrum from listening to your ego. What is ego? Ego is the mind’s identity. It can only tell us what it knows, or understands. Anything outside of the ego’s definition of reality will be dismissed as fear, or the unknown. Therefore, listening to your heart means you are allowing love and acceptance to rule your behavior. Following our ‘gut’ is usually the closest definition to listening to our heart, but there’s more to it. Our learned and chosen morals, our instinct for survival, and our love and acceptance of all beings, including ourselves is the magic combination that will truly open the pathways of our heart and allow us to hear the whisper of its voice.
Doing What Feels Right
There’s a difference between doing what feels ‘good’ and doing what feels ‘right.’ What feels good is usually associated with our 5 senses; meaning that we are pursuing more sensual experience. While this isn’t a bad thing per say, being ruled by our senses traps us in the physical reality; when we are really so much more. So how then, do we know what is right? We can say that following the law, listening to our morals, acting socially responsible, and being true to ourselves are the ways to discover and act upon what is right. However, sometimes these different realms of thinking are at odds with each other, so it can be difficult to distinguish the correct path of action. Therefore, we must dive deep within ourselves, listening to the whispers of the heart, and use our best discernment of each situation in order to act in accordance with what is right. This is also known as following our dharma.
This is a tough one for most people. In order to find self-expression, we have to let go of societal and familial standards for our way of life. We have to accept that we are all different, following different paths, in order to discover our life’s purpose and share our gift with the world. Self-expression can be any form of sharing love that you prefer; art, yoga, meditation, dancing, cooking, giving to others, helping others, or just living in joy. All of these are synonymous with self-expression, for each us has different desires in life, and self-expression is the act of aligning our desire with our reality. To be fearless in self-expression can be even more difficult, due to the constraints reality places on us. Everything about the physical realm seems to have limitations, and many people will tell you that certain things are impossible or shouldn’t be done. My understanding, though, is that as long as you are not hurting yourself or others, then nothing is impossible or should be limited. Therefore, realize that you are free, already, to do the things you desire most, and to bring the love you feel in your heart into existence. Don’t worry about who accepts you or judgment you may receive. Rather, accept yourself without judgment, and know that you are worthy of love no matter what.
The pinnacle of human expression is the ability to maintain what is known as ‘unconditional confidence.’ Although it is a simple definition, it can be a challenge to actually follow through on this mentality and way of being. Unconditional confidence is the state of being where we know without a doubt that we are true to ourselves, and we accept ourselves completely and utterly. Every person has insecurities that are either fabricated by the ego, or stored as past trauma from relationships, experiences, or even our past lives. The key is to realize that any judgment of oneself, any negative thought about oneself or another, is simply a LIE. That’s right; there is truly nothing in this world that isn’t perfect, for we are all connected in a beautiful web of existence that requires each and every being to be completely unique. Don’t feel like you have to mirror your decisions on anyone else’s opinion of yourself or life. Don’t let anyone tell you what is right or wrong, because at the end of the day, your opinion is the only one that matters!
Life is simple and perfect, if only we can wade through the facade of separation and limitation to see the infinite and pure light that each of us is composed of. That light has no beginning and no end, and so neither do we. When we live with that knowledge and awareness in our daily lives, we can transcend the lies of our ego and listen with our hearts for every action we take. No one can offend you or hurt you; they can only show you a reflection of yourself. We see others as we see ourselves; so choose to see the light inside each being and you will see it inside your own being as well. That is how we maintain unconditional confidence, and how we are able to live life authentically, no matter what.
Until next time loved ones. Namaste. Pura vida. Aloha.