If you’re seeking enlightenment or self discovery you’ve likely come across the concept of authenticity. And something seemingly obvious struck me about why authenticity is such a relevant topic. This focus on authenticity has to do, in part, with the fact that we humans lie.
We lie every day. We lie to ourselves. We lie to each other. We romanticize the past. We deny the present. We fantasize the future. We lie.
So authenticity, being your true self, involves uncovering lies and being with the truth.
No easy task, unmasking the truth. I can attest to the fact that this process of exposing the truth, awakening to the ways we lie, is an ongoing, seemingly endless process.
Life conspires to bring the truth to light.
It may come in bits and pieces. Sometimes when we are ready for it, often when we’re not. It jolts us when we’ve ignored it for too long. It comes when our old defenses have outlived their usefulness.
The truth comes as a revelation of an already present reality. We are enlightened when we become awake to it. The message of this truth can come in the form of an accident, a chance meeting, a dream, a book, a teacher.
Uncovering the truth is liberating, freeing, expansive.
And it can be utterly heart breaking.
Looking at the truth, both the ugly and beautiful aspects of it requires courage and steadfastness. It requires love and support.
Uncovering the truth can rip your heart open. Leave you feeling raw, vulnerable. Uncertain about who you are.
So much of my own healing has had to do with telling, admitting, confessing the truth. The truth about my unhappiness. My tendency towards despair. The truth about my anger. My fear. My loneliness.
My healing has also involved telling, admitting, confessing the truth about my joys, passion, sensuality, creativity, beauty, love.
The truth has had me surrender, sob, try to hide. It leads me to the places where I’ve become complacent with a lie. I’m no longer allowed to continue accepting half truths.
We lie because we think we can’t handle the truth. We think others won’t love us or accept our truth. We lie because we tell ourselves we’re not supposed to want more. We lie because we think our truth doesn’t matter. We lie because we believe there is a limited amount of goodness and it is not ours to have. We lie because the depth of our anger, grief, and longing is so profound it scares us.
We lie because the truth of our pain, our betrayal, our hatred, our resentment seems too ugly to reveal. We lie because shining brightly or boldly might cause others’ envy or ire.
We lie because we are asleep and just not ready to know the truth. And that’s okay. We can hold that part of ourselves, the part that is not ready, with compassion. We can forgive the fact we habitually ignore the hunches, the signals, the patterns pointing us to the truth.
We lie because we’ve been complicit in maintaining someone else’s illusion. We lie seeking safety, seeking happiness, seeking peace.
Then there comes a time when the lie, denying our authentic selves, collapses. It can be spurred by a break down, a break up, a major conflict, a mid-life crises. And it can spark a period of deep awakening and soul searching.
The truth lives in your body. As a numbness, an ache, a pain. It can arrive as an urge, a compulsion, a strong unexpected desire.
Those are signals, alerts, alarms. Reminders to wake up. Some truth you’ve ignored is calling your attention.
What truth is waiting to emerge?