In these modern times we’re preoccupied with our external appearances. It takes a great degree of courage to buck the trend and be yourself. I commend those who stand out with their declaration of personal power.
However, it seems that standing out has also become a rite of passage insofar as the clothes one wears, hair colour, body piercings anddecorations. It may be viewed as a show of defiance rather than a proclamation of distinction.
It is not my intention to cast aspersions over one’s external appearance, nor label or judge others. I would also invite you to adopt the same attitude. We’re all doing the best we can given our level of awareness. Back to my main point.
As much as we yearn to be noticed, there are those who want nothing more than to uphold the status quo. They refuse to be acknowledged as being different for fear of having the spotlight cast upon them. They may be terrified to reveal their insecurities and foibles fearing they will be judged and labelled.
What if, instead of trying to fit in you allowed yourself to be who you really are? You see we’re all trying desperately to be someone we’re not, hiding behind a mask. The great mystic Joseph Campbell and the imminent psychologist Carl Jung proposed that in many ways we adopt the persona of an archetype as a protective shield – innocent, hero, caregiver, explorer, lover, sage etc. They reasoned that this persona resides in the collective unconscious and is tied to one’s core values and personality types.
Removing the mask by connecting with your core self allows a fundamental shift towards unification rather than separation. There are two questions which echo the complexity of this ideal, so allow me to clarify.
1. How do we get connect with the essence of our core self?
The core self is the spiritual essence of your being. It is grounded in the understanding that at the deepest level you are more than the physical self with thoughts and emotions. These are features which allow you to interact with your physical environment, yet they do not define you. Your thoughts and emotions are fleeting states that come and go like the ocean tides. It is unreasonable to attach yourself to them since they are transitory conditions. You may be angry today and at peace tomorrow – therefore how do you choose to define yourself based on those conditions?
The core self is often buried under conditioned beliefs, thoughts and ideas of an illusory self. Suffering occurs when we strive to uphold an image of who we think we should be. We create a persona, an image or likeness of who we have to be in order to feel secure, loved and self-worthy. Unfortunately life may not be so sympathetic with your alignment of self and may shatter this image via a personal crisis i.e. divorce, illness, bankruptcy etc.
The good news is that when we drop this image of who we think we should be, we allow the authentic self to emerge. The authentic self does not need to be defended or upheld, since it is egoless and transcends the limitations of time. Your authentic self is not constrained to the thoughts or beliefs about oneself – it is not limited to the needs of the ego.
2. What if in connecting with the core self, we dislike who we are?
You cannot oppose that which is the truth of your existence – the essence of your nature. You may have mistaken your spiritual essence with that of your egos; that part of you that has needs, wants and desires.
Suffering ensues when you disconnect with the true self, since you have chosen to identify with the ego instead. Your identification with unfavourable parts of your nature are the egoic qualities which you have attached yourself to. Instead of opposing them, allow them to meld into your spiritual being.
You cannot identify and experience something which you are not. You are not fear, anxiety, misery, sadness etc. These are mere states that you have connected with. The core self rises above these states by viewing them as transitory feelings, “I have the feeling of sadness” rather than “I am sad” may be a better way to express it. Be attentive to what you attach the prefix “I am ….” to, since this has the power to create empowering or negatives associations.
To become who you really are, make an effort to identify less with your thoughts, emotions, beliefs, ideas and values. I’m not suggested these are not essential elements of your being, yet they stand in the way of discovering your true essence. They impede your spiritual development, since they shroud the true self from emerging from beneath the shadow of what is already there – the timeless, loving nature of your soul calling you home.
It will look like this: Be Who You Really Are