Thursday, March 01, 2007

Revealing Your True Self

This is today's Daily Om, a good reminder that we often live our lives far removed from who we really are. Doing so can lead to all kinds of problems, including depression, anxiety, physical illness, and other forms of suffering.
Essential Authenticity
Revealing Your True Self

Identity is an elusive concept. We feel we must define ourselves using a relatively small selection of roles and conscious character traits, even if none accurately represents our notion of "self." The confusion surrounding our true natures is further compounded by the fact that society regularly asks us to suppress so much of our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual vibrancy. Yet we are, in truth, beings of light-pure energy inhabiting physical bodies, striving for enlightenment while living earthly lives. Our true selves exist whether we acknowledge them or not, often buried under fears and learned behavior. When we recognize our power, our luminosity, and our divinity, we cannot help but live authentic lives of appreciation, potential, fulfillment, and grace.

At birth and throughout your childhood, your thoughts and feelings were more than likely expressions of your true self. Though you may have learned quickly that to speak and act in a certain fashion would win others' approval, you understood innately that you were no ordinary being. There are many ways you can recapture the authenticity you once articulated so freely. Meditation can liberate you from the bonds of those earthly customs that compel you to downplay your uniqueness. Also, communing with nature can remind you of the special role you were meant to play in this lifetime. In order to realize your purpose, you must embrace your true self by letting your light shine forth, no matter the consequences.

Rediscovering who you are apart from your roles and traits takes time and also courage. If, like many, you have denied your authenticity for a long while, you may find it difficult to separate your true identity from the identity you have created to cope with the world around you. Once you do find this authentic self, however, you will be overcome by a wonderful sense of wholeness as you reconcile your spiritual aspect and your physical aspect, as well as your inner- and outer-world personas. As you gradually adjust to this developing unity, your role as a being of light will reveal itself to you, and you will discover that you have a marvelous destiny to fulfill.
Psyche doesn't like to be ignored. Our true nature is free-spirited, loving, compassionate, joyful, and expansive. But as we grow up, nearly all of us lose parts of this as a result of trying to satisfy other people's expectations, especially our parents. If we are really unfortunate, our parents may have smashed that free-spirited and vulnerable being into a box of restriction and conformity.

When we lose this inner child, as I have struggled with most of my life, our lives can feel flat and meaningless. The essential self grows out of that child. We can become rigid in our approach to life, controlling of our surroundings, and cut off from any real emotional contact with others. Psyche will tolerate this for a while, but eventually it will start to throw up symptoms to get our attention.

Depression and anxiety are two of the primary symptoms for a lot of people. Physical illness also arises, sometimes as a direct result of doing something so far from who we are that psyche has no other choice than to throw a hand grenade into our lives. We usually ignore it and pay the price later.

Getting back to this essential self, this vulnerable and curious and open inner being, can be very difficult. Therapy helps, meditation helps, identifying our subpersonalities helps, being in nature helps, and crying helps -- even loving our pets or playing with children can help. One of most direct ways into that part of ourselves is the recognition that it has been lost, especially when we see it in others. Mourning that pain, feeling the fear and loss that keeps it repressed and releasing those feelings can help us get back to the deeper part of ourselves.

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