Valuing authenticity

Valuing authenticity 

Being unapologetically you

authetic manIn personal growth communities there is often an emphasis on authenticity.  It seems to be one of the popular themes in the spiritual and relational world.  Its fascinating that authenticity, or, simply being unapologetically ourselves, is something that we have to “work on”.  Working on being ourselves, who we naturally and innately are, seems kind of silly when you really think about it.  Yet this is where we are at in our development.  

So why are we fake? From where did all of our inauthenticity and pretending arise?  At some point on this human journey we learned that simply being who we are was either not enough, too much, or it wasn’t safe to be ourselves.  Through this learning we developed patterns of inauthenticity in order to feel safe, accepted and loved.  It’s basically that simple in a nutshell.  

What is it to feel safe, accepted and loved, and be yourself?  To say the things that are in your heart to say.  To act from and trust your intuitive knowing without having to rationally and logically justify yourself, and without doubting yourself.  To know that you are kind, good and loving and that your intention is not to do harm, but to be of benefit and simply share and express yourself naturally without effort or fear of rejection or hurting others.  Being authentically you isn’t a permission slip to be a douche bag and act in unkind and unloving ways, but that isn’t who you actually are anyways, now is it?  

To be authentic it is a requirement that we love and value ourselves.  Without this, valuing authenticity is an impossibility.  We have to know that our heart is pure and clean.  We must remove the doubt in our mind as to what our essential nature is.  This creates the solid ground from which we can feel safe and trust that it’s ok to relax, be present and naturally express as we feel so moved to do so.   

From fake to real 

Dismantling your masks

Woman breathing fresh air in winter on the beachDismantling our masks ultimately brings rest and freedom, however it can be quite uncomfortable at first.  At times it may even be hard to distinguish between what is a mask and what is you.  When you’ve worn some of these masks for such a long time you may actually think that the mask is who you are.  You may even be attached to or like some of your masks even though they are not really true to your most essential nature.  

How do you know a mask from you?  Masks always come with the a few key qualities.  One is that you have to maintain them, meaning you always have to show up in a particular way or you fear you might lose something.  That something is related to a sense of external security and/or approval of yourself by others.  This constant maintaining is often exhausting and overtime people begin to feel stressed or burnt out.  The stress and burnout is from maintaining something that you actually are not.  When you are yourself you are not stressed, you are simply in your natural expressive rhythm and flow.  

Another quality of a mask is that they create an underlying feeling of separation.  When you are wearing a mask or you are not being you, you feel separate from other people.  There is a you and them.  This can show up as feeling isolated from others or like you don’t belong.  Or there can be the need to prove yourself through rationalization, speaking “logically”, or competing subtlety or overtly with others.  It can feel like if someone else wins then you lose or vis versa and with this it can feel hard to be happy for others successes, or sometimes your own. 

With masks there is often a mismatch with what you are really feeling and what you tell the world that you are feeling.  Many people put on the “I am fine” mask everyday and they may even believe it themselves, but you can palpably feel when someone is wearing this mask and they are not congruent in what they feel like and what they say they feel like.  

The crucial point in moving from fake to real is in identifying your masks and slowly laying them to rest.  It takes courage and the willingness to feel vulnerable and uncomfortable at first.  With time your comfortable level with relaxing and being yourself will increase and before you know it you will be ok with just being you.  That is the ultimate embrace of self-love.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Physiology follows perception

Physiology follows perception

The filters to perception

filterWe are all familiar with the mind-body connection.  We conceptually know that beliefs, thoughts and emotions effect our body.  Something we think can produce tension in our muscles or pain in our stomach.  With this knowing many of us still do not investigate our beliefs when tension, pain or dysfunction arises in the body.  Instead we go to some physical thing that we are doing or not doing, such as our diet, exercise, or sleep that must be the culprit.  

Why is it that this is our first reaction?  The truth is most people are not adept at paying attention to their feelings and thoughts or investigating their beliefs.  Instead the relationship to feelings and thoughts is typically only to try and stop the thoughts during meditation or figure out how to get relief from feelings that don’t feel good.  Most of us don’t automatically go towards feeling the uncomfortable feeling, noticing our thoughts or investigating what is creating the feeling or thought in the first place, which is the belief.  If we did we wouldn’t need to stop our thoughts or resist our feelings anymore, instead we would get to the core or their creator, our perception.  

Perception is the lens with which we look at life.  The filters for our perception are our beliefs.  If you imagine clear perception (before any beliefs) you would simply have pure light, or pure awareness.  Think of this as your primordial state before you learned anything.  You were totally clear, pure, innocent, light.  You can see this light in newborn babies or baby animals.  That’s why we love them so much!  You will also notice in babies that they are not resisting their uncomfortable feelings, but instead simply expressing their discomfort.  Likewise they are not thinking yet as their mental faculties are not yet developed, so they have no thoughts to resist or contend with either.  In fact they are a total blank state, or pure in their perception.

As life progresses we learn things from others and in that learning we develop filters (aka beliefs) that begin to color our perception.  Instead of our perception being clear it now bends or distorts creating ripples in the fabric of our clear awareness.  This is how we begin to create our reality so to speak.  Our filters determine and decide what we see, how we see and that quite literally create the reality that we perceive.  That reality that we perceive then obeys the laws of our filters (beliefs).  It literally can not.   

Perception is chemistry 

Identified as a body

10618311 - test tubes in the laboratory on a gray backgroundOk now that we understand perception lets tie this back into our physiology, our chemistry and the experience of having a body.   Depending on your particular filters that color your perception you create not only your reality at large, but also your body and how your body functions (its physiology and chemistry).  From this perspective you can ultimately see how you are the creator.  Now most of us don’t really know that we are the creator, instead we think we are a body, but really we are the perception that creates the body.   Take a moment and let that really register and sink in.  

Now when you are identified as a body (instead of the perception that creates the body) you feel powerless or victim to how the body expresses.  You have to wait or try and figure out what the perfect conditions are that will hopefully support your health and vitality.  This comes back to why our focus first goes to the things in our environment that we can somehow physically manipulate or change.  Our hope is that by manipulating or changing these things that our physical body and physiology will change too.  Now sometimes this works, or works for a little a while, and sometimes it doesn’t.  When it seems to not work and we have tried it enough times to realize it isn’t working, we may get curious about what else is creating this situation in our body/physiology.  Here is when people may start to explore their emotions, become aware of repressed emotions, things they have buried and haven’t allowed themselves to feel, and they begin to feel them.  This is a step closer to empowerment because you are getting more subtle than just working with physical manipulation of objects and things in your environment.  You are including more of you in the process and that comes with a sense of increasing empowerment rather than simply having to wait for some physical thing to change.  

Often once you have been able to access some of the more deeply stored emotions you begin to have more inner space and with that the ability to become more aware of your thoughts.  You may start to notice the direct connection between a thought that you have, how that makes you feel and the effects it has on your body/physiology.  Once this is realized the next step is to investigate the thought and see what belief (or filter) created that thought.  Say for example you recognize that you have the thought “I’ve done something wrong” and it comes with the feeling of overwhelm and the sensation of gripping in your gut.  If you have this much awareness you can now investigate the belief that created the thought “I’ve done something wrong”.  In investigation you realize that you have a filter/belief that shines the color of there being “rightness and wrongness.”  When you can see at this level you can even begin to then transcend the belief itself and return into the primordial, pure awareness state, before anything was learned or created into manifestation.  It is from this place in awareness that you can dissolve filters and begin to re-create a new reality and a new body/physiology for yourself.  This is the ultimate empowerment because you are now in your true state rather than identified with your body.  When you are identified with your body it is very hard to make changes in your chemistry/physiology without the use of physical agents.  Once you become increasingly subtle in your awareness, starting with emotions, than thoughts, beliefs and finally pure awareness itself, shifting the physical manifestation becomes easier and easier.  Your need to rely on external agents become less and less.  

It is my theory that one of the biggest reasons why conditions, pains and disease manifest in the physical body/physiology is to help us realize more of what we are and more of our power.  They do this though showing us where we are still misidentified as something other than the pure awareness (which is so clearly seen in a baby) and where we are giving away our power.  When we can learn to use things that arise in our physical body as teachers in this way we can greatly accelerate our journey into remembering, reconnecting and embodying our truest Self or identity while here in this body on this planet.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado