In the current political vernacular, the word authentic has crept into use to mean “speaking one’s mind,” whether or not that includes comments that are racist, sexist, elitist, or homophobic. Some people think that saying things that others are afraid to say is being authentic when actually it’s often just voicing acquired opinions and prejudices. If you listen to the speechmaking and off-the-cuff comments of those currently running for office in the U.S., you can hear a broad spectrum of harsh judgments and angry finger-pointing. All of which has the effect of creating separation and mistrust among people. How did “authenticity” get mixed up in this unpleasant and alienating scenario?
Some would say that that’s just the way politics is, full of name-calling and insults. However, labeling such behavior as “authentic” is completely misleading. Saying anything that comes into your head is not authenticity. The dictionary defines authentic as “genuine.” Genuine, to me, is tied to integrity and heartfelt expression. Authenticity arises from a connection to the heart and soul. Actually, to be one’s true soul self is to be authentic. Authenticity originates in the soul, and the soul is pure love. It does not hold judgments about others; nor is it angry, defensive, and accusatory. The personality may indulge in those attitudes and behaviors, but the soul is always peaceful and at one with all people and all situations.
Speaking your mind is not the same thing as speaking from your soul. The mind stores all sorts of accumulated detritus over a lifetime. It can’t be relied upon for loving-kindness or peaceful coexistence unless it is connected to the heart and soul. That deep connection opens the mind to harmony and balance. If you are confronted by someone who is “speaking their mind,” the wisest response might be to just hold a space of quiet presence. To listen and then speak from the heart calmly and peacefully. Argument just engages the polarity part of the brain and keeps the separation alive. To be your authentic self, stay connected to the soulful part of you that only sees oneness, not “otherness.”
So, in its truest sense, authenticity is of the heart and soul. If we are living as our souls in the world—the open, loving beings we were at birth—we are being authentic. Many highly polarized human beliefs are being expressed loudly and publicly these days. Yet I believe it is all part of a re-centering process that this planet and humankind are undergoing. The judgments, hatred, and separation we have carried so long within the collective consciousness will eventually be dissolved, and our authentic soul selves will come together at last in love, peace, and harmony on Earth.
“love is the voice under all silences,
the hope which has no opposite in fear;
the strength so strong mere force is feebleness:
the truth more first than sun more last than star”—e.e. cummings