I would like to touch upon an interesting topic in this blog. I do enjoy writing about Authenticity, self-actualization, individualization and yet, Authenticity itself, as sublime and as rare an attainment as it is, it is only a stage of human psychological-transpersonal identity development, as far as I can see. And to me, Authenticity is really only an introduction to really peaceful and enlightened inner life.
For sure, long and strenuous years can be dedicated to attaining and stabilizing at the stage of awareness called Authenticity or Authentic Level or Centuar (as per Wilber). And all the while the struggle and effort to become Authentic, to lead an Authentic life and to employ the inner potentials by self-actualizing them is a must – all of that may inevitably become an obstacle when and if one wants to move on from Authentic level to more spiritual ones, i.e. Subtile, Causal and Nondual.
Authenticity in this context and for me means self-actualization, individualization and clearing up all the personal dramas or
the Shadow, to use a Jung term. For me, Shadow in this context translates to everything one believes that is wrong with others, the world and oneself. And it can take long years of dedicated work on those personal issues.
Also, being truly Authentic does not translate to dogmatically following certain set of rules, not even the ones from other Authentic individuals (Maslow, Rogers, Marshall etc…). Authenticity comes from the heart and there are as many authentic individuals as there are human beings, way beyond any kind of convention, injunction or rule. That’s how I perceive the Authentic level at the moment.
I have written extensively on the subject of this level of human awareness (browse my previous blogs, here >> , ) and also a short intro to the overall (Wilber) map of human stages of consciousnesses (see also blog in Identity development >> )
In this blog, however, I would like to express myself about the levels or stages of human identity development which lay well beyond Authenticity.
For me, those levels of awareness are what power up my life, rejuvenate my wonder, as it were, and make sense to all in and around me. Yes, the Authenticity itself is an important stage of human identity development and it simply can not be skipped over. But, after attaining it and really living it, one may begin to wonder if that is all that it is attainable. Well, the answer is, thanks God, no.
Authentic level is only a stage, one of many and, to me, not really all that satisfying.
Let me share my subjective thoughts
At the Authentic level, one may be called to individualize his own cognitive processes, to self-actualize his own inner talents and potentials and to start living according to his / her sweet freedom of choice in ALL areas of life: intimate, private, public, business, spare time, inter-personal – everything may be included.
And to attain all that, well, it takes effort, facing the inner dis-harmonies, clearing out the suppressed emotions, overcoming mental negativity etc… Also assuming full responsibility for ones thoughts, emotions, words and actions may also play an important part in the process.
The Authentic Self, which seems to be at the core of the Authentic level is always active, unique, and wants to be in control. So structure, self created rules and battles won through hard work – that is what a person on the Authentic level may define himself / herself through.
I create my own life – that is the motto an Authentic person might live by. And again, it may take years, maybe even decades to really attain that precious level where one can with all sincerity proclaim that s/he is happy because s/he does only what s/he wants to. And it makes him/her very happy.
Maybe that’s why tiredness and fatigue is so common at this level?
But, when inspiration surfaces to move on to more spiritual levels of awareness, a problem may present itself:
an Authentic person is used to work hard, to secure victories by making the necessary effort, to be active, to change things, to excel in bringing changes into his life according to his sweet will. There always seems to be an action and reaction, a structure, principles and rules at this level.
In my experience and to me it is very very useful and important to separate the Authentic level from the Transpersonal ones. The understanding of the inns and outs of the Authentic level and what differentiates it from the Subtle one (and beyond), is what added to clarity and understanding in my case. Thank you Wilber!
The strategies that may really work at that level are BEING ACTIVE, MAKING EFFORT, CHANGING THINGS, ASSUMING RESPONSIBILITY ETC…
On the Subtle level in my experience, however, none of those strategies work. None.
The Subtle level in this context means the first of three truly spiritual, transpersonal and non-material levels of human awareness (as per established Wilber map).
A person at the Subtle level (or beyond) is not limited by material strategies anymore. No more “I create my own world”, making effort is not needed anymore and to change things, well, at transpersonal levels, it is futile. That’s my experience.
While the Authentic self is directed onwards, to the outside world, the Subtle self or Soul, on the other hand, is directed inwards.
The main difference between Authentic and Subtle levels (or beyond) is that the later are already perfect. Transpersonal selves (the Subtle, Causal and Nondual) already are perfect, are eternal, and need no effort. There is no need to win or change anything, simply because all is already attained. There is no need to clear up anything, no Shadow, no dramas etc…
I have seen more or less Authentic persons trying to apply the same strategies that are effective at the Authentic level to their spiritual quests.
To my eye, it is like trying to raise the stormy waves in an already perfectly calm lake of clear and serene water.
An Authentic person may still want to change things, to make an effort to change to attain the spiritual levels of consciousness, all the while there is NO NEED for such action, struggle and change.
There is one more glaring difference between Authentic and Transpersonal levels of existence: on the Authentic level the underlying concept is change, effort and creating my own life. On the spiritual, the Subtle level, on the other hand, the underlying leading quality is surrender.
Surrender to what already is perfect, whole, immortal and eternal. There is no need to change things, to alter oneself, to create some new reality. No.
At these spiritual levels, everything already is perfect, peaceful, utterly fulfilling and beyond any change. All it takes is surrender to what already exists, eternally.
The above photo:
Anandamayi Ma in deep samadhi (a state of spiritual awareness, well beyond Authenticity).