A Brief Description of Authenticity and It's Simple Strategies
This introduction describes what the book is about, why we wrote it, how you can get maximum benefit and some of the story behind its concepts.
Part One - Exploring Ten Beliefs That May Be Limiting Your Life
In this first chapter we define Authenticity from our point of view, with a special stress on what “authenticity” is not and how it applies in our own lives and in our search for greater alignment of body, mind, emotions and spirit. We also explore some of life’s fundamental questions. Why are we here? And how can we honor the gift of our life? A story about Stevie Wonder and one from Carl Jung’s autobiography add insight to the search for authenticity and help you to remember that this search is an inside out job. Finally, we identify the twelve qualities that help individuals to measure if they are leading Authentic lives and organizations to discover if they are practicing Authentic values.
The Only Game In Town
Beginning with an Egyptian Legend about The Feather of Truth, we look at how the search for greater meaning and purpose has been one of the main factors that differentiate those who achieve their dreams from those who do not. We also look at education, explore how its original meaning has been lost and how this loss can lead you to delegate your sovereignty, deny your own wisdom and loose your way in a sometimes frantic and often futile quest to discover the “why” of things.
A Most Critical Ingredient
To keep faith with our “still small inner voice” we believe we have to avoid our preoccupation with and obsession over the “games of life” that limit us. In this chapter we look at The Acquisition, Security, Money, Sex, Food, Drugs, Entertainment, Work Games, to name a few. We also remind you that “trying doesn’t do it”. Instead we invite you to look “a most critical ingredient,” – that the life you are now leading is the result of how you have lived up until now – including what you believe, what you value, what you know and do not know, what you place your attention on and the risks you have been willing to take.
This School Called The Earth
In this chapter we examine the belief that the search for success and importance often centers too exclusively on what we do and not how we do whatever we do. In short, on the destination and not the journey. We also take a close look at why so many of us feel confined in lives that are colored by frustration, dissatisfaction and a sense of failure. And since we never leave you without solutions, we also talk about a shift in perspective that will allow you to live your life more fully and to manifest your dreams more naturally and easily.
The Secret Is In The Basics
Many of us look for answers to our life challenges outside ourselves. We also tend to look for magic bullets or golden solutions that will hope will bring about major changes in our environment, our partners, our jobs or careers and sometimes even our geography. In this chapter we invite you to redirect your search much closer to home and to look at what you know and do not know, at the choices you make, and at basic day by day tasks and skills you practice as keys to creating a more meaningful, purposeful and above all, satisfying life.
The Fools Gold Of Happiness
The main premise of this chapter is that we believe our perpetual search for “happiness” and for that condition or experience that is different and, by implication, better than our current condition or experience, keeps us trapped in a cycle of disappointment and, of course, unhappiness. So, if happiness isn’t the answer, what is? In this chapter we explore the answer to this question by looking first at what Carl Jung called the difference between – believing and knowing. We also invite you through an inner doorway into communion with the wisdom of your soul and toward a real and genuine experience of grace, joy and authenticity.
Who Is (really) In Charge?
We believe that far too many of us labor under the mistaken belief that if we were in charge in our careers, our relationships, and our personal lives, whatever exists in each or any of these area that is now troubling or confusing us would be resolved or, at least, better. In this chapter, we give you some examples about the frailty and limitations of this belief from our work with a number of world leaders and high performing individuals. Finally we explore our believe that your life is the result of things that you “create, promote or allow” and that your attitude rather than your control plays a very major role in determining whether you lead a life of frustration and discontent or one of greater meaning and purpose.
Hope Is A Thing With Thorns
What are the limitations of hope, what we call the “false flavor of hope?” That’s the subject of this chapter. Using a story that Hermann Hesse tells about “the summer house” as a point of departure, we look at how a misunderstanding and misuse of daydreaming, envisioning and goal setting can have a very detrimental impact on our lives. On the other side of the coin, we also explore ways in which envisioning and goal setting can become the means by which your dreams can become your reality.
Everybody’s Got A Jones
In this chapter we turn our attention to the vernacular of the street where “a jones” is a habit and the people who have habits are labeled “addicts or junkies”. Not pleasant terms certainly nor are the ravages of the addictions themselves which is one of the reasons we believe so many of us go to great lengths to deny our own addictions while judging criticizing, and sometimes feeling sorry for those who suffer more blatantly from theirs. Along the way we talk about guilt and resentment and explore the more detrimental side projection that may be keeping you and the objects of your projection trapped in limiting cycles that deny your authenticity and growth.
Approval, The Deadliest of Games
The title of this chapter says it all. We believe that no other single practice is more limiting to our ability to lead lives of greater meaning and purpose than our constant quest for approval. This quest leads many of us away and not toward our own truth. It prompts us to do things that violate our own sense of values. And it keeps us captured in a continuous loop in which we delegate our sovereignty and sometimes even our self-respect all in the name of being accepted and approved of. How do you change this pattern? That is the subject of this chapter.
Part Two – Penetrating Those Thorny Myths That Block Authenticity
God Ain’t No Lady or Gentleman
This important next step on the road toward greater authenticity leads you through the subjects of humility and surrender to that always tricky territory, the subject of God. In these pages we share some of our personal beliefs and invite you to examine some of your beliefs in the hope you will discover if these beliefs limit or expand your ability to lead lives that are original and full of real meaning and purpose.
What Do You (really) Believe?
In this chapter we invite you to ask some fundamental questions. “If you believe in God; if you believe that this God is omniscient and omni-present, why you believe you have to do so much to make things happen? If you trust God, why do you worry so much? If you believe that God is in all things, how do you sometimes manage to value one person over another, one life form above another? Yes, in this chapter we get down to some basics and ask you to consider what your life would really be like if you genuinely trusted and served the God you say you believe in?
To Thine Own Self Be True!
In this chapter we go deeper into the concept that life is a school and that real mastery begins with the learning of the fundamental lessons life offers. We also examine the fact that our failure to learn these lessons often results in repetitive “cycles of pain”, cycles that continue unabated until we either master the lesson or our life ends. What has this got to do with the adage that is used as the title for this chapter? In our experience, only by accepting responsibility for your own life, only by accepting and learning the unique lessons life presents you with can you ever be true to yourself and in this way live a life of real meaning and purpose.
The “I” Of The Beholder
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” So goes the line from the fairytale. But how does this question apply in your life and your quest for greater meaning and purpose? We suggest that one of the ways you may sometimes lose your way is by looking into the mirror of life and forgetting that what you see is a reflection of the “I” who is doing the seeing. In this way you can become a prisoner of your projections, believing that what you see is real and then judging what you see as separate and different. In this chapter we invite you to go behind the smoke screen of projection and to discover how observation can be a key to your transformation.
Love, By Any Other Name Is Not The Same
This chapter begins with a story about Mother Teresa and goes on to invite you to remember that while love may indeed “make the world go round”; while it appears to come in many forms and have many faces, no matter which face it wears in the end the real question you must answer is – Are you courageous enough, ready enough to move beyond the superficial and artificial to true, deep and lasting love?
In The Name of Loving
We continue our exploration of love in this chapter, peeling back another layer to examine some of the things many of us do in the name of love that may not be very loving at all. In the name of loving we have proclaimed our commitment to high ideals and lofty values and then proceeded to criticize, judge, condemn and punish others. We have gone back on our word, demanded more than our share, abandoned and betrayed others, been less than honorable friends, insensitive neighbors and irresponsible members of our global family. So in this chapter we ask, doesn’t it seem strange that you spend so much time in pursuit and apparent worship at the altar of love and yet act in ways that contradict the essence of loving? And finally, we explore another important question. Wouldn’t it be nice if one of the things you did in the name of living was to express your love – fully, courageously, joyfully?
In this chapter we examine one of the thorniest myths of all – Original Sin. Yes we look at the story of Adam and Eve, the Garden, the Serpent and, of course, the stain that will not come clean. How do you live with it? Is it really your burden to carry? And, of particular importance, what if original sin is not a burden or a stain at all? These are a few of the questions we ask. Here are a few others. What if Original Sin is not about temptation or eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, but instead about a blessing? What if this so called “fall from grace” was not a fall, but a first and most essential step toward an extraordinary new level of consciousness and grace? What if Original Sin is an invaluable gift and not a burden or stain we must carry?
Death, The Grand Daddy Of All Beliefs
Death has many names and, of course, evokes many fears. Annihilation, termination, the end of the game. These are a just few. The end of the line, the last curtain, the grand reaper, are a few others. No one is immune to Death’s call and all of us have felt the pain of its presence through the loss of someone we love. As a result, most of us will do almost anything to avoid it. We try to deny its impact through work-out programs, diets, cosmetic surgery, and special cures, and when none of this eliminates its pull, we often move to outright denial and much more. Indeed, in this youth obsessed, end denying world, Death is both a specter and an ominous presence. Does it have to be this way? No, in this chapter we explore using Death as an ally. We invite you to learn to let Death be your teacher and guide; to turn toward Death and not away, to talk to it as you would an old and trust friend so that it can share it’s remarkable lessons with you.
Part Three – Turning Deliberately Toward Greater Meaning and Purpose
Learning To Talk To Yourself
To be alive in the 21 st Century is to be at least a little media mad and mind focused. In fact, most of us have been trained to live in a continuous, multi-track world of ten second visual cuts and full spectrum sound dialogue. What has this got to do with living a more authentic life? It this chapter we explore our contention that it has a great deal to do with our losing touch with ourselves. As a result, we think its time for you to start doing one of the things you have been told normal people should not do – talk to yourself. Yes talk and, above all, to listen to all of those remarkably divergent and even discordant voices that exist inside you and that can guide you to your true, distinct and original sound.
Turning Toward What Scares You
After more pain and confusion than either of us care to remember and certainly more than we ever want to relive, we have finally discovered that we have been making a fundamental mistake in dealing with a number of the challenges that come up in our lives. We have been turning away rather than toward the things – both inside and outside of ourselves – that frighten, trouble, confuse, confound, confuse and scare us. This chapter is about how you can also learn to turn back and benefit from the remarkable rewards that result from turning toward what scares you.
If You Are Not Here Now, You Are Nowhere
This chapter is about living in the “now”, the place where everything that you require and desire can be found. It’s about some of the obvious things you may be overlooking each day that can make a real difference in the quality and content of our lives. “The beginning of wisdom is a firm grip on the obvious,” a wise old saying suggests and this is one of the messages we explore. Another is that all of your efforts to avoid, deny or run away from pain are not only futile, but in the end only serve to increase the amount of our pain in your life. It is only in returning to the “now” that you will discover that there is no future in the past, and that there does not need to be as much pain in the future.
Moving Beyond Pain
In this chapter we invite you to differentiate between physical and emotional pain and show what this practice can contribute to a more authentic life. In fact, in this chapter we suggest that by learning to work with this distinction between physical and emotional pain can be one of the most powerful and immediate tools you can employ in living a more meaningful and purposeful life. And this is no small thing when you consider that the amount and frequency of your emotional pain far exceeds the amount and frequency of your physical pain.
Crossing The Zone of Risk
“Security is mostly superstition,” Helen Keller tells us in the quote that opens this chapter. As is certainty, safety and a number of other conditions so many of us seek. In short, we believe you cannot avoid danger and your inclination to avoid risk because of some past misstep, confusion or hurt is not only unhealthy, it is downright contrary to your ability to lead full, valuable and satisfying lives. In this chapter we show you how the history of our world is largely comprised of stories about men and women who have faced various challenges, sometimes incredible odds and seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve new levels of consciousness, bring forward new ideas and concepts and introduce us to new discoveries. Crossing the Zone of Risk we suggest is your only direct path to an “authentic life.”
What Needs To Be Done Is (only) The Doing
We believe that one of the primary secrets to living a life of real meaning and purpose and to experiencing your original and authentic self is learning to differentiate between thinking and doing. No easy task, in a world in which you are taught to worship the mind. In this chapter we explore the difference between real and imagined action and give you a fail proof litmus test and other valuable and practical suggestions for aligning your life with the deepest longings of your soul.
Where Is It Written?
“Energy follows thought and manifestation follows energy.” In this chapter we continue to explore this and another fundamental law. “Thoughts persisted in produce states of consciousness, and states of consciousness persisted in produce physical manifestation.” Taken together these two primary laws will help you to remember that what you experience in life is directly impacted, indeed in so many ways specifically created by what you think and how you manifest those thoughts into the physical reality around you. This chapter also contains Six Steps Toward Greater Authenticity and Three Simple Guidelines that can make a significant difference in living the life you were born to live.
Who Cares Why…How Is The Answer!
In this success-mad, often frenetically paced, media driven world, it is easy to get caught up in the obsession with information. Our world, in fact, seems so enamored with the “why” of things, experiences, people and events; so attached to rational and logical explanations; so certain that science is the key to unlocking the ultimate power of life that you may have forgotten that the difference between “believing” and “knowing”, between hypothesis and direct experience does not reside in the realm of “why”, but in “how”. Exploring this understanding and its direct impact on your ability to live the life you have always wanted to live is the essential ground covered in this chapter.
Part Four – Practicing A Few Simple Strategies That Can Change Your Life
We have talked about this subject before. In fact, Saying Yes To Change is the title of our last book. Here we look further at the extraordinary power of this three letter word and how it’s companion “No”, used all too frequently and for many of the wrong reasons, can deter you from doing a lot the things you need to do to in order to live a life of greater meaning and purpose. Exploring what we call the “habit of No” and learning to replace it with life affirming, love fulfilling, authentic producing Yes is the gift this chapter offers you.
Divide And Be Conquered
Although history is filled with examples in which the strategy of divide and conquer has been utilized, it is our belief that this strategy deals primarily with battlefields and warfare. As a result we offer different advice. Avoid a division of focus and energy, avoid splitting of parts of attention and becoming what the world calls successful through the willing practice of “attention deficit disorder”. Instead learn to bring the full strength and power of your consciousness into this and every other present moment of your life. “Here and now,” is where life happens and having your full faculties present and accounted for is, indeed, one of the essential strategies that will lead you to a more authentic life.
Trust In Your Goodness
Many of us struggle in today’s pressure packed world between doing what we believe are the right and responsible things to do and what we are sometimes called or urged by our internal voice to do; between the demands that arise in our relationships with others and those that arrive in our relationship with ourselves. In this chapter we examine this struggle and explode one of the underlying myths that drives it - what we call the ‘bogus struggle between good and bad.” In short, we believe that “goodness and love” are the primary notes in the Cosmic Symphony and that by following your heart and learning to listen to the prompts that issue from that “still small inner voice” you actually move toward the life you were born to live.
Listen For Your Meaning In The Silence
In a world filled with so much noise, it is sometimes hard to hear our own wisdom and to separate what we know and feel, what is important and valuable, unique and essential from what the world tells us we are supposed to know, think and do. In this chapter we explore the simple but powerful and life changing strategy of learning to listen to yourself in the silence. We also explore the “inner noise” that you create and some of the choices you can make to follow your breath and experience the remarkable new landscape of discovery that exists within you.
Remember Energy Doesn’t Care
This chapter is about learning to understand and demonstrate the laws governing the human heart and true harmony and collaboration. It is about exploring a path that can take you to a more just, sane and sustainable way of life and to a more elevated positive level of human consciousness. Does this require the unlocking of some secret formula? Does it await some startling scientific discovery, like the mapping of the DNA? No, in this chapter we explore another simple, but extraordinarily powerful strategy that holds that energy is neither positive nor negative (not in polarity but in value) and that the key to a more aligned, original and meaningful life is in learning how you can use this faithful servant and remarkable ally to your advantage.
Surrender To Surrender
Giving up is not un-American. Surrender is not a sign of weakness or defeat, but a recognition of the part we play in what Albert Einstein refers to as the “cosmic orchestra.” “A human being,” he suggests, “is part of the whole called by us the universe.” So in this chapter we explore another simple strategy that can overturn a number of the limiting beliefs that may be prevent you from leading a more authentic life. We explore the Law of Resistance which holds that whatever you resist you are stuck with and the Law of Futility that speaks to how much time and energy you might be wasting struggling against life instead of learning to flow with it and the many remarkable lessons and opportunities it offers.
Know It Ain’t What You Don’t Know
Many of us spend a large part of our lives in a somewhat agonized, often frenzied and almost always frustrating search for “the answer.” In short, we spend years in this process of struggling after some “key” that we hope will unlock a hidden doorway to some condition of being that is better and more perfect, more satisfying or joyful, more successful or grace-filled than whatever our life offers in our present moment. During this search we cling tenaciously to the belief that once we discover this key everything will be fine. In this chapter we debunk this belief and propose a strategy that can allow you to understand that the power to lead a more meaning life is not contained in what you don’t know, but in what you already know and already have.
Remember You Can Go Home Again
The title of this chapter which comes from the title of a classic novel by Thomas Wolfe has become a cliché. The problem with the cliché is that it can lead you away from rather than toward a fundamental truth. Not only is it true that you can go home again, but we believe this is, in fact, the only reason you are here. Your task, your quest, your purpose in being alive is to live life fully, to learn all that you can and then to take the fruits of this life and learning home with you. This shift in awareness is the beginning of this simple strategy that can bring greater meaning and purpose into one’s life. As Thich Hnat Hahn, the Vietnamese Monk and Noble Prize nominee, suggests – on the in breath say “I have arrived,” and on the out breath I say, “I am home.”
Explore etc (Eternally Traveling Consciousness)
In this chapter we suggest that this familiar three letter symbol is actually an acronym for one of the most powerful and remarkable strategies of all. It is also a key to a new level of understanding and awareness about the possibilities that life offers you. When you view it as an acronym for “eternally traveling consciousness” you give yourself a wake up call. Used in this way these three letters help you to remember that your awareness is unlimited and ever expanding; that when you let go of the idea that there is an endgame or future reward, this moment and this experience, this right here and now can become a doorway to heaven on earth.
Live Now and Forever
Each moment is a choice point. Each moment is an opportunity for you to learn and to grow. Each moment is also the very best moment in which to inherit your destiny. These and other concepts are discussed in this chapter as we explore another strategy that can lead you out of what Eckhart Tolle calls the “prison of psychological time.” We also share the story of the Magic Knife, examine the Law of The Obvious and talk about the breath and how it can lead us home.
It’s As Simple As That, Olie!
The final and perhaps the simplest strategy of all is to remember that life is simple. Yes you can complicate it, make yourself seem more important by doing all these challenging, intricate and important things, or you can come back to the truth, the elegant, remarkable and simple truth. Breath is your key. Life actually happens only in the here and now. All that you require you already possess. And following your heart, aligning with your meaning and purpose, expressing your love and celebrating the precious gift of life is the real reason you are here on Earth. And it is, as they say, “as simple as that, Olie!
We hope these relatively brief descriptions of the chapters in our book have served you and we invite you to join us for this journey toward greater meaning and purpose called Authenticity.