The practice of being real is something highly underrated. We have been taught to appear in certain ways to get the approval of others. We may have fallen prey to the image makers who tell us how to dress, what colors are “ours” and how to be politically correct. The pressure to fit in is strong but not very intelligent. The really great people we admire, the ones who have contributed to our greater good, are always those who refuse to comply! They invariably are radical thinkers, fearlessly individual but at the same time allow for others to also stand out.
Shakespeare said it best “to thine own self be true and as the night follows the day, thou canst be false to any man.” Those who know who they are, are not confused about what is theirs to do! They are able to enroll others by simply being present with their energy and vision. This is spiritual maturity. The opposite of that is psychologically adolescent. We are all unique and have something to bring unlike anyone else. To be afraid to shine is to deny our spiritual nature.
That being said, being real does not mean complaining and holding others responsible for our experience. Martin Luther King Jr. did not complain. He had a vision and he stood up for it, unwilling to be silenced. He learned from Gandhi, but he did not copy him or dress like him or shave his head. He brought his own true self into the movement for freedom that Gandhi modeled so well. We are not a different species of human from these two fine examples, but we do need to drop the pretenses and let ourselves be seen and known for who we truly are.
Carol Carnes â€‹is a New Thought teacher, an ordained minister of International Centers for Spiritual Living, a world traveller who has been in the company of HH the Dalai Lama and other world leaders in small group dialogues. She is a member of the Association for Global New Thought and an inductee into the Martin Luther King International chapel Board of Preachers at Morehouse College.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does the practice of being real mean to you? Can you share a personal experience of a time you were not afraid to shine? What helps you avoid falling into the trap of the ego while being true to your voice?
I catch myself when I am being 'unreal' by the tightness of my body and the closeness of the mind- as if I will not allow anyone in that ambit ! When I have let go of what I was hanging on to, I feel the space expand inside of me and I know then that is the real me! Everything is possible thereafter...
Being real means acceptiing my emotions....even anger, frustrations and other neg emotions in me first ....being aware that each moment what i feel is my own truth and nothing but the truth ....for me ....in the now....and the aware acceptance of
the action that follows this acceptance....
I will never forget the words of my childhood spiritual mentor upon my entering into a committed relationship with my boyfriend. She said, "always remember who you are!"
When I graduated from a Catholic College, Sr. Josephine's (my college advisor) final instruction was to "be who you are."
Mother would, too, offer that I do all things in the way only I know how to do them.
Since each of us is an "original" we out be more true to ourselves. Uniquely, God "packed" us to "do life" in the only way WE can. There are so many "ways" to accomplish the same task. No ONE way is THE absolute correct way, we need to give "our bend" to life. . . Be ourselves.
Since I am the "boss of my body", everyday I have the opportunity to decide to "be me"or "to be "like" someone else." (Additionally, I don't think God meant for us to be anyone other than ourselves.)
Realness is a rich conscious life and being real can also be unsettling for me. When I am emotionally honest and real I feel like I antagonize people and I embarrass them. I want to communicate the whole of me, the bad along with the good, doubts along with certainties, yet not all people want to be aware of human incongruities. I feel like others wish I was not so candid about myself. I may feel if it is the authentic thing to do, to reveal myself with directness and be genuine, even at the expense of pain, but others do not like this message. It can distance me from people because my willingness to talk about flaws and irrationalities that appears to be painful and disturbing for people.
My being real can also move me into self-absorption rather than principles. When I get caught into feeling something is missing in my life I want to find the source of my unease. It can cause me to compare myself to others and I will believe others possess qualities I do not have. Other people had better childhoods, better parents, or just better luck. People seem more alive and more whole, better careers, more productive lives, better marriages. The problem is being real can make me over identify with my inner deficiency and my wound.
Gradually over the years I have learned my ego needs this constant support and reinforcement. It needs to compare me to those other people. For example, when I am feeling confused and unanchored to anything permanent within it creates this constant self-questioning and start comparing myself to others. My ego needs this particular identity and then I go off in the impossible task of doing the best it knows how, looking at those people. This creates this fixation that makes me extremely self-conscious and it profoundly cuts me off from any source of identity. So from this I have learned I cannot do anything to be myself or to be real.
Realness is now learning to rest and to become aware of Being itself is my true identity. The more I try to resolve a particular image or even become a particular image the more I lose contact with who I am. Realness is the immediate richness of Being. It is not separate from anything and is learning to genuinely rest, which creates this creative flow. It cannot be otherwise. So to me being real is creating an opening to my hidden depths and simply resting in being true to this identity.
This awareness has both devil and the angel, and I can be sensitive to both. It is now transcending this ego self, a complete letting go, by being true to what IS. The ISNESS is Being real. It is a leap of faith and learning to allow nothing to “stick” in my consciousness. This is edgy, like a walk into nothingness, yet faith is the support and everything emanates from there. So to me, being real is realistic faith and is its own value without reference to anything or anyone.
I need to say, being real is recognizing the miracle of your existence and is the significance of your presence.
Even my best friends tell me that no one our age has natural hair color anymore, and I simply smile and say I'll be a flag-bearer. I hold on to the experience when a little girl came up to touch my hair to tell me that she had only ever seen all white or all black hair, but never seen black and white hair on the same head.
I think we need to be careful not to confuse being "real" with "doing your own thing". Suppose one has very strong beliefs, but they are not those of a kind and compassionate person. Should they be true to themselves? Should they be real?
Being real, or true to oneself, should be coupled with being kind to others. Being real means opening your heart and not being afraid to change. I feel most true to myself when I'm not trying. When I am just being, when I let go of my ego...that's when I'm being real. When I'm serving others without expectations, whether it be through small acts of kindness or just everyday interactions...that's when I'm being <3.
Being true to oneself gives enormous self-confidence.
Being real is our right and privilege and responsibility. It means being myself, accepting my experience, expressing my truth. What could be more important? To me, that's what it means to carry my cross and lay down my life. And my success in doing all that is limited. I'm often self-conscious and concerned about someone being upset by my truth, and I hold back and don't be real, I'm sad to say. I often don't avoid falling into the trap of the ego. Sometimes I'm not afraid to "shine," such as in these Awakin posts -- perhaps the anonymity makes it easier for me. When I am real, I feel great. Being real is its own reward. Sometimes being real really is dangerous, but usually it's well worth the risk. I hope to expand into being real much more often. I think it helps me to keep reminding myself that I have the right to say my truth and be my real self. I'm being real more often -- it's the struggle of my life.[Hide Full Comment]
Being real means being true to oneself, one's heart. For me that means sharing my heart with others, offering FREE HUGS to strangers, telling Stories, learning Stories, being curious, being whimsical, being serious, being open minded and open hearted.I feel fortunate that I have allowed myself to be who I am for quite a long time. This came from growing up in a difficult household, my father suffered from severe clinical depression and tried to kill himself several times, he died when I was 22. My father was never allowed to shine. He never figured out How to shine. My mother has anxiety, she is so concerned about what others think, it completely incapacitates her. My brother turned to alcohol for comfort. I turned to Theatre. And in doing so discovered a place to Shine. To become and learn and grown and BE. I carry my bubbles and FREE HUGS sign with pride. I am a Storyteller who serves others to shine and share their stories. I am GRATEFUL. What helps me to stay true to myself is reminding myself of how fulfilling life feels when one is true to oneself. And I remind myself of the myriad of experiences I've had personally that opened up to opportunities for growth when I am me. Hugs to all of us on the journey![Hide Full Comment]