The evolving edge for humanity is co-creating our futures together. I’m talking about using the alchemy of consciousness to create what we want from nothing! But, there is a threshold we must cross before we can fully participate in this leading edge game of life. We each must become familiar with our own internal landscape – our own consciousness. Why? Because the world we see and experience with our five senses reflects our consciousness. Our consciousness is composed of our thoughts, beliefs, feelings and memories.
There is a problem, though; we can’t fake our consciousness. It is what it is. We can’t pretend we are further along than we really are because what we call "reality" mirrors where we truly are in our personal and collective development, whether we like it or not. Consciousness = Results. It’s as powerful a force of nature as gravity.
Creating Masks and Personas
Historically, in human relationships our survival required the capacity to create a mask we could hide behind. This is akin to the camouflage we see in the animal kingdom, of puffing ourselves up to appear bigger, or changing our colors to blend in with the landscape or playing dead. In the human kingdom it shows up in the personas we inhabit. We can play the smart one, the hero, the funny one, the non-threatening one. We usually have a set of personas or masks that we can pull out at a moment’s notice, depending on the need at hand.
Your consciousness cannot be faked. It is what it is.
Historically, we had to get good at hiding our feelings and pretending so we could stay safe or manipulate others to do what we wanted them to do. You know, acting sexy when you feel miserable, acting strong when insecurity is nudging its way into the driver’s seat of your experience. Also, you may act competent when you are really clueless or act unruffled when your feelings are hurt. These are some very handy skills. Some of us have perfected them to an art form.
We have gained the ability to manufacture a “mask” or an “act” automatically without even having to think about it. Survival skills do get automated. It has been necessary to finesse an appropriate persona in an instant. We are on automatic and we can’t even see ourselves doing it.
And, what is this hard won, centuries old talent costing you? Anything? You bet its costing you! It costs you personally, plus all the people who love you and all the people you want to create a future with.
Do you know what function your masks serve? Can you name your acts? Do you observe them functioning in your relationships? If you can’t, your personal power is limited. You are holding yourself back because you can’t be honest with yourself about the fear that makes your choices for you. You are not free to consciously co-create a shared future.
In my view, we are living at a momentous time in our human evolution. As a species, we must be able, at will, to lay down our methods of control and manipulation, so we can wield a higher octave power to cooperate and understand our impact on the whole of life. There is no loss in this. It’s like trading in a hand screwdriver for a power drill. Which one would you pick? The tool that works faster, easier and more effectively, or the other one?
The "Authenticity Movement"
Have you heard of the “authenticity movement”? It has built up so much momentum in our culture there are actually Authenticity Coaches! I’ve witnessed this movement gathering momentum in my lifetime. I’ve watched it being distinguished as a value in popular culture and I’ve seen it spread virally in the form of classes, workshops and practice groups.
Why on earth would something like this be getting so much attention? Why would people be investing their time, their money, their sweat and tears learning how to do it? Because authenticity is now a survival skill and we can’t learn to do it alone. We can only practice and master this skill in our relationships with others.
Learning to be lovingly, emotionally and courageously authentic is the foundation for building a new kind of trust necessary to usher in a new norm of cooperation. We can’t fake our sincerity. We can’t fake our consciousness. We can’t fake proficiency.
Speaking Your Truth
And it’s uncomfortable, even frightening learning to put our masks down and allowing others to truly see us as we are, however we are. If you don’t know that, you haven’t tried being vulnerable in public lately. It’s not as easy as we would like it to be. It reminds me of the old trick of trying to pat your head while you rub circles on your tummy.
“You mean you want me to speak my truth AND not insult anybody at the same time?” Uh huh! And then once you get that going, add in some deep breathing, feel the sensations in your body and open your heart. Then take responsibility for your own experience and share it with another. Yep, all at the same time.
It takes a bit of practice and then it morphs from uncomfortable to exhilarating. You can’t learn it from a book. It can only be learned with others.
What if it were all or nothing . . . and you either had to live life wearing the perfect mask, or no mask at all . . . what would you choose?
I’d like to give a shout out to David Bollt, co-creator of Asheville Relational Yoga. Thank you, David for being such a bright light in this world. Your private comments on the draft of this post were eloquent and useful. If any of you are close to Asheville, David’s monthly event is not to be missed. Paul and I give it our highest endorsement.
Check out Relational Yoga here
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