The Authentic Self

Theme of the following quotations: While individuality may be an expression of authenticity, Being / True Nature / the Essential Self is its source. Being authentic is not a project to be undertaken by the ego, as in being different for its own sake. Rather authenticity is the spontaneous and unfettered expression of the deeper Self which underlies the identities, roles, thoughts, feelings, and sensations with which we might be identified. That Self is a presence to which visionaries throughout the ages, contemplative traditions, and humanistic and transpersonal psychologies attest.

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TRUTH is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate’er you may believe.
There is an inmost centre in us all,
Where truth abides in fullness; and around,
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,
This perfect, clear perception – which is truth.
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
Binds it, and makes all error: and to KNOW
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without.

~ Robert Browning (1812-1889),
English poet,
in Paracelsus


Turn into yourself; truth dwells within man.

~ St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430),
Christian Church Father


The kingdom of Heaven is within you.

~ Jesus,
in Luke 17:21


For within you is the light of the world—the only light that can be shed upon the Path. If you are unable to perceive it within you, it is useless to look for it elsewhere.

~ Mabel Collins
English Theosophist,
in Light on the Path


After his great awakening beneath the bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, Lord Buddha said that the ultimate nature of mind is perfectly pure, profound, quiescent, luminous, uncompounded, unconditioned, unborn and undying, and free since the beginningless beginning. When we examine this mind for ourselves, it becomes apparent that its innate openness, clarity, and cognizant quality comprise what is known as innate wakefulness, primordial nondual awareness: rigpa. This is our birthright, our true nature. It is not something missing, to be sought for and obtained, but is the very heart of our original existential being.

~ Nyoshul Khenpo (1932-2001),
Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen master,
in Natural Great Perfection


The most fundamental lesson I have learned about life is this: The essence of my being is that i am subjective awareness continually in process. Ultimately I cannot identify nmyself with any substance (for example, my body), anything I produce (my words in these pages), any supposed attribute (my interest in others), my past, my prospects for the future, my thoughts of the moment, or any thing else. In short, I am no thing, nothing.

~ James F.T. Bugental, Ph.D. (1915-2008)
existential humanistic psychotherapist
in Search for Identity


When one realizes the natural state, the true nature of all beings, there is naturally a welling up of inconceivable spontaneous compassion, loving-kindness, consideration, and empathy, because one realizes there is no self separate from others.

~ Nyoshul Khenpo (1932-2001),
Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen master,
in Natural Great Perfection


Gods, heavens, paths, practices, techniques, ethics and so on, are all created by the mind that is under the impression that reality is far away. For the one who sees this light in himself, there is no law or rule – just love, which is the natural expression of your heart when ignorance and suffering are no more. Even that is too much really. There is just what is, as it is. Everything just shines in the light of awareness and everything is settled.

~ John Wheeler (1895–1986),
Contemporary American nondualist teacher,
In Awakening to the Natural State


What we generally call our “personality” is actually memory, a localization for the “I”-image, a shelter to preserve the ego. The moment you identify with the personality, it becomes static, crystallized, and loses all flexibility. But in stepping out of this identification, you take your position in spaceless awareness and the real personality emerges. [The personality] appears in the moment of facing a situation and disappears the moment a situation ends. It’s a tool, nothing else.

~ Jean Klein (1916-1998),
French Advaita Vedanta master,
in Ease of Being
~ see also the post, “Who Am I?”


To spell out only one implication here, these propositions affirm the existence of the higher values within human nature itself, to be discovered there.

~ Abraham Maslow (1908-1970),
American psychologist,
in Towards a Psychology of Being


If you cannot find the truth where you are, where do you expect to find it?

~ Dogen Zenji (1200-1253),
Japanese Zen Buddhist Master

Return to the Markers on the Path of Personal Authenticity quotes collection



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