Personal Authenticity Expresses as Wholeness, Not Goodness

Theme of the following quotations: Authentic presence expresses itself as psychological wholeness. Other paths might presume to achieve a gilded image of personal perfection made possible by the repression “unworthy” or “unspiritual” parts of ourselves. But nothing is thereby redeemed. The practice of wholeness reintegrates, allows for transformation, and expresses unconditional love (not liking) to ALL parts of ourselves.

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For the good man to realize
that it is better to be whole
than to be good
is to enter on a straight and
narrow path compared to which
his previous rectitude
was flowery license.

~ John Middleton Murry (1889-1957),
English literary critic
~ see also the post, “Everybody’s Black Swan


To be on the safe side
I took out the fine-tooth
comb of retrospection to
run it through my life –

to comb out all
the dark dirty bits
of my history; the
silly messy naughty

After combing furiously
for several hours I had
gotten rid of all the
nasty little lumps

I had now turned
myself into a piece
what a success!

I had attained
the highest, most
attractive and
perfect state of
being and the
epitome of

I was also stuck to the chair,
but more about
that later…

~ Michael Leunig (1945-present),
Australian cartoonist/poet,
in The stick and other tales of our times


It seems that it is the purpose of evolution now to replace an image of perfection with the concept of completeness or wholeness. Perfection suggests something all pure, with no blemishes, dark spots or questionable areas. Wholeness includes the darkness but combines it with the light elements into a totality more real and whole than any ideal. This is an awesome task, and the question before us is whether mankind is capable of this effort and growth. Ready or not, we are in that process.

~ Robert A. Johnson (1921-present),
American Jungian Analyst,
in He


When enlightenment happens, the organism does not become perfect. It is whole and the whole includes both opposites. Seeking perfections is the basic, primary folly and the jnani understands that. That is the basis of the understanding. Whatever happens is part of the functioning of Totality.

~ Ramesh Balsekar (1917-2009),
Indian Advaita master,
in Consciousness Speaks


Be ye whole, even as your Father in Heaven is whole.

~ Jesus,
Matthew 5:48
New Revised Standard Version


Everything living dreams of individuation, for everything strives towards its own wholeness.

~ C.G. Jung (1875-1961),
Swiss depth psychologist,
in The Wisdom of Carl Jung,
edited by Edward Hoffman, Ph.D.


The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us.

~ Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900),
German philosopher,
in Beyond Good & Evil


Most people would prefer to get rid of their despair so that they only experience bliss. But this is a form of fascism – spiritual fascism – which wants only bliss. Bliss feels good and makes you happy, while despair feels bad, and you want it out of your sight. This tendency gives rise to the totalitarian point of view, whether material or spiritual.

~ Gangaji (1942-present),
American spiritual teacher,
in The Diamond in Your Pocket


Revile not the world, for God – He is the world.

~ Muhummad (570-632),
prophet and founder of Islam,


Real liberation comes not from glossing over or repressing painful states of feeling, but only from experiencing them to the full.

~ C.G. Jung (1875-1961),
Swiss depth psychologist,
in Collected Works, Vol. 9,
edited by Edward Hoffman, Ph.D.


We have to look courageously in the face of the reality and see that it is God and none else who has made this world in His being and that so He has made it. We have to see that Nature devouring her children, Time eating up the lives of creatures, Death universal and ineluctable, and the violence of the Rudra forces in man and Nature are also the supreme Godhead in one of His cosmic figures. We have to see that God the bountiful and prodigal creator, God the helpful, strong, and benignant preserver is also God the devourer and destroyer. The torment of the couch of pain and evil on which we are racked is His touch as much as happiness and sweetness and pleasure. It is only when we see with the eye of the complete union and feel this truth in the depths of our being that we can entirely discover behind that mask, too, the calm and beautiful face of the all-blissful Godhead, and in this touch that tests our imperfection the touch of the friend and builder of the spirit in man. The discords of the world are God’s discords, and it is only by accepting and proceeding through them that we can arrive at the greater concords of His supreme harmony, the summits and thrilled vastnesses of His transcendent and cosmic Ananda….

~ Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950),
Indian mystic,
quoted by Satprem in What is Enlightenment?
edited by J. White


He who follows the middle way knows an all-embracingness that excludes or changes nothing. This is not an easy way, for it requires a refinement of consciousness.

~ Helena Roerich (1879-1955),
Russian mystic and author,
in Supermundane: The Inner Life, Book Two


Individuation does not shut one out from the world, but gathers the world to oneself.

~ Carl Jung (1875-1961),
Swiss depth psychologist,
in The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche


The spirit needs spring and winter, beauty and terror, meeting and parting, needs every experience and every energy to achieve wholeness. Milarepa said, “Contemplate all energies without fear or disgust; find their essence, for that is the stone that turns everything to gold.”

~ Thuksey Rinpoche (1916-1983),
Tibetan Buddhist Master,
in A Journey in Ladakh by Andrew Harvey


The persona… contains in varying proportions, characteristics and tendencies which are currently considered in terms of good and bad, desirable and undesirable. In trying to improve himself consciously, the individual denies those tendencies which he considers undesirable, and rejects them. But such rejected tendencies do not really vanish; they remain and accumulate under the surface. Such suppression is the root cause of many mental disturbances. The realization of the fact that the unwanted aspects of one’s ego are an integral part of what makes for a supposed individual is the first step towards relief through surrender.

Once there is a basic realization of -and acceptance of – the oneness of the good and the bad within the individual ego, all that is really needed is letting-go and witnessing of the operation of this realization.

~ Ramesh Balsekar (1917-2009),
Indian Advaita master,
in The Final Truth


The perfection of wisdom alone can keep selflessness and love pure and steady under all conditions. Such is the realization of perfect wisdom through the entire body, speech, and mind of the bodhisattva, who is free from controlling, battling, repressing, or extinguishing any form of manifestation.

~ Gautama Buddha (circa 563 BCE-483 BCE),
quoted in Mother of the Buddhas by Lex Hixon


It is right it should be so;
Man was made for Joy & Woe;
And when this we rightly know
Thro’ the World we safely go.

Joy & Woe are woven fine,
A Clothing for the Soul divine;
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

~ William Blake (1757-1827),
British poet,
in Auguries of Innocence


One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.

~ C. G. Jung (1875-1961),
Swiss depth psychologist,
in Alchemical Studies


Accepting the whole range of one’s feelings, expressing them and gaining self-possession are the signposts along the road one travels on the voyage of self-discovery.

~ Alexander Lowen, M.D. (1910-2002???),
American founder of Bioenergetic Therapy,
in Joy


What is implied by the fulfillment of the new ethical demand is that the share of evil “allotted” to an individual by his constitution or personal fate should be worked through and deliberately endured by him. In the process, to an extent which varies with the individual, part of the negative side must be consciously lived. And it is no small part of the task of depth psychology to enable the individual to become capable of living in this world by acquiring the moral courage not to want to be either worse or better than he actually is.

~ Erich Neumann (1905-1960),
Jungian analyst,
in Depth Psychology and a New Ethic


The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.

~ William Blake (1757-1827),
British poet,
in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell


I remember an answer which when quite young I was prompted to make to a valued adviser who was wont to importune me with the dear old doctrines of the church. On my saying, “What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions, if I live wholly from within?” my friend suggested – “But these impulses may be from below, not from above.” I replied, “They do not seem to me to be such; but if I am the Devil’s child, I will live then from the Devil.” No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882),
American author, poet, and philosopher,
in Self-Reliance


Living by principles is not living your own life. It is easier to try to be better than you are than to be who you are.

~ Marion Woodman, (1928-)
Contemporary author and Jungian analyst,
in Addicted to Perfection


If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

~ Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas,
translated by Elaine Pagels, scholar,
in Beyond Belief


“When you know something of Abraxas, you cannot do this any longer. You aren’t allowed to be afraid of anything, you can’t consider prohibited anything that the soul desires.”

Startled, I countered: “But you can’t do everything that comes to mind! You can’t kill someone because you detest him.”

He moved closer to me.

“Under certain circumstances, even that. Yet it is a mistake most of the time. I don’t mean that you should simply do everything that pops into your head. No. But you shouldn’t harm and drive away those ideas that make good sense by exorcising them or moralizing about them. Instead of crucifying yourself or someone else you can drink wine from a chalice and contemplate the mystery of the sacrifice. Even without such procedures you can treat your drives and so-called temptations with respect and love. Then they will reveal their meaning–and they all do have meaning.”

~ The character of Demian in Demian,
by Herman Hesse (1877-1962),
German author


If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.

~ William Blake (1757-1827),
British poet,
in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell


Better is one’s own dharma, though imperfect, than the dharma of another well performed. He who does the duty ordained by his own nature incurs no sin.

~ Krishna,
in Bhagavad Gita
~ also see the post “Following the Law of One’s Being


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Jellal ed-Din Rumi (1207-1273),
Persian poet and Sufi master,
“The Guest House,” in The Essential Rumi
translated by Coleman Barks


~ Note: If you have found these quotes to be supportive, you may be interested in my book How to Be Yourself: A Guide to Living an Authentic Life which contains more than 300 quotations such as these which are organized into different topics related to authenticity. The book is available on Amazon in print and ebook format. (See top right cover image for a link to more info). ~

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



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