Personal Authenticity and Presence

We commonly understand personal authenticity to mean being oneself. While this is so, we can understand what it means to be one’s Self in different ways. The practice of presence points to what may be a deeper experience of authenticity.

The human condition is the context which frames an understanding of the import of presence. In brief, you and I are asleep – metaphorically – to our deeper nature from which authenticity originates.

Everyday a myriad of stimuli drown our awareness: innumerable thoughts, feelings, sensations, outer events and interactions. One thought, feeling, or sensation leads by association to another and another and another ad infinitum keeping the hamster wheel of inner imagination and self-talk turning ceaselessly.

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The Paradox of Spiritual Seeking

In their search for enlightenment, some persons cross deserts or and climb mountains at great peril to themselves. Others seek realization at the feet of their beloved masters listening expectantly to every word. Still some attend weekend seminars or study sacred texts late into the night.

While there are a great many seekers, there appear to be few finders. Perhaps this confirms that, by definition, a seeker can never be a finder.

If I am seeking, I am seeking some thing – an object which is other than me. I am the seeker; the object is the sought. There is the duality of I – and that which I seek.

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Presence, Neurons, and the Internet

Presence, neurons, and the internet: these concepts are intimately related in an unsuspecting and unfavorable way which might concern you, if in your pursuit of authenticity, you practice presence.

Contemplative traditions consider the practice of presence the sine qua non (“without which nothing”) of spiritual unfolding. The Tibetan Dzogchen master, Namkhai Norbu, for example, considers presence to be “the ultimate” practice.

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Who am I?

The contemplative practice of asking, “Who am I?” can challenge our understanding of who we think we are, and possibly lead to a deeper experience of our nature. Just who do you think you are?

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Life as an Automaton vs. Presence

Perhaps it was in a junior high science class that I first saw this half-minute video of ping pong balls exemplifying a nuclear fission reaction. It comes to mind today when I consider how we live mostly as automatons in reaction to the day’s sights, sounds, and events – mostly devoid of an inner life.

The ball drops into the chamber with the first thought that stirs you from a night’s sleep. Perhaps it’s a worry, or a news item on the radio which woke you, or remembering an early morning meeting for which you need to rush. With that first thought, the mind’s chaos begins, and continues throughout the day until the last thought is expended, and sleep stills the mind.

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