In essence, all body mind spirit practices are meant to help you discover your authentic self and follow its infallible guidance in your life. So in this issue we explore what it means to live an authentic life and provide some tips for being true to yourself. We hope they bring you a little closer to creating a fulfilling life.
|Awakening the Authentic Self
"Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?" These are the time honored questions that the mystics and sages retreated to the mountaintops to answer. They are the whisperings of the soul, the echoing to be heard questions that we all inevitably face during our lifetime. If we are lucky, we hear these soul callings while there is still time to awaken to the authentic self, long before it is time to depart this world.
Your authentic self is the genuine substance of who you really are. It is your very essence, a composite of the things that are uniquely yours--your skills, talents, and wisdom--that need expression in the world. It is not the "you" defined by your job or inherited role in life. Nor is it you as defined by what you think you "should" be or do, or what others may think and expect of you.
To live authentically means to honor the truth in your heart and soul. It means allowing yourself to be guided by your inner wisdom and divine order, and doing your highest good in the world. It's making a difference with the gifts you've been given and following the dreams that ignite your passion. Often it's not the easiest path, as it may mean deviating from the status quo, standing up for what you believe in, or doing things that even your family and friends don't agree with or understand.
The questions of the authentic self arise spontaneously throughout our lives, either unbidden or through conscious intent. Anyone who wishes to live an authentic life must answer these questions, regardless of whether they believe in the existence of the soul or practice a religion. If these queries remain unanswered, life will more than likely remain superficial and empty, in spite of material abundance, social status, or our relationships with others.
When you live authentically, you know what you stand for and you make conscious choices to honor those values. You take time to tune into who you are, what you want, and what is best for you in any given moment. You face your personal truths, fears, beliefs, habits and dreams, and make conscious choices about what you need to let go of, change, or claim.
When you fashion a life in which the decisions you make and the actions you take are considered, deliberate and in harmony with what's important to you, you are living an authentic life. It may not be the life that has been your habit, but it is one that allows you to greet each day with enthusiasm and enables you to sleep peacefully at night.
Life is frequently compared to a journey, but more often than not, it is a wandering. This is because for many, the direction is unclear and the destination unknown. If you want to make the soul's journey, you must ask yourself the questions of the sages relentlessly and ruthlessly. More importantly, you must be able to listen carefully to the answers of your inner voice and directly act upon your soul's guidance.
|Standing Strong With Confidence
Confidence is an inherent ingredient in truly living authentically. When you are secure in whom you are and who you want to become, you naturally stand up straight with your chest open and your shoulders relaxed. This posture says to the world, "I love who I am and I have nothing to hide."
On the other hand, many of us slouch without realizing it, especially if we sit at a desk all day. Poor posture diminishes us and what we feel we can give to the world. It strains some body parts while relaxing others, leading to distortions of organs, joints, and bones, as well as disruptions in energy circulation, emotional well-being, and consciousness.
The optimal posture is when all of your bones, joints, and muscles are balanced and aligned so that the least amount of stress is put on your body. In this posture, your body, mind, and emotions naturally become stable and strong, you automatically feel confident, and you return to your inherent well-being. Keeping your body strong and flexible will help create and maintain this posture.
The most important muscles to strengthen for proper posture are your back and abdominal muscles. One exercise that both strengthens and stretches your abdomen and back is "Superman" posture:
With practice and time, stretching and strengthening your body will help you maintain good posture even when you're not paying attention. With good posture, you will have the confidence to express your authentic nature.
- Lie face down on floor with arms extended above your head, palms down.
- Breathe in, tighten your abdominal muscles, and then raise your arms, head, and chest. Keep your neck in line with your spine. Do not raise your head more than 8-12 inches.
- Exhale and return to starting position. Complete 10-15 repetitions.
- Then repeat the same exercise, but raise your legs. Complete another 10-15 repetitions.
- Finally do another 10-15 repetitions, raising both upper and lower body, keeping only your abdomen on the ground.
|Embracing the Moon
Tuning into the monthly lunar cycle is a perfect way to chart a course for developing your authentic self. Both the new moon and full moon provide powerful manifestation energies that you can tap to mark a turning point, invoke a desired action, or let go of something in your life. Through personal or group rituals, we can honor life's natural cycles and honor our true spirit within.
The new moon is the beginning of the moon's phases and the optimal time for planning and setting new intentions. It is a time when you can summon your whole self to clarify your mind, focus on a desired goal or wish, make it known to the universe, and release it to be nurtured under the stars.
When we express our intentions through a marked ritual, we are acknowledging the sacredness and power of the universe. New moon rituals are used to celebrate the forces of creation, manifestation, birth, and rebirth. They can be used to call forth a new idea, relationship, job, belief or just about anything. It is a time for clarifying goals in our mind and filling our hearts with promise.
Most often, new moon ceremonies are marked by stating or writing down your intentions. What's in your heart? Set aside a specific time during the first days of the new moon. Create your sacred space, either by saying a prayer or lighting a candle. Take time to center yourself, sit quietly, and then write down your intentions. State them positively, and end with "I accept this or something better for my highest good in my life now."
Each month, you can renew your list with a repeated ritual. It is best to write a new clean list, leaving off previous items that have manifested, and keeping ones that remain true to your soul or adding new ones. With clear intentions, we can take actions toward becoming our authentic self.
During the full moon, we celebrate the lunar cycle ending. Now it is time to let go of those aspects of our life that no longer serve us. The full moon illuminates things that may be holding us back in our spiritual growth. It can show us where we are not being our true self. It represents a time of completion, death, change, and releasing, and is the perfect opportunity to vow to change some aspect of our life.
Full moon ceremonies often incorporate the transformative nature of fire. Again, set aside a specific time during the full moon and create your sacred space. While the ceremony can be done indoors, it is particularly transformative when done outside under the light of the full moon. Write down the things you want to release on bits of paper in advance. During your ceremony, read them aloud and toss the papers into the fire. Watch as they are transformed into smoke and released to the moon above.
Lunar rituals help us mark life's transitions, and our own inner transformation, in a formal way. Have fun with them, make them uniquely yours, and don't hesitate to "howl at the moon".
|BEST Life Media publishes energy healing and yoga books, yoga DVDs, CDs and other products that promote healthy body mind spirit living. Brain Education System Training (BEST), which seeks to better the human condition through a variety of self-development techniques, serves as the underlying inspiration for many of our titles. Visit our website to browse our affirmation cards, a chakra meditation guide, wall art, personal journals, and other tools to assist your spiritual growth.|
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