INNER WORK: THE PATH TO AUTHENTICITY
Is it true that our destiny is to turn into Light, I and self?
—Hafiz, Sufi poet
Why Is Inner Work Important In Leading A Healed, Balanced And Authentic Life?
“One cannot truly know the magnificence of one’s light until one has dealt with the darkness of one’s shadow” is the paradox of the integration process that anyone who wants to lead a healed, balanced and integrated self will have to contend with. The integration process requires us to embark on a journey inward to connect with our true or authentic Self. All of us have an outer self (ego self) and an inner self or true Self. The outer self or the personality self is concerned with the material world: food, clothes, housing, employment, family, friends, music and entertainment. The love that emanates from the personality self is often conditional. It is ruled by expectations, restrictions and judgments that are derived from surrogate power, which means that they are often enforced by society.
By contrast, the true Self embraces the spirit or soul within us. The love that radiates from it is unconditional. It is expansive; it is all encompassing; it forgives and thus is free of negative emotions like fear, anxieties, jealousy, hatred and revenge; it transcends all boundaries of fear and limitations imposed by us as individuals and as a society; it connects us to the oneness of spirit or the ‘collective unconscious’ that embraces the interconnectedness of humanity. As such, all actions arising from within this space is often heart-based rather than fear-based.
Inner work, as the process is called allows us to get in touch with our true or authentic Self. It is a time that we give to our self for inner exploration. It is within this inner space that we are able to identify and heal aspects of our shadow self and erroneous attitudes and core beliefs in order to release self-destructive and self-sabotaging behavior. It is through the processes of introspection and transcendence of our shadow self and distorted beliefs that we are are able to attain self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-love and forgiveness.
Inner work therefore leads to self-discovery, spiritual truths and transformation. It contributes to healing through the integration of the conscious (light) and unconscious self (shadow). It is a way to reclaim our personal power and inner freedom, the freedom that strengthens our core self, which helps us be true to ourselves and thus to live with integrity. Most of us go through life with emotional and psychological wounds sustained in the past, whether from childhood, teenage years or in adulthood that we may or may not be conscious of. These wounds if left unhealed will often surface in our interactions with our self and with others as inner turmoil, conflicts, dramas, and emotional and physical illnesses. Often, we close our hearts when we are hurt and in pain, when we do not live up to our truth and integrity or when we are in fear of truly loving and living our lives fully. In the process, we deny our true self and move away from authentic living.
Healing our inner wounds is a vital process that attunes us to our inner voice, the voice that empowers us into making choices that honor our true self, which many of us tend to ignore for fear of change, for fear of being pushed beyond our comfort zone and for fear of unmasking the social façade we adorn for the world. It is only in going within to soul-search and to reflect on our life: what we want in life, what is important to us and by observing our thoughts, feelings and attitudes that we can not only change what is not working in our lives but also live a life of authenticity. We cannot change things if we are not aware of them. Inner work awakens in us self-awareness and hence, self-knowledge that is so pivotal in initiating change.
In other words, inner work necessitates working on our shadow self, which involves recognizing and acknowledging the broken and fragmented parts of ourselves to allow our inner light to embrace and heal them into wholeness. It is therefore essential that we devote time to our inner work to heal and to transform our negative patterns of behavior, thoughts and beliefs in order for us to lead happy, fulfilled and purposeful lives. It is only by connecting to our true inner self that we can access our inner truth, authenticity, infinite love, creativity and wisdom.
Excerpted from:”Transcending Abuse & Betrayal.”
Sasha Samy (c) 2012