The Beauty Behind the Mask.
We can’t wear masks forever. We can try, but they will crack.
The shells of armor and disguise we use to protect and hide ourselves will eventually shatter, tiny shards of ego crashing around us. The question is: when they do, and you are left bare for all the world to see, will you be brave enough to look yourself in the eye and find out who you really are, or will you chase around your own ghost trying to rebuild what never really was?
“If you pass your night
and merge it with dawn
for the sake of heart,
what do you think will happen?” ~ Rumi
Out of the fear that we are unworthy, we create false selves. We are afraid that when we look in the umbral corners of our soul, we will find that we are really just selfish, mean, weak, dishonest, cowardly, weird, broken, or bad. Maybe your true self is so appalling that you wouldn’t be able to stand it. Maybe no one would love you if they saw it. Maybe you don’t even deserve love.
Maybe God doesn’t love you. This is the real fear. It is rooted in us all, as ancient as the sun. We feel separate from God, so we search for the reasons why we’ve been abandoned. Way down deep, in an obscure and primordial place, we fear that we are so bad even our own God has left us.
So we try very hard to be good. We take on impossible standards, clinging to perfection to save us from the monster we’re afraid we just might be. We judge others, condemning what we fear in ourselves. We pretend not to be what we are.
But we are all things — both the light and the dark; this is the essence of being human. There is no way to escape it, and it will do no good to try to outrun your shadow. The work isn’t in becoming better, but in becoming more authentic. Authenticity is the greatest gift you can offer yourself, and it will naturally lead to action that honors your highest self.
“Well, I will always be a part of that darkness, although I’d say it’s pretty equal to my light.” ~ Nahko Bear
Ask yourself what ideas of self, what parts of your character are you most defensive of? Who are you afraid of being? What are you really critical of in others? How often do you act out of accord with your own values? Do you hold on to an idea of who you are despite evidence that it’s not actually true? How would others describe you? Is that how you see yourself?
These are the places to look my friend. Lift up the mask and see what lies beneath: Shame? Fear? Guilt?
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” ~ Carl Jung
I know this is hard, but please don’t turn away. This is critically important work. To look at ourselves in this way can be agonizing, but the process of stripping away the false self is necessary because it is only then that you can step into your true power. In these murky and sacred waters lies the essence of your soul: your light — your self as savior.
“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.” ~ Daniel Pinchbeck, Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas
Don’t cling too tightly to the old, let the truth crash into you and settle deep in the crevices left by your fear. If you feel yourself bruised and broken among the wreckage, know that it is only ever your ego that can be lost. Your courage will not go unrewarded. The rigorous tides will settle and you will see yourself — perhaps for the first time — as you truly are; a numinous soul ablaze with your own holiness, powerful in your wholeness, and delighted by your imperfection.
“First turn yourself upside down
empty yourself like a cup of wine
then fill to the brim with the essence.”
When this happens, something fierce and honest and real will shine out of you, and it will call out to others in that silent soul-language, inviting them to seek their own hidden aspects of self. It will give them strength and hope and courage in offering these lost and holy places love.
And this, my friends — this offering of love which ignites from person to person, eye to eye, heart to heart, changes everything. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.
So be brave and carry on because the world needs you; the real, authentic, magnificent, powerful you. Now.
Latest posts by Jessica Hesser (see all)
- We Are in the Death Phase Now, Do Not Run Away. - October 24, 2014
- Fall Equinox Brings Kali and the Burning of the Old Self. - September 19, 2014
- 14 Sweet Ways and Exercises to Nurture your Intuition. - July 28, 2014
- The Beauty Behind the Mask. - March 21, 2014
- I Need You to Know Something… - September 16, 2013
- The Miracle of Mantras. - July 26, 2013
- You are Perfect. - July 14, 2013
- You, Wolf: Exalt the Wildling Within. - June 24, 2013