“We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.” ~ André Berthiaume
The subject of self is expansive to say the least. Will anyone ever get to know who we really are? Do we even know? Is the self entirely an illusion, or are we made up of a multitude of egotistical masks and archetypal projections that are layered upon each other as a reflection of the many lives we’ve lived and people we’ve been?
Or perhaps we’re all an expression of the Source yet also in essence of all other expressions of the Source, all experiencing each other simultaneously… as the lines of our separateness continue to blur, the collective consciousness can be the only thing to lay claim and ownership over who we really are…
But let’s not get too existential. When it comes down to it; on a daily and personal level, our experience of others can be a spiritual experience… if we let it. Some have been so bogged down, overwhelmed and stampeded by negative experiences we no longer even open up to ourselves.
We have become cold fish; the mask securely stuck on with superglue, smoothed down to perfection with no bubbles. Dependent on many factors; how disruptive our childhoods were, how deeply we’ve been hurt in relationships and how far our parental figures rejected who we are will be the extent to which we’ve learnt to wear a mask.
This is for those who have begun to forget who the person behind their mask is. Those who are unable to discern between the mask and their true selves.
Those who have stopped ‘opening up’ or revealing themselves to anyone anymore, because, to do so would just be too dangerous. To do so would mean running the risk of feeling, and our hearts are quite comfortable in the veritable ice storm we’ve wrapped them in thank you very much.
The most effective way to rip the mask from your face (without taking some skin with it), is to meditate. To what extent you wish to take this unveiling, is up to you. Meditation, to my mind, is all about authenticity and stripping away the layers of deceit that have clogged up your life for too long. When we meditate and slow down the information our brains usually process at top speed, our frontal cortex goes offline, our beta waves decrease, and the reticular formation receiving incoming stimuli sits up and starts really taking notice.
In a way, during meditation as we loosen certain neural pathways we lose the fog and anxiety and become more alert, weakening the distracting ego-centered prefrontal cortex has on us and for once releasing our fear and taking a good inner look around us; both with our hearts and with our senses.
That is how focus and receptivity sharpens up after sittings as well as the ability to react correctly to whatever life throws at you – less of the personal attack and more of the authentic, playful balance that the universe is also operating on of brutality and innocence. For those of us who have frozen all emotional pathways, meditation may be just the thing to get the life force flowing back into us so that we can rejoin life and experience it to the max.
Stop caring what others think
The more our parents rejected who we are as children; constantly correcting, restricting natural expression within the boundaries of what they perceived to be ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, and generally opting for convenience over consciousness, the more we will have learnt to bury ourselves.
The more we felt ignored or unheard and the more we perceived an injustice occurring when we needed understanding, the more we may have become frozen in time; frozen anger, frozen expression, frozen self. When we stop expressing ourselves as a healthy child does then we become inert – building a persona and living to please others.
Every harsh word you heard as a child meant you curbed your behaviour. Adults can be incredibly manipulative and as we become parents we recognize that our own parents were exactly what we thought they never were – human. They were dealing with their own stuff, their own failings and expectations, and yes, at times – many times over they probably forgot you were just a child, barely able to process most of what was going on around you let alone understand it and react accordingly.
It’s time to stop pleasing others and please yourself. Entirely – with your whole being. Sometimes, though apparently petty and childish, just having those feared confrontations and arguments can shine them up for what they really are – meaningless. Just tell those who have let you down or hurt you that they did just that.
You may be angry for a while, but I promise, the more you express it the more likely it will gradually leave your life for good. How freeing! What a release! Now you are free to start focusing on what you really want to do and for once, give it your full attention.
Open up the dialogue
Having become more authentic through meditation and finally facing those fears that lurked at the back of your closet, now you must consistently keep up the dialogue with yourself – for the rest of your life. Keep putting yourself back on the true path, and learn to recognize and be honest with yourself when you’re going astray.
This is probably the most difficult one as often we just wake up and realize we have become everything we never wanted to be. It happens. Don’t be scared of it. But at the same time, the more you consistently review your life (during daily self love rituals and ceremony such as chanting, manifestations rituals and anything else that comes under ‘me’ time), the more you will get it touch with and be able to really start to build an authentic relationship with yourself.