Spirituality vs Authenticity

2 min readJul 21, 2023

Being true to our self

I feel a rush of energy and vitality these days. It comes from my self. It’s the self with a small ‘s’.

The me that seeks creative expression, fulfilment from work, joy from meaningful relationships and integrity from saying “no, not acceptable”, where I need to say that. This self is selfish. Unapologetically so!

Most of my life I have pursued the Self. It is the Self with a big ‘S’. It has different names. Consciousness. Awareness. Presence. In my pursuit of the big Self, I disregarded the small self, thinking it was the false self. The ego. And that this small self had to be transcended through mindfulness to reach the big Self. The source of ultimate bliss.

I was right. And I was wrong.

The big Self is blissful. Extremely so! But when I pursue that bliss by overlooking the small self, I become a bliss junkie. I draw false power from acting as the big Self without really being it. Just as the Ocean is experienced by touching the wave, the way to the big Self is by acknowledging the small self.

The small self is what makes me uniquely me. It needs to be embodied. Not transcended. Not repressed. Not judged.

When I acknowledge what I feel, it makes me authentic. When I am kind to what I feel, it makes me compassionate. When I take responsibility for what I feel it makes me courageous. And when I express what I feel it makes me honest.

The small self is a source of great joy.

The small self, unlike the big Self, is dual in nature. It has behaviours that come in the way of its healthy expression. Defense mechanisms. Coping strategies. Addictive tendencies. These it unconsciously picks up for it’s survival. Particularly when it inhabits the body of a child.

This shadow of the small self can be a source of great suffering. It is the pain of disconnection.

When I encounter this darkness of the small self, I turn to the big Self. It shines the light of awareness on impulses and emotions that lead to such behaviour. And reassures the small self, that it is cared for. It is not alone.

When the small self feels safe, it regains its power and vitality. It bursts with enthusiasm. It jumps with joy. And gleefully exclaims…

“I am seen!”