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E. E. Cummings wrote, “To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight—and never stop fighting.” “Staying real” is one of the most courageous battles that we’ll ever fight.

You can get a very clear view of yourself through the helpful feedback of those who are close to you. Therefore, the hopes and vision you cherish for the growth of your authentic personality will be worked over and refined in the conscious and nonconscious interchange with your partner and theirs with you. But that vision must always be on your own terms, not theirs. 

Your vision must be your own. It should represent some direct and measureable improvement in yourself—responding to your needs, desires, dissatisfaction, questioning, or issues arising from self-acceptance. This sought after improvement must be in some sense your own. If it is an image of the gains of someone else then it is unlikely to be a strong action motivator.
Do you think you would notice if someone you were giving directions to was suddenly replaced by someone else? Yes? Perhaps not! 

Researchers at Harvard University tested fifteen people in such a scenario. The unsuspecting subjects of the experiment were walking down the street and a researcher dressed as a “passer-by” (who was in fact part of the research team) asked them for directions. As the subject was giving the directions to the passer-by, two workmen rudely barged between them carrying a door. 

In the brief moment that the subject was behind the door, the passer-by (researcher) switched places with one of the workmen. The subject was left giving directions to a different person who was taller, wearing different clothes and had a different voice. Eight of the fifteen subjects failed to spot the change!

This is a classic example of what is called “change blindness” when your attention is so closely focused on a task that you fail to notice a very significant change in your visual field. The problem is not divided attention but limited capacity to process attention in the conscious mind. 

This highlights the fact that attention is primarily a conscious activity. The visual experience of change requires focused visual attention, which takes up a lot of processing capacity. In the “present moment” (this is the period of short-term memory span of 1-2 seconds) the conscious mind has a processing capacity of only 127 bits of information per second or about five separate items of thought (plus or minus two). That’s why we miss things at a conscious level. And that's why we need to pay more conscious attention to what's happening around us.

If you doubted the power of mind imagery to change your physical state take a look at this report in Scientific American Mind (May 2012). Amputees who experience phantom limb pain can get relief from an optical illusion. This trick involves looking in a mirror at the reflection of a healthy limb from a certain angle, which causes it to appear where the missing limb should be. Seeing the limb move freely fools the brain into relieving the pain. 

Thinking of something else is a time-honored method for coping with pain. Indeed, psychologists have demonstrated repeatedly that what you think about can modulate the pain you experience. People using binoculars to view an injured hand reported greater pain in the hand when it was magnified and less when the binoculars were reversed and the hand was minimized. The size of the image affected the pain.

Until now scientists did not know how exactly that effect plays out in the body. In a study published in Current Biology, neuroscientists have found that distraction does more than merely divert your mind; it actually sends signals that bar pain from reaching the central nervous system. 

If we can control pain just by thinking differently then imagine what effective mental imaging can have in all areas of your life. The idea of visioning achieving your goals has been around for a long time but rarely has hard science been so precise in backing up these ideas.   

The modern world has a tendency to distrust the mystical or those who claim to have powerful spiritual or religious experiences. There is a view that science is a more secure basis on which to ground our view of the world. And yet one the greatest scientists of all time – Albert  Einstein – had a high opinion of things mystical. He wrote of the mystical experience as knowledge of the existence of something ‘we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds.’ 

Others accept such experiences willingly seeing them as a natural unfolding of the underlying spiritual nature of the world.  God, religion and spirituality may be linked and may also exist separately, and of course you can have a spiritual life with or without a religious dimension to your life. In the 2nd Pillar of the Freedom Code: Alignment I suggest that spirituality is a deeper more profound nature to your being and your connection to the spirit may be understood as a connection to the divine, and/or to your inner nature or to what I call “Quintessence”—itself a sort of spirit of the universe. Whatever you call it or however you describe it my view is that your connection to this deeper more profound and primal connection is absolutely crucial in discovering your authentic nature – and more important – it provides you with the power and strength to fully realize it.

These words of Albert Einstein sum it up well: "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.”

Purposive action is the daily expression of authenticity - action is part of what you are. You are always doing something: exploring, sorting, listening, talking, eating, looking, and playing. Your innate disposition is towards activity.  

Self-direction is the essence of purposive action. You may now be more aware of yourself, have accepted your past, understand your needs and desires, be clear about your vision and values, and yet find yourself much the same as you always have been. Movement may be what’s missing. Literally speaking purposive action is the act of propulsion. No vision, great deeds or notable achievements occur without action.

Read more in the free online version of my book at Chapter 12… which outlines the 3rd Pillar of the Freedom Code: Purposive Action.  Great emphasis is attached there on the practicalities of realizing your vision and plan through a detailed and comprehensive process of goal decisions, strategies, and implementation techniques. The Pillar outlines the essential ingredients of Personal Excellence, and explores the meaning of success and failure.
Alignment is the key aid to living authentically and is the focus of the 2nd Pillar of the Freedom Code. It is about the ability to understand and utilize the positive forces that pervade your inner space and the world around you by accessing the powerful field of energy and information that pervades the universe. 

To be aligned you must have a clear Vision of the ‘ideal you’ accompanied by a life plan that is informed by your values. Vision creates and attracts power. When the flow of your intentions and goals are clear they flow effortlessly into the universal information field. Vision feeds belief and as you begin to see parts of your vision being realized your belief is bolstered. 

The Alignment Pillar has an extensive range of effective tools, strategies and techniques to facilitate alignment. Among these are three techniques to synchronize the aims of the conscious and nonconscious parts of the mind. Read more in the free online version of my book at Chapter 11…

The life you experience is the aggregate of what you pay attention to. To live authentically is to live in complete awareness of the present moment—that slice of time which is your conscious existence. Authentic living is conscious living. 

In the First Pillar of the Freedom Code you learn to access the power of Perceptive Awareness by becoming focused on what is happening in this moment and in the broader sweep of your life in general, and this simply means to be able to pay attention. This enables you to have a clear and accurate perception of the reality you create for yourself. It allows you to access the power of your memory and intuition effectively. All four lead to awareness or what is also called ‘consciousness.’ 

The power of Perceptive Awareness arises from the combined effect of attention, memory, intuition, perception and awareness. This has the potential to allow you create a new, fresh and resourceful perspective on the world every moment of the day. 

No instant of your waking life occurs without all these features being present. They are utterly fundamental to your existence. Everything in your life flows from them: how you think, what you think, how you act and react, how you experience the world, your identity, your memory of past events, your hopes and aspirations, all originate in the interlinked process of attention-perception-memory-intuition-awareness (with imagination and desire thrown in for good measure!). When used creatively the intelligence generated by these interrelated elements can totally transform your life.  

Awareness in fact depends on attention and perception. You cannot become aware of something until you attend to it and form a perception of what it is that you are attending to. The perception you form is significantly determined by your nonconscious intuition which is based primarily on your memory. Attention, perception, memory and intuition are action processes and awareness is the state of mind that arises from them. 

The prevailing disposition of our human nature is essentially optimistic, directed towards harmony and a sense of internal unity, constantly seeking union or wholeness in and with other beings and the world. Despite the evidence of some human behavior, at the central core of our being is the desire to seek what is laudable, hopeful or “to the good” for ourselves and others. Our essential nature urges us to do what is pleasing, valuable or useful. As the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza wrote “You neither want nor strive for anything because you judge it to be good. On the contrary, you consider something to be good because you strive for it, want it and desire it.”  What is good is right and what is right is good, and these constitute the essence of authenticity.

Many people are simply surviving: surviving work, surviving unemployment, surviving the weekend, surviving Monday, surviving relationships and breakups, surviving parents and children. When you start to live authentically you stop surviving and start thriving. You become honest with yourself about yourself – you get real about what works for you and what doesn’t. This requires getting a handle on what you value in life and what you are prepared to commit to. Because a coherent, authentic life involves commitment, control, compassion and connection with others. Authenticity is about making choices and far more about saying ‘yes’ to committed living than saying ‘no’ to what you don't want. To thrive is also to strive – to make an effort to live a better, richer, fuller life and in the process come into full possession of your unique authentic nature. And the wonderful thing is that just making the choice is often enough to get you there.

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