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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.

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. 

‎"Most of us miss most of our life!" This stark comment is from the Zen Psychologist, David Brazier It passes by as you busily fill-up your days with hurry and bustle—doing things, being active and productive, or alternatively just being bored! To be adaptive, free and living authentically you require perceptive awareness. This includes heightened levels of attention, clear perception and awareness formed by your intuitive and analytical minds working in harmony. To be aware is "to be conscious of" what is happening in the present moment. It simply means that you know your thoughts and actions. You are aware of yourself and your situation. Awareness has its roots in two Latin words conscious and scire 'to know,' and is synonymous with consciousness. This 'knowingness' is a state, an outcome or result of increased attentiveness. It is brought about through the processes of attention and perception. Read more at 

To have a vision is essentially to know—deep down—why you are doing what you do. This is well illustrated in the story of the Italian stonecutters told by the psychotherapist Roberto Assagioli. A visitor to a stone quarry asked a stonecutter what he was doing. "Don't you see," he replied a little sourly, "I'm cutting stones," thus showing his dislike of what he regarded as unpleasant and valueless work.

The visitor passed on and put the same question to another stonecutter. "I'm earning a living for myself and my family," replied the workman in an even tempered way that reflected a certain satisfaction.
Further on, the visitor stopped by a third stonecutter and asked him: "And what are you doing?" This third stonecutter replied joyously: "I am building a Cathedral." He had grasped the big picture. This potentially tedious and demanding task was part of the great vision for a Cathedral. His efforts were as necessary as the architect's, and carried equal value.
Therefore, he was performing his work not only willingly, but with enthusiasm. If you keep your focus on the big picture—the long term vision—then the cares of today will take care of themselves.

Grow where you are planted! Staying in the real world is crucial to the process of creating the authentic life you desire. Michael Foley in The Age of Absurdity reminds us that our yearning for authenticity is not found only in novelty – a new place, a new lover, a new job. “More effective is to see the familiar with new eyes…to smash the crust of habit and see life anew.” Foley exhorts us to “begin a new job in your current post, enjoy a holiday where you actually live, and most thrillingly, plunge into a tumultuous affair with your own spouse.”

If you are stressed out, lacking direction, unable to discern any meaning and finding it hard even to focus on the possibility of an ‘authentic  you’ then start by establishing some stability—a stable self that you can rely upon. This may be as simple as setting up a daily routine and trying hard to stick to it. It may mean looking at your job and seeing if it is satisfying and making some plans to upskill or reskill so you at least have the chance to make a change. It might certainly mean being present with and for those you are close to, perhaps even live with. Seek help. Look for mentors, counsellors, pastors that can give you support, encouragement and reflect the real you that you are unable to be – just now.

The philosophy of Adaptive Freedom highlights 7 Qualities of Authenticity. The first is Control:

Self-control is the quality of self-mastery aligned with self-reliance. It arises from self-awareness. When you are self-aware you are focused and attentive to what is happening in your world, and you see events and people accurately with clear perception. You are aware of your needs, you know your priorities and you are able to avoid distractions and focus appropriate energies on achieving your goals. Self-control requires that you become aware of your intuitive nature, have the capacity for introspection, be open to positive feedback and be willing to look for new perspectives in every situation. This paradoxically allows you time to be original, spontaneous and free.
Each of the 7 Qualities of Authenticity is linked to one of the 7 Pillars of the Freedom Code. Control is linked to the 1st Pillar: Perceptive Awareness.

The psychologist Carl Rogers believed that at the root of all the problems people presented as the reason for seeking counselling was just one. They are desperate to become their real selves, to be allowed to drop the mask they present to the world or feel the world demands of them.

Beneath all the zealous pursuits of our lives—our desire for love, happiness, wealth, power, success and status lies a deep unfulfilled longing. Beneath all the myriad hopes and wishes that consume us and are often left partially unsatisfied, lies a more fundamental and ultimately more rewarding search—the quest for our authentic nature.

What is that authentic nature? How can we define authenticity? The truth is that it is beyond definition. There can be no general, all embracing account of what it means to live an authentic life since that can only be decided in and through your experience of life itself. Authenticity is uniquely personal and experiential.

Authenticity is measured not in terms of an objective inventory but in your way of “being what and who you are.” This echoes the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre's slogan that “existence precedes essence”—you come to be authentic in the way you live your life.

At the core of our need to be authentic is a deeper and more fundamental desire to be the best we can possibly be. This is an urge to reach beyond the life we live to one where our full potential is realized—to where meaning, purpose, success and happiness all coalesce into one exciting, challenging, rewarding and utterly satisfying whole—where we are at peace with ourselves and the world. 

Carl Jung called this the search for “individuation” which Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow described as “self-actualization”or “self-realization”—an underlying and irresistible urge toward the fulfilment of our inherent and highest potential. Maslow defined self-realization as “the impulse to convert oneself into what one is capable of being.”

Whatever that may be Carl Rogers  is clear on what it is not. It is “not a façade of conformity to others, not a cynical denial of all feeling, nor a front of intellectual rationality, but a living, breathing, feeling, fluctuating process.”

This is a continuous process of emotional and mental growth, learning, maturing and change—an innate capacity for coming into being that can only be realized by our own action. It involves awakening the latent potential and power in our psyche.

Being You means taking the path to the summit of your highest potential. This is a challenging prospect for many of us because it implies that we must step out of the crowd and instead of conforming to what the crowd thinks and believes, we discover our own unique thoughts and beliefs.

This is a process that has been going on all your life. It’s the nonconscious process of personal development that characterizes every person. The difference is that we now put it up front as a distinct process—we transform it from a nonconscious to a conscious activity. This shift brings fundamental features of your nature and character into the light of day and requires you to make conscious choices about yourself that you may have never even imagined, let alone considered.

The process of shaping your authentic nature puts your identity as a person—your personhood—and your personality under the spotlight. The thoughts, emotions and behavior that make up your personality come into clear focus. You gain insight into the very core of your being. This is both daunting and exciting, and it is not for the fainthearted.

The result will be a level of understanding of what it means to be your ‘authentic self’ that far surpasses anything you thought possible. In turn this will make it easier—and imperative—to live according to that image. Being You—becoming your authentic self—is the journey home to the inner core of your nature.
Your authentic or aspirational identity is what you hope to make of your self, the type of person you want to become—the “ideal you.” It is a vision of the personality traits, values and patterns of behavior you wish to personify.
The ideal you is shaped and ultimately realized in the world but formed in your imagination. Your imagination is the ultimate source of your authentic nature. It is the expression of absolutely everything you wish to be.
The focus on what you aspire to be is more an activity rather than an end in itself. You are not trying to capture a pure, original or pristine identity that exists separately from the stream of your experience—that lies hidden waiting to be discovered.
The development of an aspirational identity in this context is what the philosopher Richard Moran has called ‘self-constitution.’ He believes that we are uniquely able to constitute ourselves. Therefore, you don’t search for your authentic self, it exists right here right now. You don’t discover your authentic self, you shape your authentic self in a way that gives meaning to the life you lead.
The philosopher George Herbert Palmer described the process by using the analogy of an elm tree. When the seed of an elm begins to sprout, it is adapted not merely to the next stage, but to every stage beyond that. The whole elm is already predicted in its genetic make-up when its seed is planted in the ground. For it to become an elm it must have a helpful environment, but still a certain plan of movement “elmwards” is already contained in the seed.
But what if the seed already knew the shape and size of elm it had the potential to become? Every time it sucked in moisture or basked in sunshine it would be gently adapting this nourishment to the fulfillment of its ultimate goal. It might be asking itself for example, whether the strength gained from the environment would be better sent to the left branch or the right.
Such an elm would be entirely different to its fellow elms in the forest. Because if it could envisage what it might look like as it grew to maturity it wouldn’t be an elm but a human person. Unlike the elm we are entrusted with our own growth. The basic plan is in our genes but the environment we inhabit and the choices we make ultimately decide what we become.
Your authentic or aspirational identity is what you hope to make of yourself, the type of person you want to become—the ideal you. It is a vision of the highest potential that you aspire to fulfil in your life—the true, free and authentic person you wish to become.

Most likely you are seeking freedom as a response to something missing in your life. You have gaps you need to fill. Maybe you feel your life is somewhat flawed or imperfect. You want more from life. This “more” varies from person to person. Particular needs seem to be linked to your stage in life or the“Lifetime” you are in right now.
Over the period of your life you have five Lifetimes:
Playing Time: 0-17 years (carefree, full of fun, life is mostly play).
Getting Time: 18-30 years (getting qualified, getting jobs, getting married).
Giving Time: 31-50 years (rearing kids, working, investing, striving).
Being Time: 51-70 years (thinking, taking stock, life-changing).
Taking Time: 71+ years (retiring, relaxing, reflecting).
I got the idea for the Getting Time from Michelle Phillips, a Hay House Radio host and author. As we move through these Lifetimes we come to way-points which challenge us. These are wake-up calls to find our own truths and start living authentically. Adaptive Freedom is helpful for people throughout all these stages.
In the later stages of the Playing Time and early part of the Getting Time young people examine what they would like to do with their lives, what they want from life and how they plan to go about it. But this is usually a secondary consideration at a time when carefree enjoyment of life is paramount.
In the later stages of the Getting Time people start questioning what life is all about. Their confidence in previous life choices may be wavering and issues linked to purpose and definitions of success and happiness become important as they experience challenges in relationships and marriage.
Much of the Giving Time is spent is service to others, especially in nurturing the young to help them create their own success in life. In the later stages of the Giving Time people may have a sense that in all the giving they have lost sight of their own life—that time is starting to run out and their earlier life-goals may remain unfulfilled. Their career, relationships and lifestyle may not match up to their original life-plan so they begin to either redouble their efforts or change course or perhaps do both.
The transition from the Giving Time to the Being Time is often described as the “midlife crisis”—a period of instability, anxiety and change. During this period people tend to review past choices and think about their final years. Awareness of death is usually a feature of this period as is a sense that despite accomplishment life seems to lack meaning.
For men this can often mean appraising their career in a new light and coming to terms with their past, facing reality perhaps for the first time and examining what wealth truly means. For women this can be a time of discovering their personal identity beyond the partner-wife-mother roles, and seeking self-reliance and independence.
The good news is that your circumstances, environment and conditioning have brought you to the place you are at right now, but the choices you make now can bring you to a new and better place. Experience changes the physical structure of the brain. And since you can chose the kinds of learning experiences you have, you actually have power to affect the structure of your own brain, and life, both for good and for ill. All that is necessary is to exercise that choice—to choose to live a free and authentic life.

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