Authentic

”The most common form of despair, is not being who you are. ”
-Soren Kierkegaard

 


What is authenticity? It comes from Authentikos, first cause, from the first hand. Something to be believed and trusted. It is becoming and being who you are. In a sense, this a redundant statement because try as you might, you cannot be who you are not. What we mean by being who you are is taking up no more or less space than you are, not hiding or projecting, and about not attempting or pretending to be someone else. This process to individuation and responsibility is maturation.

It is hard, perhaps impossible, to know who you are completely, but one can start answering the question anyway.

Environment, biology and culture in interaction make us what we are. We cannot change much about our biology. This is what we are given. But we are also a product and a part of our culture. We are shaped by something that man has created and which we keep going, and help create each day.

When we are looking for authenticity in movement, one of the parts of authentic being, then it is important to know that this too is shaped by both biology and culture, inside of environmental constraints.

Some people are gifted with a body that can bend well, or is very strong (by some biological variation). The most top yoga-practitioners are proven to be biologically gifted: their flexibility you cannot get through training alone.

Use cultural means, like training, to move like someone who can move that way because of biology and you will fail. If someone is born in a way that allows him to bend very far, and you are born different, you will break before you bend.

The way we move is also guided by our cultural ideas about what is good, beautiful and healthy. We cannot escape those ideas, but, we can become aware of how we value movement. Do you move because of what feels good to you, or because of what our culture sees as good. And if it feels good, what feels good? The movement or the praise?

At the end of the day, the only authority that can judge whether or not you are being authentic is you. To finish this reflection, consider these two things:

Authentic imitation & imitation of authenticity.

Would you be able to distinguish them in yourself, or in others? What would that look like and how could you tell?