“Anyone who becomes conscious of role-playing will swiftly discover that just about all his attitudes are roles, that he cannot find out what he is genuinely, and is therefore at a loss what to do to express himself sincerely. Thereupon he is self-conscious and blocked in his relationships, finding himself in the double-bind predicament where every road is closed. This leaves him in a state of complete paralysis if he persists in thinking that there is some ‘right’ course of action and some particular set of feelings which constitute his real self. Where he expected to find the specific truth about himself he found freedom, but he mistook it for mere nothingness. For human freedom does indeed comprise an order, yet because it is the nonlinear order of li and of the Tao, it cannot be classified; it cannot be identified with any particular role. Therefore at this point of the double bind he must wait, and see what happens of itself, spontaneously. He will find that the sensation that every road is barred abruptly switches into the sensation that every road is open. He can play all roles, just as in Hindu mythology the true self is pictured as the godhead acting all the parts of the multitude of finite creatures.
Strictly speaking, it is not quite true that one must wait for something to happen spontaneously. For the heart is beating, the breath is moving, and all the senses are perceiving. A whole world of experience is coming to the organism of itself, without the slightest forcing…” Alan Watts – Nature, Man and Woman
My blog(s) and website have much to say of authenticity and I cringe every time I read some of the bits of expression, not because they are not genuine but because authenticity is a confusing reality, beautifully articulated above in Watts wonderful book. There is such release in allowing it all to flow, watching the roles, watching the people with whom we interact and relate, watching the self’s reaction, learning and just unfolding. In these watchful times we can note whether we are instantly motivated by a fear of how we’ll be perceived (and this is not always a bad fear!), whether we are hoping to be accepted and if that hope comes from a place of restful acceptance of self or semi-desperate alienation from the beauty of one’s own soul and life.
It’s a powerful work, requiring the patience to just watch, to turn up the volume of sensitivity and find that place of freedom. Eventually, the watching is lessened, the unfolding is more instinctual and the unhindered, less inhibited life blooms brightly. What creates a truly rich flow? Times of contemplative growth, where we face issues in life, big and small, and we determine what matters to our own unique unfolding, what we want, what we value, what we will protect, what we will never compromise and what we’ll fight for (of course, it requires we get out and get our hands in the dirt of life).