That "aha" moment led me to this one: the True Self (Authentic Self) isn't something we need to create but something that emerges. Think about it, the True Self already exists. It's not us trying to be who we aren't, but who we are! It's not changing what's natural but rather accepting our whole selfs. It's not focusing on what's good but embracing our shadows as well. Often, we try to create our authentic self when really it's about us releasing our false self and giving space for the True Self to surface.
I wonder if we throw the words "authenticity" and "true self" around when we are really thinking and meaning our "best" selves. To be true and authentic is to be honest. It is to see from the eyes of love and not ego who we and others are. It is from that place where we can fully love God and receive His/Her love. It's the place where neither good nor bad exists or if they do they carry equal weight. The yin and the yang.
When I realized there wasn't going to be a welcome sign at the tip of the mountain congratulating me for having reached enlightenment and doing the work to reach my true essence, I felt both relief and sadness. Great that no one is keeping time on my progress, wondering what's taking me so long to cross the finish line. Yet, how will I know I've made it if there is no sign?!
But there are many signs: peace, joy, contentment, perhaps lack of road rage (which I was accused of having, which, of course, I disagree with); just as there are signs when we are operating outside of our True Self and from our ego's perspective. The key and the gift are to recognize the difference. This is the daily work. This is us needing the grace and spirit of God every hour. This is the surrendering we do during Centering Prayer. This is returning to our third space, our sanctuary, our breath time and time again. This is the journey.