I’m sitting on a ferry about to leave Stranraer, Scotland for a quick visit back to Northern Ireland. Here’s where my stream of consciousness is taking me today: the human need for authentication.
If something is authentic it’s the real deal, the genuine article. We humans yearn deep within for the reassurance that we’re OK, that we’re authentic persons. Authentic, empathic, unifying centres are necessary in for us sons and daughters of Adam to develop a true sense of self-worth.
Without such centres we carry much damaging baggage known asurvival sub-personalities into adulthood – the driven need to prove ourselves to others and more importantly to ourselves. Ideally our parents ought to have provided these authenticating empathic centres, but now and again they withdrew their empathy from us, replacing their unconditional love with a performance based acceptance.
Does the situation change when we have a spiritual encounter in later life? Not necessarily so – we can be ‘good’ Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus but still strive for acceptance from the newly discovered Divinity and our fellow ‘believers’.
We search for authentication and empathy down the lanes of our religious life and devotion. Saving the world becomes an attempt to authenticate our wounded persona. This is where we become prone to the influence of seemingly powerful empathic unifying centres – gifted teachers or gurus or perhaps abusive religious movements.
These desire centers appear to promise what we need – authentication through empathy. I believe that Yeshua was a genuinely authentic, yet freeing, unifying center for his disciples, claiming to be the very image of the Divine Father.
Before his predictable death He claimed that He wouldn’t leave the disciples bereaved or in an orphaned state; in other words without a parental empathic authenticator. The Divine Spirit would somehow come and console (authenticate by empathy) Peter and the distraught group after his execution.
Western Christian teaching has always interpreted the root of the relevant Greek word as meaning ‘to stand alongside in a court of law’ thus emphasising the legal nature of justification by faith. I prefer to see Spirit as the One who stands beside us with total empathy, the One who continually heals the damaged ‘selfhood’ within our wounded psyches.
We’ve now one beside, and amazingly within us to spark a new Self-authentication; a guide to reveal how precious and valued we are to Divine Source . Once that awakening occurs the need for external religious validation disappears; guilt will be a thing of the past and no longer will any ‘man of God’ be able to pull our pietistic puppet strings.
At least that’s been my experience.