Understanding The Authentic Self

By Leo Gura - September 1, 2014 | 50 Comments

Discover who you really are on 3 different levels.

Video Transcript

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Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org. In this video I’m going to talk about understanding the authentic self.

A Foundational Concept

‘No man ever steps into the same river twice for it is not the same river and he is not the same man’. That is a quote from Heraclitus. In this video I want to address a really important foundational concept in personal development. That’s the concept of the authentic self.

One of the things that I hear from people as I interact and coach them and read all my YouTube comments is that I see people coming up with this excuse, you can also call it an ego defense mechanism, you could also call it a way of thinking or a model of the self, which goes something along these lines. They’ll hear some suggestion that I make that they should enact in their life and then they’ll come back with this kind of thinking: “Leo, what you’re suggesting, that isn’t me. Talking to girls, that’s not me.

“Being passionate about life, that’s not me. Thinking positive, that’s not me. Meditation, that’s not me. Being fit and caring about my nutrition, that’s not me. Going out partying, clubbing, going to bars, that’s not me.

“Socializing, schmoozing with people, small talk, that’s not me. Studying hard, being a good student, that’s not me. Focusing on one thing at a time instead of multitasking, that’s not me. Leading others, being a leader, that’s not me. Learning a new language, that’s not me.

“Doing art, being creative, that’s not me. Being a millionaire, that’s not me. Talking dirty in bed, that’s not me. Working hard, having a strong work ethic, being disciplined, that’s not me. Pushing my comfort zone, that’s not me.”

That’s Not Me!

The list goes on and on. I’m sure you’ve got your one or two things that you think maybe you should be doing in your life, but then again your mind says, “Maybe that’s not me. Maybe that’s not my real personality. Maybe that’s not like my authentic self.

“What would my authentic self do in this situation? Would my authentic self try to be funnier, or would my authentic self want to have the kind of dry personality that I have right now? Maybe that’s what authentic means. Maybe the authentic me is the fat me, the unhealthy me not the healthy me. Maybe the authentic me is the one who thinks negatively, who has all these angry thoughts and depressive thoughts.

“Maybe the authentic me is the shy me who doesn’t want to go and socialize and isn’t very extroverted. Maybe the authentic me is the follower, the passive me not the leader, not that bold individual who goes and commands and dominates other people. Maybe the authentic me is just living the simple kind of life that I live right now not living some sort of grand extraordinary ambitious kind of life.

“Maybe the authentic me isn’t good with women, or isn’t good with men, or isn’t good in a marriage, or isn’t good in a relationship, or isn’t good with kids. Maybe the authentic me isn’t very artistic, is not talented in art, is not talented with languages, is not talented with math, is not talented with science, is not talented with personal development or some other area of life”.

This is a very dangerous thing, this game of is it me or is it not me? I want to go and dispel, at three different levels, this idea of authentic self. There are three layers of depth here and each layer goes deeper and deeper and deeper. The third one is incredibly deep you might not even be ready for it right now but I’m going to give you a hint of it.

You’re going to need to get over this ‘isn’t me’ idea in order to grow yourself. This is one of the most tricky and kind of like stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks methods that your brain has for preventing you from growing. Taking note, as soon as you say something isn’t you, something isn’t authentic to who you are, that immediately cuts off that possibility forever from your life. You’re never going to ever master that area of your life just because you said or you believe in your mind that this thing isn’t really you.

Why? Because there’s this incongruity now between what maybe you feel you could be, but then what your subconscious mind thinks that you actually are. This is getting into the concept of self-image which I have a whole video on. You can check that out I’ll link it below, it’s called ‘Self-Image’, but we’re going to go even deeper here even further than self-image and really take a look at what it really means to be your authentic self.

I see a lot of people getting it confused here. I used this label authentic self and sometimes I use it in different ways so it does get a little bit confusing and a little bit tricky. Let me help guide you through some of these weeds here.

The Three Levels Of ‘You’

Here are the three levels that we’re going to tackle this at. Number one is the following. The authentic you, isn’t your present you and it’s not your past you, it’s who you will become after full self-actualization happens which is an ideal. You’re never going to be fully self-actualized. You’re always going to be working towards that ideal.

Here’s the first mistake that most people make: they think that their past is somehow giving them a sense of who they are and that that’s kind of their authentic self. That’s not your authentic self. That’s your weakest version of your possible self.

When I talk about authentic self, I’m talking about your most evolved ultimate highest possible potential in life. This means that if you do everything perfectly in your life, then you’d be moving towards this ideal. If for the next thirty or forty years in your life you worked your ass off every single day, working and expanding yourself in every single part of your life that you could think of, that would get you towards your authentic self.

That’s how I use this concept when I talk about it in my videos. This is very different than the way that most of you think about it. A lot of people will use this idea of the authentic self to stay in some sort of comfort zone. They’ll say, “That requires work, labor, discipline and effort. That’s not really me”.

That’s not what I’m talking about. That’s not really your authentic self. That’s the first level and I’m going to go into more details on this but I want to give you a preview of the other two levels.

The second level is, really, going back to the original quote by Heraclitus in the beginning of this video. It’s this interesting idea that who you are is constantly changing. We like to speak about a ‘self’: myself, yourself, authentic self, he’s being authentic, she’s being inauthentic, she’s this way, he’s that way. What are we really talking about?

This is a conceptualization, a theoretical notion. If we take a look at real life, who are you? If we say that ‘you’ is the common sense notion that we have, kind of the notion that you are your body, you are your brain and your mind, if we say that’s you, then even if we take that idea which we’re going to expand on later, what is that? That’s a system comprised of billions of neurons, trillions of cells all working in coordination together, molecules, chemicals, proteins, fluids and organs, all this stuff interacting.

You could think of your body almost like a country. What is a country? A country is just an abstract label for a chunk of the physical geography of the globe. It’s also the ocean and the water that’s there surrounding the territory you might say, but it’s also all the people inside it, it’s the ideals that people have. It’s a very abstract idea a country but people talk about it like they were real entities. Really that’s kind of a simplification that we have in our mind.

It’s the same thing when we talk about you. Who you are is constantly changing. Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every year, your body is changing. It’s not staying the same. Your mind and your brain are changing.

In a very real sense we can say that there is no you. You is always evolving, always shifting. You could be growing, you could be declining, you could be thriving, you could be dying, you can be ageing, all of us are ageing. This is the second level and I’ll talk more about that in a minute.

Then we have the third, the most advanced, the deepest level. This is the level that says that really there’s no such thing as you at all. Even the scientific model that says that you are your body and you are your brain, your mind and your thoughts, that even that is illusory. Not only is it that all the molecules and chemicals in your body, in your brain are changing, but this idea goes so deep and it says that you’re even more than that.

You literally are the whole of experience and the whole of reality not just body and your thoughts. On this level, this idea of authentic self is just a total fiction and it’s a completely ridiculous concept. In fact this is a concept that creates a lot of suffering in your life. This is a very advanced level so I’m not going to go into too much detail on it here. Check out my videos on enlightenment which I’ll be shooting a lot of which will help you to understand this idea if you’re curious about it. It’s a very fascinating and a very important idea for you to start to understand and start to actually practice and live in your life.

The Lazy Self Versus The Best Self

Let’s go back for a second to some of these initial levels that we talked about. This initial level is this idea that the authentic you is the self-actualized you who you will become if you expand yourself in all the different areas of your life.

This is the idea of this distinction that I have between the lazy self and the best self. All of us if we just kind of leave ourselves on the natural trajectory of our own life, what is that? That is really us being our lazy self. That’s kind of us running on the same track and doing the easy stuff in life, the stuff that’s convenient and comfortable, the stuff we know we can do, the stuff we’re very confident in we’re very sure about.

A lot of people frankly live their whole life this way. After they go through their teens and their twenties they experience all the natural growth that they are going to experience. Once they get past twenty one they pretty much start to flat line and plateau and then their just keeps going like this. It’s more of the same and the same because really what was happening is in their teens and in their twenties they were experiencing lots of natural growth because your bodies growing, your brain is growing, new ideas are coming in, and you’re getting a lot of education and schooling so you’re just getting acclimated to the world.

Once you’re acclimated as an adult then you’re pretty self-sufficient and you can maintain yourself on this consistent even level if you want to and that’s the easiest thing to do. That’s the most natural thing to do. It requires no additional education, no additional labor, no additional development of skills, no pushing of any comfort zones. That is kind of the status quo. That’s the default position.

Of course this idea of ‘natural’, a lot of people also use this as an ego defense mechanism and say stuff like, “Leo, that’s not natural to me. It’s not natural to me to go talk dirty to my girl when I’m having sex with her. It’s not natural for me to go chat up a girl in a bar or a club. It’s not natural for me to work on this marriage.

“It’s not natural for me to go work hard on my career. It’s not natural for me to learn a new language. It’s not natural for me to earn lots of money. It’s not natural for me to be fit and healthy and to have a six pack”.

You Want To Stay Comfortable

All these kinds of ideas. See, this idea of natural, what you’re really saying there is that you don’t want to take on the challenge. It’s too much struggle and what you really want to do is you want to stay comfortable. You want to stay in your comfort zone.

Who can blame you? Who doesn’t like being comfortable? Who doesn’t like staying in their comfort zone all the time? In modern society it’s very easy to be comfortable.

You get a job that pays your bills and you’re pretty much set. At that point you can get a comfortable apartment, you get a comfortable car, you get a comfortable bed, furnish everything you like, you can find a comfortable guy or girl to be with and then you can just coast through life. You eat comfortable foods that make you fatter and fatter slowly over time, destroy your health.

You just do the kind of comfortable stuff that’s easy to do at work and that makes you mediocre and average at your work. Nothing’s really advancing you’re just mediocre and average and you keep going and going but it pays the bills so you’re happy. You sit at home, you watch a little television, you play some video games, you go out to the movies once in a while, do some fun stuff with your friends. That’s a comfortable life.

It’s not too hard to get that these days. What happens there, because of this idea of self-actualization and Abraham Maslow’s idea that self-actualization is actually not a luxury but is a requirement of your psyche, once you get the basics in your life down you’re not going to just sit there. What’s going to happen is that you’re mind’s going to slowly start to rot and your soul is going to rot from the inside out because you know that you’re destined for something much greater in life.

You know that you have so much more potential. You know that you could be doing something amazing for society. You know that you could have an amazing impact. You know that you have these strengths and natural talents, whatever they are, whether they’re artistic talents, business talents, interpersonal skills, logical skills, mathematical skills…whatever you’re really good at, you know that you owe it to yourself to develop those and to work really hard on those so you can really turn those talents to something that really shines. This idea of being natural, watch out for that.

What’s natural is usually shit. I don’t know about you but I don’t want a shit life. I don’t want a natural life. I want the best possible life. The self-actualized life.

For that, you have to have this expectation that you’re going to be working really hard growing yourself. For some people this seems scary and it seems like, “Why would I want to work so hard Leo? What’s the point? Why can’t I just be accepting of myself as I am, just live this comfortable kind of life.”

Like I said it starts to produce problems down the road for you. You start to rot from the inside out. Also, the greatest fulfillment and pleasure that you get from life is not these low level pleasures of satisfying some of your basic desires with food, sex and shelter, but it’s the high level pleasures of self-actualization work: growing yourself, pushing yourself and conquering obstacles, being on that hero’s journey in your life life, living a life of passion, helping other people in whatever way you want to help them by creating some amazing art, creating an amazing company and a business, doing some sort of charitable work…whatever lights you up.

The True Authentic Self

That’s where you get the deepest sense of fulfillment in life is when you’re doing that when you’re sharing your greatest gifts. I think you sense that and I think you know that you want that in your life. If you do you have to change this expectation of your authentic self being who you were in the past or who you are presently. That’s not your authentic self. Your authentic self is what you’re going to be growing to every single day when you’re pushing yourself.

Let me give you a sense of what your authentic self looks like because it’s still kind of abstract and I want it to be very concrete. Don’t think that this doesn’t apply to you. This description that I’m about to give you applies to you even if right now you feel like this is totally not you. This can be you and this must be you if you want to be self-actualized. Here it is.

Your authentic self, if you were there right now, he or she would be completely confident, assertive, disciplined, internally grounded in his or her own values, emotionally stable, on purpose in life, deeply passionate about everything that you’re doing in life, having zero limiting beliefs of any kind, believing not in an idealistic quixotic kind of way but in a pragmatic kind of way believing that you can accomplish whatever it is that you want to accomplish in life, a sense of strength and power, having a high self-esteem knowing that you deserve it knowing that you deserve enormous success, knowing that you deserve enormous happiness in life, having the desire to explore all of life, not judging it but just wanting to explore and partake in it, being fully self-expressive not holding back at all for anyone, not being hemmed in by anyone’s opinions of you, having zero fears, complete fearlessness, being able to go in and tackle any kind of challenge in life, any kind of obstacle, any kind of project that you want without your fears holding you back.

It also means being a hundred percent positive. No negative thoughts of any kind, seeing the world as a beautiful amazing positive place and wanting to make it even better. It also means being social and outgoing even if right now you’re shy or introverted.

It also means being generous to yourself, being generous with your time and really being generous with the work that you’re doing, doing work that is promoting the good of other people and is making you fulfilled inside just by looking and seeing the impact that you’re having on the world. It’s being selfless. It’s not caring so much about a lot of petty little problems in life but being more idealistic, being more values-driven, being driven by a higher consciousness.

It’s also having high consciousness. It’s being in a high consciousness state rather than a low consciousness state which is the difference, for example when you’re meditating, when you’re fulfilling your goals and your dreams and you’re working really hard, that puts you in a high consciousness state. Low consciousness state is when you’re watching television or when you’re doing drugs or when you’re stuffing yourself full of junk food.

Being authentic also means that you’re healthy. Fat is not authentic. There’s nothing authentic about being fat, there’s nothing authentic about being overweight. There’s nothing authentic about doing drugs or any other chemical dependencies or addictions so being completely clean, completely sober and completely healthy and fit, lean, the way your body was designed to be, your body was designed to be lean whether you’re a man or a woman, energetic, muscular, full of vitality, that’s authentic, that’s your authentic self.

Authentic self also means that you’re highly sexual, open about your sexuality, comfortable with your sexuality whether you’re a man or a woman. Speaking of man or woman, authentic self means that you’re comfortable being either very masculine or very feminine, or if you’re in between somewhere you’re comfortable with whatever position your hormones have placed you in in life but you’re comfortable with that. If you’re very feminine you’re comfortable being very feminine. If you’re very masculine you’re comfortable with that and you expand into it and you grow into it and you delight in it.

Authentic self also means that you’re accepting of the other opposite pole of you as far as gender goes. It means that you understand the opposite sex, you don’t hold resentment towards the opposite sex. It also means that you can even partake in the opposite sex’s energy yourself. Sometimes if you’re masculine you can be feminine and if you’re feminine you can be masculine and you’re okay with that, you’re comfortable with that, you’re secure with that. Being the authentic self also means that you’re completely open minded. No idea offends you no matter how positive or how negative it is.

You’re so open minded that you’re willing to consider any kind of idea, you’re willing to consider that you’re wrong, you’re willing to readjust any beliefs or models that you have about the world. It also means that you have this sense of nobility about how you approach life. You always take the high road rather than the low road in whatever you’re doing. In your relationships, in your interactions with people, strangers, family members, the way you run your business, the way you approach your career, even the thoughts that you have they are noble thoughts not petty thoughts.

We’re All Human Beings

That’s the picture. That’s all the detail that fills in this abstract notion of authentic self. Notice how different this is from what you might think the authentic self is. It’s very different.

Even right now as you hear also this you might be saying, “Leo how can you be saying this? You don’t know me. I am a very unique person. I have my own strengths and personality quirks. Everyone’s different. How can you say that everyone’s going to be this way? How can you say that everyone’s going to be fearless, that everyone’s going to be masculine or feminine and that everyone’s going to be open-minded?”

I say this because on a fundamental level we’re all human beings. Although there are lots of differences between us, we have our own little quirks, strengths, talents and values and all this kind of stuff, in the end a human being is pretty easy to define. Once you study human beings for a long time, you do a lot of research on psychology and you study this stuff, you see that pretty much there’s this baseline level of what a proper example of a human being is. Kind of like an exemplar of a true human being. This is what it is, this kind of what it all boils down to.

If you’re deficient in any one of these areas and it’s hard for you to even imagine that you could be extremely confident, assertive, have zero fears, be sexual, be healthy and all this other kind of stuff, that’s because you’ve got a lot of bad social conditioning, past traumatic events, bad psychology, negative thinking, limiting beliefs, poor self-image, poor self-esteem, low self-confidence… all this is stuff you need to work on. This is all stuff that you might think about it this way, I think I’ve made this analogy before.

Imagine you’re the sun, this bright sunny sun, this massive ball of energy and you’re just bursting with energy in every direction, rays of light shooting out. But, when you’re born as the sun and as you’re growing up in your early years, through your early twenties what happens is it really gets caked with lots of grime, dust and smudge. For some people there’s so much grime and smudge on this sun that maybe there’s this little ray shooting out in this direction, and a little ray of light shooting out in that direction, just a couple and you think that that’s the authentic you. That’s not the authentic you. The authentic you is who you are when all that grime is removed.

That’s what I’m telling you with all these little characteristics that I just mentioned with details. That’s who you will be. Don’t get me wrong, you’re still going to have your own individualities. Your own character traits are going to be in there, still going to have weaknesses there in certain places, you’re still going to have your own preferences, you’re going to have your own values so you’re still going to be very different and very unique from everybody else that’s out there.

But stuff like confidence, this is a very general characteristic. You can be confident about doing your art, somebody else could be confident about doing their business, somebody else could be confident about the marriage they’re in or something like that. So confidence is a very broad characteristic as is assertiveness, fearlessness, passion, being social and outgoing.

All of these things are almost like tools in your tool belt. When you’re a full authentic human being you have a full tool belt of all these tools you can literally manipulate anything you wanted in any way that you want. It’s up to you to decide which tool to use. Maybe some tools you’ll never really need. Other tools you’ll use a lot.

That’s where the customization comes in, but overall you want to have this freedom to do whatever you want with your life. Really right there everything we just talked about that is covering that first point about the fact that the authentic self is the fully self-actualized self.

You Are Being You

Now let’s go into the second part about the authentic self really not even existing because you’re constantly changing all the time. A lot of people, they’ll say that the self is a thing as though it was a noun. I am a noun, I’m a thing, I’m a person.

Actually you’re not a noun. What you are on the second level that we’re talking about is you’re a verb. You’re not you, you’re being you and being is a process. This is a dangerous thing to do is something called nominalization, this idea that you take something that’s actually an active process and then you transform it with language and concepts into this static thing which doesn’t actually exist in reality.

Right now I’m talking to you and my brain is rewiring itself as I’m talking to you. I’m literally changing as I’m talking to you. As I’m hearing what I’m saying that’s creating more insights within me, it’s getting me even deeper understanding of myself, all in the span of this video. That’s happening right now so who I was when I started shooting this video is not who I am right now in the middle of the video and when I finish this video I’m not going to be a little bit different.

It’s a subtle difference. It’s not a life-transforming difference but over the years these little differences add up and they can produce enormous changes, which is how you can have someone who is fat their whole life then get skinny, be shy their whole life then get really confident, be horrible with money then starting millions of dollars, be horrible in business then create a billion dollar business, be horrible in relationships and marriages and then find their dream girlfriend or boyfriend and partner for life. This is how this stuff can happen. Although it’s rare, it’s not the norm, you can have this happen in your life. It’s just a matter of being conscious about wanting it and then going after it, pursuing it and also knowing how to do it. Having the right tools, strategies, mindsets.

So be careful about this. Don’t put yourself in this little box and tell yourself that you’re this noun, this thing. Actually you’re a process that’s always evolving so have faith that changes are happening within you all the time. You just need to direct them in the right direction a little bit. Your brain is literally changing itself every minute.

It’s A Bunch Of Beliefs

The next point I want to talk about is that you have to realize that this self-image that you have is a bunch of beliefs about yourself. You have a self-image about how beautiful you think you are, how attractive you think you are to the opposite sex, how good you think you’ll be in business, how good and talented you think you are at art, math, science, learning or any other skill in life. You have a self-image that tells you how good you think you are as a human being, how much value you think you have in society relative to other people. Your self-image tells you how often you think you’ll succeed versus how often you think you’ll fail.

All this is beliefs. These beliefs have all been installed simply through your upbringing. A lot of people get very attached to these beliefs and they say, “This self-image, this is really me. This is who I am”. No, you’ve got to be a little bit less serious about it.

The fact is that your self-image has been shaped largely by influences outside of your control, literally by random fluke luck. You happen to be born in a certain country at a certain time in modern society, you happen to be raised in a certain type of family, go to a certain type of school, hang out with a certain types of friends, watch certain types of TV, engage in other certain types of media, movies, magazines and books. A lot of these, some of them were random. Someone gave you a book, you read it and it changed some part of your self-image.

You watched some random show on the television, that changed your self-image. Somebody called you a bad name in school when you were growing up, that affected your self-image. Your parents maybe they neglected you, that affected your self-image. All these things are very random. They might have been totally different, just complete fluke randomness, kind of like noise in the system.

A lot of people what I see them doing is they take this noise and they get attached to it and they say, “This is me. This is who I am. Don’t tell me to change this, I am proud of who I am”.

There’s nothing really to be proud of in this noise. Don’t take it too seriously. Sure, be proud of your accomplishments and be proud of the challenges you went through in your life, but don’t be so attached to it, clinging to it that you’re so closed-minded now that you can’t expand yourself more.

Don’t use this idea to limit. All your ideas in this self-image should be enabling you to expand even further. That’s what I want. Don’t turn your past behaviors, your past successes and your past failures into a definition of who you are because you’re an undefinable thing.

You’re a limitless thing. Literally your potential in life is so amazing, so vast, you could take your life in any direction you want right now. Literally any direction you want. You don’t even imagine all the directions you could take it in because it would overwhelm your brain, probably give you a headache but it’s all there for you. Some of it might seem a little bit more natural than others, some of those options might seem a little more challenging or easier than others, but you know what? That’s fine. That doesn’t necessarily mean much. Here we’re going to wrap up with this level number two.

A Figment Of The Imagination

I want to talk a little bit about level number three because this is a much deeper level. This level really starts to boggle in your mind, really starts to mess with your concept of identity. We think about this identity, we’re so attached to our identities but actually what you can come to realize through lots of mindfulness work, looking into enlightenment, this idea that I’m talking about now is going to start to bleed into enlightenment.

Really what we’re technically speaking is this idea that simply your identity is literally a concept. A concept is a figment of your imagination. Everything that is a thought that you have in your brain is a conceptualization of reality. It’s like a fiction of the real thing that’s out there.

This is the case with who you think you are. What you can actually discover it’s kind of a freaky thing to discover. This is the most freaky, also the most threatening thing you can discover is that you, literally who you think you are including this body, this mind, this brain and your past history, that that is a fiction. It’s a very elaborate fiction created by your brain, by your ego. What you’ll really learn is there is no authentic self because there is no self period. What there is just life living itself and what you are is just pure awareness of life.

Of course I’m saying this kind of like a story to you so whether you believe it or don’t believe it, it won’t get you far. This is something you can only encounter directly through lots and lots of introspection, hard work which I’ll help you do. I’m going to create more videos on how to go there and do more work. I just want to give you a preview of this stuff because it’s interesting to think about this stuff, at least to me.

This is kind of where all of personal development ultimately leads to is this idea of no self. It’s a very, very powerful idea. Whether you think that you’re this positive person or this negative person, whether you think you have all these strengths and all these advantages to you, or you think that you don’t, in the end what I’m telling you is that none of that stuff is actually real. These are like stories in your mind.

What’s nice about this is you no longer need to be stuck in life because of this. You no longer need to cling to stuff. You no longer need to cling to yourself and you get this sense of relief. All of your tensions in life, where do they come from? They come from having to preserve this self-image that you’ve got, constantly preserving it, constantly fighting for it, constantly being in this kind of survival do-or-die type of mode.

Become A Superconductor

This makes you very frantic, very selfish and very petty and it really kind of blocks you up. When you can let go of that, when you can let go of your ego, when you can let go of some of your selfishness and desires, then you expand out, you start to see yourself as being more connected with everything. When that happens then you’re not held up by fear so much, by limiting beliefs so much, by all the stuff and all the kind of monkey chatter going on in your brain.

You let that stuff go and then what you find is that you get your best performance in life. You find that you just flow smoothly. You’re like a superconductor of life. Electricity just flows through you, life force just flows through you. You become very creative, very disciplined, very organized, very caring about others.

You really start to move towards this first level idea that I talked about which is all the details of the self-actualized fully authentic self. You really start to naturally gravitate and flow towards that without having to work very hard, which is really cool which is why I’m still excited about doing enlightenment work for me and showing you how to do it.

That’s pretty much it. That’s a very deep understanding of authentic self. Hopefully this gets you a lot more clarity. When I talk about authentic self from now on I want you to understand what I’m really talking about: this higher level self not the petty self that you think you are.

Really what this shows you is that you’ve got a lot of growth to do and there’s so much potential for you, there’s so much you can have in life it’s really a positive message. This is the most positive message you could want that you are this sun and you don’t need to worry about working too hard. All you’ve got to do is wipe off that grime, everyday wipe off a little bit of that grime and a new little ray of light will shine through, and a another one, and another in all directions.

Soon if you can do this personal development journey for a while and really work hard at it then you wipe off a lot of that grime you can really shine. You can turn into an amazing inspirational human being. The kind of human being that you read about in a book, watch a movie about, or hear a story about.

Why do we have stories? Why do we have myths about these types of people? Because they inspire us. They show us our highest potential. They bring us to tears, they make us emotional, and they inspire us to live life to the fullest because you’ve only got one life, it only lasts for so long and that length of time isn’t very long.

Wrap Up

All right, this is Leo, I’m going to be signing off. This is how to understand the authentic self, really fascinating topic. Go ahead and post me your comments down below. Please like this video. Click the like button if you did. Of course share it with your friends, throw it on Facebook. The more you guys share my videos, the more popular they become, the more I can release them for free.

Finally, come and sign up to my newsletter at Actualized.org right here. It’s a free newsletter, sign up and you’ll be on track to get my weekly videos. I release new stuff all the time, my best stuff is yet to come.

I feel myself growing every day, I feel myself more and more excited about the possibilities of shooting these videos more and more every single day, so many ideas to shoot I literally have a list of over a hundred videos that I’m going to make. I love talking requests from you guys for more ideas so feel free to shoot them to me, email or comment down below. Sign up and you’ll be on track with that.

This process of wiping away the grime, that’s basically what we’re doing. That’s a metaphor for what all of this channel, this website is about: how to wipe a little bit more of that grime off so you can fully shine, be your real authentic self and eventually get to a place where you discover no self which is the ultimate realization that you can have in this life. It’s a really powerful, really exciting thing and I’m excited to help you to progress on this journey no matter where you are from the beginning, to the middle to the very, very end. So sign up and you’ll be all set.

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Denis says:

Hey Leo great video as usual. I am so happy I found you a couple of months ago. I really hit a wall and knew I needed to change my life because I was very unhappy with a lot of things. The last two months have been unbelievable, I learned so much about myself and I have made a lot of progress and I know that I am barely scratching the surface. My main focus right now is trying to find my passion in life and making it a career. I do plan to get coaching from you soon. Its amazing how little we know about ourselves. Once again thanks for everything you do to help people.

Leo Gura says:

That’s great Dennis. Stick with it!

Carol says:

Spot on.

Shreya Futela says:

Hey Leo, I admire your work. This video is great.

Kevin says:

Nice job explaining it into three levels Leo. Insightful as usual. Throughout the last 3 months I’ve been exposed to the third level – of course I knew it all along it was just cock blocked by my ego. Still a verb though – not a noun. Keep it up!

Leo Gura says:

Haha, good! Keep going.

Rebecca says:

Great video, Leo! Was the comment about the hero’s journey a reference to Joseph Campbell? The interviews Bill Moyers filmed with him right before he died are full of themes similar to what you talk about in your videos. I feel like you have likely seen them but if not, I think you would enjoy them.

What types of thoughts are “noble”?

I’d also be interested to hear more about your understanding of feminine and masculine.

Leo Gura says:

Yup, Joseph Campbell and his book, Hero With A Thousand Faces. Highly recommend you read it. Yes! The Moyer’s interview is amazing!!

Noble thoughts are generally ones about improving the world and helping others. Basically taking attention away from preserving your ego all the time and worrying about yourself so much.

I’m about to release a video about understanding feminine/masculine polarity.

marc says:

You said it very well, you just touch the words very simple and clear. But really it need lots of guts to be that one… that authentic self we’re talking about. The real thing why i like seing your videos are those positive side in life you impress and the rest of the other side which are negative are all shits. With positive thoughts everything works together for good. An authentic self is a treasure for one’s own self.. it means freedom and it means happiness. More power to you Leo. From rome SEI GRANDE !

Ana says:

Hi Leo, I really like your video, this is one of my favorites. I like C.G. Jung and Hermann Hesse and I do believe that we have the capacity to do everything we want but growing is not easy and that’s why people choose the comfort zone. Watching your videos makes me more confident to believe in what I want from life and to defeat the shyness that stopped me to do many things. Thanks a lot (from Bucharest, Romania)

Leo Gura says:

Cool, thanks

Raz says:

Hi Leo,
this video was really refreshing. I really liked how you explored through these notions of self and no-self…as a turning point towards enlightenment. Even though this video is somehow more obscure; as I had a hard time to really understand what you were referring to by talking about this enlightenment. What is the angle you are approaching it?
Also, I would like to hear more about this 3-layers based model of self.

Quality, narrative, presentation…are all getting better and better every time you shoot a video Leo. Great works, and keep up the positivity.

Mara says:

Thank you, again.

Asaiah Powers says:

Hi leo,I’m confused we speak to have our feelings and/or what’s on our minds validated right? Although i am weening myself off of others and this stimulus-response culture finding my independence,it feels as though i am repressing all of my emotions artificially leaving a contemptible scowl on my face with family, alone,or in school (ruined my 1st day day back). What do you think?

Abhijit says:

Thank You so much!!!

Anita says:

Leo, it is wonderful to see how your life experience and your strong will to transfer brought you to this level you are in now. Keep devolving, thinking, learning, and… hahaha sharing ! I love your work !

I see myself more as the creator of my own being. I asked myself one day, who do I want to be when I am old. What person do I want to see whenever I look back? I created a big sketch, an idea. I picked high, but I do not cling firmly to it. But whenever I feel lost, I remind myself again my goal.
Because my goal is big and relative far, it is better to see a way to reach it. Get fit, study, work, earn money, save, study again, travel… take risks. Nobody can be on the top without first climbing the mountain. All those steps are necessary to learn sculls to climb to the top. Fall, stand up. There is no failing, same as there is no ‘evil- evil’. It is more the way, the chooses and actions I take in life. An ever going on process. Every opportunity offers in my life that brings me closer, I go after. And every intern and extern obstacle I dodge or transfer…

I wonder where you will be after ten years… Succes…

Louise johnson says:

Do you have anything on podcasts?

Leo Gura says:

Not right now, but I want to release all my video as mp3 downloads.

Lerena says:

Wow!! This blew me away at the end. I want to know all about that third level. It resonated so deeply with me. Do you have any other videos talking more specifically on that?

I really loved the whole analogy of wiping away the blemishes. Life is a process not of learning, but mostly unlearning.

I love it! Thanks for the stimulation.

Leo Gura says:

I will be releasing more videos on the third level (Enlightenment) soon. It’s a deep and tricky topic to discuss. Stay tuned.

Lina daCosta says:

Hi Leo! Thanks for your enlightening video. It makes all sense to me! By this perspective, do you think there’s a place for the called “intuition”? What it is? Does it even exists? I Used to see me as an “intuitive person”. Is that affected by who we were, are, or wanna be? Should i trust my intuition? Thank you once again, for sharing.

Leo Gura says:

Intuition exists. It’s nothing magically. It’s just your subconscious mind giving hunches and processing information outside your conscious awareness. This happens all day long.

Dylan Seese says:

Wow.. Your words ring so true, and are music to my soul! I literally take notes as I watch your videos. I am also on a path of self actualization, and know I am going to do so many great things for the world. I am happy to be alive in a time where sharing this message is much needed, and is evolving the self as a whole.

Namaste Leo!

Leo Gura says:

Right on!


Leo, I am glad that I found your videos and I just wanted you to know that you have already started to change my life for the better and I thank you for it…great work, fantastic attitud and energy…!!! Thank you, Edmundo.

haris says:

leo i got a great analogy that is used to help control a persons life and a great way to quit any bad habit. I learned it from mark quepit on youtube, let me know if you would like me to share this. keep it up! Leo is the man

Lee says:

Hey leo, I have been spreading the wise words that resonate so powerfully with me. I think at this lower self at which I currently exist, which has had an incredible boost and cannot wait to attack this amazing gift of life, at a slightly increasing age of 42 optimism is high. I semi quit my job last January after convincing my wife to sell our house, use my plastering skills to do up my friends quite roomy house where we shall then live with our teenage children for possibly the next several years, after nearly a year of fix up we are close to moving in, at which point i will then have the freedom to pursue my higher worthier self, whom I hope can do some good in the world. This chance of fluke that we exist at all and at a time when possibilities for personal and global growth are within all our grasp, I feel almost duty bound to justify my existence, if even in a small way. I shall keep you updated as my personal quest unfolds, and I look forward to you constant guidance, and indeed hope you find what you also seek. Kind regards. Lee.

Carole says:

You are the truth! Very easy to understand and listen to. Thank you

Brook says:

Infact, he is telling the truth and I appreciate him for it. Besides some junk.
The truth is Jesus. The truth is always painful, hard to swallow, we naturally even don’t want to relate with that. That’s why people always admire jesus but at the same time lacked initiative to be like him.
Finally let me tell you something deep, life changing situation that when you encounter jesus himself then you will never be the same again., Because,he is not telling the truth but he is the truth. That’s how your life will copletely change.

Anna says:

Leo, I am so impressed with this video as well as with other videos. You drastically change my self image. You are amazing. You cannot imagine what your videos have done for me. You help me to learn to appreciate what I have. The only big problem I have is once in a while I think about the past, whe I did a lot for my friends unconditionally. Yet, they took advantage of it and hurt me. I want to forget it, but it comes in my dream. I ask myself why, it’s not fair, I don’t deserve it. I try to forget but it’s hard. However, little by little thanks to you I am getting there where you recommend. I wish I can afford your coaching… Thank you so very much. You are stiff in my life.

Leo Gura says:

Glad it’s working for ya

Joannie says:

First of all, english isn’t my first language so I am doing my best here!

Leo, thank you for your work. I am sharing it, and I trully think what you are doing is great for us. Merci.

I also think, or suppose, that sometimes you are limitating youself in your speaking, so that more people can understand it, and so, that more people can feel concerned about this wonderfull journey called ”LEt’S make EArth a BEtter Place”. Tell me if I am mistaken but… even though, It’s okay. I can understand how huge that job must be and how passionate you must be also. I respect your work. You are Great, And I would be interested in meeting you in the future. MAybe some day.

I just want to remember a few things about being authentic that I read this morning and did gave me strenght : 1. It earns you MAD RESPECT. 2. It opens doors for real HONEST CONNECTIONS. 3. Everything is just so MUCH EASIER. 4. Authenticity is magnetic and… SEXY. 5. You don’t waste anymore of your time on anything that ISNT RIGHT for YOU.

My advice : Start now. Those few things are actually true and normal once you are being authentic. You just need to give yourself a little, little push. It is worth it. Like Leo said, FUCK THE COSTS, BE YOURSELF.

And most of all, I realized this :


What an amazing feeling.

Ron says:

Leo I would like you to tell me what do you think about Michael Jackson
I mean, leaving out all the circumstances that can occur in a life like his that he wasn’t able to handle, when he was on the stage he really seemed to express what he was come here for, don’t you think? On stage all his life problems seems to disappear and something greater to take possession of him: his higher self. That’s why he has been able to inspire milions of people: because he remember us what we truly are without all the social/cultural influences of our lower self. And when a man manage to do this, that is expressing his True Self, inconditional love for everything comes natural, and if you know something about him you surely know the natural and childish love he felt in his heart. This is why in a sense I consider Michael Jackson an enlightened human being. Thanks

Shahrzad says:

Hi Leo. I was reading this book the other day and I found the content somewhat similar to what you said in this video, especially the third level and that we have to let go of whatever self-image we have. The book is called “Journey To Ixtlan” and is written by Carlos Castaneda. I just though you might want to read it if you haven’t already!

Thank you for your good work. I’m sixteen and lately I’ve become interested in self-improvement and personal growth and your videos have been really helpful. I would really appreciate it if you could recommend a few self-improvement books within the content of your videos.

Thanks again!

camille says:

Leo you are an Inspiration.
Thank you for all your hard work and creativity.
Most of all thank you for your transapency

brenna says:

How do you have this energy? Where do you find it?

what’s your daily regime to get this?

Leo Gura says:

Not sure what you mean. I am a pretty low-energy guy. I sleep a lot.

Tom says:

I watched this video (Understanding the Authentic Self) twice (likely should watch it 98 more times just to skin the surface). I enjoy all of the messages your videos provide. I have a lot of work to do (painful work). I’m two weeks into Meditation (20 Minutes a Day) and I’ve become aware of how cluttered my mind is…how fearful I am to step outside my comfort zone…how petrified I am to pen my Life Purpose and commit to something greater than the shallow life I’ve allowed myself to fall into. In short…Thanks for the free content.


Jose Ramirez says:


Ugberg says:

OK Leo I watch your videos every day for about 20 days. I watched a lot of your foundation videos and there are a lot of practical things that can help me.

I tried to read self help literature but your channel is only quallity source that i could found and stick with it more than half hour. I also watched some enlightment videos but i can understand them only on informational level.

I have a lot question but here is one about me, i have problem expressing myself,my preferences and i feel like i dont have strong identity ,for example it s hard for me to recognize my strengths . I think i am insecure but i am always figthing with that i dont wanna give up i want to be more confident i feel i almost always in struggle(maybe i am samocritic to much). OK here is my question.

What does mean to behave authentically ,does it mean to do everything that comes in your mind,is that expressing yourself. You always talk about mastering emotions,does it mean when someone insults you,you tried to not get insult by realizing that you dont have to take that personal? Can you explain me what it means for example to behave with more confidence

Leo Gura says:

No, acting authentically means acting from the higher self, so to speak. But this is not like a pretense of stoicism or a facade of external calm. Authentic means you’re highly conscious of your thoughts and emotions to the point where you are no longer their puppet, and in turn, you act without being in conflict with yourself. Action is effortless and seamless. Like water flowing downhill. There is no moralizing or forcing yourself or guilting yourself into action. What you desire just naturally aligns with what you do and your power is grounded internally, so influences from the outside world don’t matter to you very much. Whatever happens externally, you are detached from it emotionally and you’re happy regardless. Even when you are angry or sad or in pain, you are still basically at peace inside because you see the bigger picture. You’re also in touch with your strengths, values, talents, needs, and desires to such an extent that you effortlessly align with them rather than doubting or working against yourself.

Ugberg says:

Thanks for answer. I think i understand. That means that you cant behave authentically before you get to know yourself,your emotions,values,talents,needs,strengths….

I noticed that a lot of people have this problem.Following this logic shy people do not understand themself very well.
It is hard for me to believe that in almost every situation you can be like “water flowing downhill”

Hope to see some videos on introspection. GL

Leo Gura says:

That’s exactly right. Shyness stems from a lack of self-understanding at a deep level.

Of course experience socializing helps with that. It doesn’t all have to be inner work.

You already are water flowing down hill, you just don’t understand it yet

Ugberg says:

But before getting in that stage of authentic behaviour you have to force some actions to involve(like practicing communication),action are not then effortless and seamles

Leo Gura says:

Right, a student learning to drive isn’t very graceful.

Ugberg says:

Ok Leo thanks for answering, i am just starting to do self devolpment(1 month) i cant see any big results in behavior yet ,but i have more information how to deal with problems and sometime I get insights from that informations which sometimes last and sometimes i forget them .

I would like to give you some feedback bcs beginers are mainly your target audience. Your fonduation videos are really great because you go very deep, but advanced stuff is also very interesting but sometimes I feel a bit scary that this is a brainwash,questions that pop on my mind like why cant you build your self through extarnal world like job,girl,friends,religion you can envolve threw them and build your emotional stability , maybe that is shortcut. Why you have to give up on your beliefs to get self-development

Or why if everything is illusion and there is no free will, can I really accomplish things that I want, like self development or big money and so on…

I know you got asked this a lot ,its just my 2 cents. GG

Lucy says:


Just want to say thank you for your wisdoms, for articulating succinctly things have been ruminating in my mind for a long time and lastly for giving me food for thought.

All very inspiring and uplifting.
We’re all on a journey and for me it’s not always easy to talk to those around me about deeply held thoughts. You’re website is truly valuable.

Thank you.

Br Lucy

Ghada says:

Hi leo..firstly i would like to thank u for ur amazing , powerful, passionated videos..actually u let me to go inside myself and try to identify myself…i always believe that every human being is having unbelievable capabilities and these capabilities are emerging out of us mostly at the hard situation..but my problem now that i can not identify these great capabilities without a certain situation to occur..so whats ur advice for this.

Heidi says:

This notion is completely inspiring.

Thank you very much for enlighten us.

Hilary says:

Hi Leo
Thank you for all the work you have done on yourself in order to be able to explain a reasonably complex concept in such a straightforward way. I too am on my journey and I’m so happy to say that this video has reminded me to be more within my authentic self throughout each day, whatever the task. I believe this is the same as “being” from the heart, guided by the soul (higher heart) and connected to my higher self. It’s fantastic to receive reminders!

There are many points in your video that resonate with similar teachings from Kryon and Eckhart Tolle.

Much gratitude,

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