"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. It's a thing that happens to you...."
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
He was impeccably groomed, expensively dressed with just the right amount of jewelry befitting a middle aged, "successful" man. His smile, broad and bright, was curiously mismatched to his eyes, which beamed an almost imperceptible yet disturbing... something. The hand shake, an olden symbol of "I have no weapon", was an aggressive, strong, too strong a clasp, that seemed to indicate, "I am the weapon."Naturally, subtly?, the conversation turned to "What do you do?" He has a big job, a big house, a big salary no doubt.
I can't see them, but I thought auras were supposed to consist of luminous colors surrounding a person. I detected his aura because it was more of a smell. Behind the scent of expensive cologne, he reeked of superiority.
It was one of those short, unimportant interactions. I know it served to inflate his ego and made me think about mine.
If I judge him as hypocritical, snobbish and phony it is only because I recognize those qualities within me. I have been like him. In fact, the sages say I am him, that we are one. But, I'm far removed from such a level of full awareness or non-judgemental neutrality.
At least, though, I'm noticing that regardless of society's view of what's successful, I agree with the Skin Horse and am striving to oh so slowly and gradually become Real.
Becoming Real is an inner process. It involves letting go of many suppositions about what or how we should be or behave. There's a relaxing detachment to what others may think of you. Like the saying goes, "What anyone else thinks of you is none... of your business."
For me, getting Real, being genuine began to take hold when I was in my mid-forties. (That may sound old to some of you, but I'm such a late bloomer.) My career was peaking, income was good and I was hypnotised by the spell of "more is better", and "you are what you own".
I realize that I'm not even what I do. My value is not extracted from action, though I know my actions matter and have consequences. But becoming Real has meant discarding the lies I told myself and believed then excavating to find my inner Truth. I'm still seeking and have unveiled many little truths, that hopefully will lead to that ultimate Truth they say sets you free.
The shackles of outward appearances are broken and my journey proceeds deeper and deeper inwardly, to find what is authentic within this Self who is becoming Real. Like most journeys mine has detours, hills and valleys, and I get lost every so often. But I guess what's important is to find my way back to the beaten path.
I hope your hair is loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.