Life is comprised of an endless set of circumstances that place us in the position between an illusion and a truth. Sometimes such a setting arises in a passive form in which we observe the unfolding of “truth” in front of our eyes, a realization that something is not what we thought it was. At other times, piercing the illusion confronts us directly within the context of a conversation– when a question is asked of us. Perhaps we are asked our opinion on something or how we feel about something. Sometimes those questions appear to be dealing with “surface” concerns, insignificant. We may be asked, for example, “Where do you feel like eating this evening?”
You reply that you don’t care, but the truth is, you do. You just don’t want to be the one in charge of directing the group to a particular restaurant. You would rather follow the crowd than lead it – and that’s also part of the truth. But it goes unsaid. It’s an awkward truth, of course, but it is the “truth.”
* Is this something you can relate to? Does this level of simple, inconsequential, ground-level truth intimidate you?
Then there is the category of deeper, personal truths, the type that are game changers. Long-term personal relationships build up issues that require continual discussions, periodic cleansings. The choice to “just not say anything” in order to keep peace around the home is a common but foolish choice because the “truth” is resentment, anger, and hurt feelings will find a way of expression into the open arena. Passive-aggressive behavior develops in the household. Intimacy breaks down. Erosion of small acts of interpersonal support begins, all because speaking the “truth” openly is far too intimidating. Such patterns go on for years. It could be that you are comfortable being open with one person but not another. Why is that?
The simple answer is that some friends or partners are receptive to truth-oriented dialogue. Or it could also be that with certain people, you are more receptive to listening to their feedback, as “speaking truth” is a two-way street.
- In what situations are you likely to be called to speak “truth?”
- What are the most frightening aspects of truth for you?
- What relationship stands to change the most by the introduction of a more truthful dialogue?
- The active decision to see the truth more clearly and respond more directly is a game changer. People generally think that this applies mainly to speaking about personal emotions but frankly, that is but one area. Piercing illusions is the nature of the Buddhist path as life is replete with illusions. Assuming you know what is troubling another person and drawing a set of conclusions in your own mind about that individual’s life is a self-styled drama based upon a configuration of your personal illusions, for example. These have nothing to do with expressing your own emotions, except through organizing a drama within the vast domain of your imagination. When you come down to it, everything is an illusion and in understanding that, you come to truly understand the wisdom of the spiritual teaching, “Do not judge.” Releasing judgment alone is yet another game changer, in the most positive of ways. This practice marks an ascent in one’s expansion of consciousness.
- The practice of piercing the truth remains the most challenging of all spiritual practices. It is the ultimate game changer. There is no such thing as an insignificant truth. Any “truth” holds the power to shift the direction of your life. We are born knowing this essential mystical knowledge, this pure mystical “truth.”
Join me next week for the third setting: The Controlling Power of Expectations