“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” ― Noël Coward
If you have kept up even a little bit this week with what is going on politically in this country, you may, like me, feel a bit discouraged. I cannot even say that I have “transformed” the discouraging feelings I have felt, because that would be a lie, and I do not want to become complicit with the culture of deceit in which we live today.
Instead, I am writing this article as a way to find shelter from the lies that are all around us, by telling my truth (I feel sad and mad about all the lying) and sharing some thoughts that can help us begin to trust what is real. In doing some research for this article, I came upon this video of a discussion about lying between a group of children and Venerable Dharma Master Ce Heng Chang an influential Vietnamese monk.
9-year old Lillian asks the master, “What will happen if you lie a lot?”
The master begins by saying “Making excuses is one way of lying.” If you tell your mother you are going to do your homework, and then you don’t, you are likely to make excuses, because you have lied to yourself.
Simply stated, if your actions follow what you say, you will not need to lie! If you say you will do your homework and you do it, you have no need to lie.
The master tells her that the immediate effect is that the person we lie to loses trust in us.
If your mother says she will take you to the mall after you do your homework, and then she doesn’t, you will begin to lose trust in her.
It’s simple, isn’t it? The effect of lying is broken trust, and trust the bedrock of any relationship—the foundation. Trust is at the root of connection, and provides a felt sense of being safe and belonging.
Could this be at the root the anxiety epidemic in which anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. Lying comes in many forms, including lying to the self. Synthroid (a thyroid medication) is the most frequently prescribed medication in the U.S.—21.5 milllion! The thyroid is at the throat chakra, which is all about speaking your truth.
There is a lot of talk about the threat to our democracy of the Russians meddling in our elections and who knows what else. I believe a greater threat to all of us is the fact that the leader of this country lies, and lies, and lies, and has a bastion of complicit supporters who back up his lies with more lies.
That being said, this article is not about Trump, but what you and I can do to remain sane and safe in the smoke and mirrors culture we live in.
It’s a skill to be able to say what is actually true, and requires emotional maturity. In order to do that, we must understand ourselves, understand our emotions. When we are told one lie after the other, by parents, teachers, and other people in authority, we begin to doubt our own selves, and cannot trust our own emotions as real and valid. Here is a helpful video by the spiritual teacher Teal Swan on re-connecting to your own emotions:.
To be authentic we must know how we feel, and trust that how we feel is real, and that it matters. The story we make up about how we feel is another story all together, and that gets into the realm of beliefs. For now, let’s just stick with our emotions.
We listen to the news, and feel sick to our stomach. Emotions may arise, such as fear, anger, sadness, or all of the above. You may even feel shame and embarrassment for being an American, a sentiment I have heard often lately.
Do you push it away, grab a drink, smoke a joint, or possibly get snarky with your partner or children?
Do you go on a rant about the state of the world these days, feeling even more discouraged, more pissed off? I have done that and it provides no shelter from the storm!
Do you notice that you are more exhausted than usual, more cynical, more withdrawn?
Are you keeping your head in the sand and not knowing what is going on, as so many did in Nazi Germany?
All of the above are forms of resistance to your own emotions, which is a way of being complicit with what is going on—a denial of your own reality. There is no need to judge yourself.
Just be honest, and acknowledge how are you handling (or not handling) what is going on?
It’s really perfectly natural to feel any of the emotions you are feeling. Just take a moment and breathe into your heart and feel what is there. Let go of resistance and feel what is there, without judgment.
Breathe. Feel your own true self. This honest moment is a great shelter from the lies.
Take a big sigh if need be. Cry. Scream. Pray. Write a blogpost. Just be real with yourself, which is the beginning of truth.
No analysis. No ideology. No belief systems to get in the way.
Right there inside you is the beginning of truth.
May all beings be free from the pain of separation from truth.
May all beings come to know the joy of experiencing their own truth, free from judgment.
May all beings be truly free, no matter what is going on in the world.