Opening to honesty and truth

Honesty and truth

Honesty and truth

Last night a friend expressed her anger at another friend.  I listened, my stomach and chest knotting in dismay.  Later my friend said, “I dislike people who aren’t honest about who they like and don’t like.”

I awoke at 5 a.m. thinking about this, trying to puzzle out something coming to the surface.  It is clear that if an emotional reaction arises that something is knocking at the doorway, a piece of the puzzle waiting to reveal itself.  It’s as if awareness wishes to clarify itself.

What did awareness want to illuminate?

When we say, “I don’t like such-and-such or so-and-so” and there’s an inner emotional contraction, that can feel like truth to us.  It is an imminent immediate truth.  Sometimes, those of us with more positive proclivities, refuse to allow this truth, labeling it “negativity”. We proceed to feel negative about negativity, refusing to allow this truth of self-expression its existence.

I realized this morning that there is an imminent honesty in negative expression.  The person refuses to repress her dislike.  She feels the revelation is true and real and honest in the moment.  I have not seen this clearly until now.

What is also true is that awareness need not stop with a negative projection.  There is a deeper truth, a deeper honesty incubating in that revelation.

“I do not like so-and-so,” we say to ourselves, expressing our truth-of-the-moment.

What is the deeper truth?

The deeper truth may require patient, gentle and loving presence.  It may be accessed through inquiry or grace or divination.  The deeper truth peers into the contraction of dislike to discover hidden gems.

Our natural state of awareness is very open and compassionate.  It allows existence to express itself–without exception. The eyes and ears and smells of awareness love by allowing life to express everything, even death.  Even everything our judgments attempt to fight.

The holy moment of the now is a cornucopia of spirit.  Life materializes endlessly, like the flow of a river.  When we resist this flow, something hurts.  We feel this as contraction.

“I do not like that,” we say honestly.

The deeper truth wonders why.  Why are we resisting this expression of life?  We can stay at the level of honesty of this revelation, or we can inquire toward the roots of our dislike.

As we peer inward, wondering, wondering, different answers may arise.  Different feelings appear.  The spiritual journey invites us to penetrate our resistance with compassion.  What can’t we see due to the blinders of our own limited perception? What further truths evade us because our honesty hasn’t reached the root?

As seemingly separate individuals, we often divide the world into “me” and “other”.  In the natural state of direct experience it often becomes clear that this division is arbitrary and conditioned.  We are taught to view ourselves as separate beings.  That becomes our truth at one level of the human journey.

When we begin to recognize the oneness of perception, the indivisibility, of “us” and “other” we realize that so many judgments against another actually reveals something about what we can’t yet embrace in the now, in this sacred moment.

There actually is no separate “I” and no separate “other” as we delve deeper and deeper into the truth.  There is only flow or awareness revealing itself.

“I do not like that person,” can be heard in a very soft way, realizing the honesty inherent in that expression.  It also can be seen as a beginning path of honesty.  To walk deeper and deeper into ourselves to discover where we dislike ourselves, where we turn away from compassion, where we refuse to feel pain, reveals negativity as a path toward revelation.

What truth do we proclaim?  What honesty do we adhere?  Do we continue to move into hidden pain, teasing it to the surface of consciousness, asking softly for it to dissolve what we don’t like into the pool of understanding, of love?

So often we pause at a level of honesty and truth establishing it as our new belief.  But an invitation always exists to follow the river of truth deeper into the forest.  Every moment holds a new opportunity, doesn’t it?

Perhaps life never finishes revealing new truths about itself, new possibilities of awareness.


6 thoughts on “Opening to honesty and truth

  1. You asked – “What can’t we see due to the blinders of our own limited perception? What further truths evade us because our honesty hasn’t reached the root?”

    I had a recent situation develop in my life. For at least 6 or more years now, there has been a war being prosecuted by a newcomer in our valley against a particular branch of the pioneer family that settled this valley. Last year that war resulted in the newcomer now working his way through the legal justice system with felony charges due to using a handgun to threaten members of this family visiting the graves of their loved ones with children present at the cemetery near our home. The dispute involves the sisters of the brother who heads that branch of the pioneer family. The circumstances which the sisters encouraged with this newcomer and which resulted in the criminal charges have caused the families to create a more official entity for their cemetery and to file a civil case to have the boundaries set by a judge. We are supportive of that action by the families and only wish for peace and a return to security here.

    Only recently did I discover that one of the woman that is frequently in my yoga class is now the lawyer for the sister on the opposite side of the civil case regarding the boundaries. This caused me no small amount of difficulty – within my emotional feelings – the next time I saw her in class (I don’t think she knows that the situation has any personal impact on me). Finally and with great effort because I really don’t wish to feel any dislike of her every time we are in yoga class together and because she is a cute and bubbly person that is easy to like otherwise, I realized that the case is only a source of revenue for the law firm what she shares with her father. She is NOT the sister and really probably has a lot less understanding of the “larger” circumstances than I do. I was able to put her professionally “in context” with the situation and remove my discomfort with her personally. I was able to separate the two aspects. Truly, I wish it wasn’t “her” but it is. That is a reality that I will have to live with until the case is settled.

    You said – “The deeper truth wonders why. Why are we resisting this expression of life? We can stay at the level of honesty of this revelation, or we can inquire toward the roots of our dislike.”

    In describing my situation recently over at ANG a friend somehow got a certain impression (which I think was her own subjective reaction to the circumstances I described) that led her to suggest that I – “Don’t necessarily like her”. I replied – “that concept will continue to trouble my heart, and I will search my feelings regarding her when she is present in my environment, week after week, until I’m certain what it is I feel towards her, now that she has become ‘larger than life’ in my orbit.”

    I will be attending a special musical meditation event tonight at my yoga studio with gong, Tibetan singing bowls and woodwind instruments. There are only a few spaces for attendees and both this woman and I will be among them.

    My friend went on to say – “Maybe I’m a hard-case, but I don’t feel troubled if I don’t like someone, there are all sorts of people I don’t like due to sometimes minor issues. I try to work through dislike if that arises. Who says we need to actually like everyone?”

    It simply is not possible for me to “hate” anyone any more. Not even “dislike” them. I can dislike certain behaviors but I never see that as “the person” any more, just a fleeting expression that is never all that person “is”.

    As always you can find me following “the river of truth deeper into the forest”. Love that phrasing !!!

    Thanks for your thoughts this morning, Kathy !!

    • Deb, thank you for sharing your personal story. Am feeling what thoughts/emotions may be arising for you through this situation. It sounds like you are doing the deep work of staying present to a multitude of feelings, stories and possibilities.

      That is a good question your friend on ANG pondered. Do we have to like everyone? I thought about this for awhile this afternoon. Like you, it’s challenging for me to dislike someone now, although that sometimes arises to awareness.

      What seems key, in different circumstances, is whether there is a charged emotional component. A person can appear in this life and we just don’t resonate. There’s not a need to make a stand. Usually we go our separate ways. No need to be friends with everyone. However, if a charge is arising in this body, then attention often inquiries deeper. What’s behind the charge? What isn’t being seen? What wants to be revealed here?

      I have also been thinking this afternoon–maybe another blog post?–that inquiry can be an extremely valuable tool. It can also sometimes (at least in my experience) be a technique which solidifies a sense of separate self, gets me lost in thoughts & confusion, and moves the energy away from the present moment.

      Do you think perhaps that it’s awareness itself which sometimes chooses to inquire deeper to the root and sometimes moves toward silence and sometimes doesn’t even care? That’s this afternoon’s thoughts. I do appreciate you sharing so much.

      • Thank you for your reply, Kathy. When I first noticed how strong my feelings were about this woman’s role in our local situation, I did look deep inside those feelings and I realized that I had projected the sister’s effects onto the lawyer. Meaning, this sister had written a letter giving the newcomer “authority” to look after her property interests just days before the incident of him threatening the families at the cemetery with a handgun (there is a boundary dispute about what is her property which adjoins the cemetery and what is intended to be the cemetery’s property and that is the civil case that the lawyer in my yoga class is involved in).

        My thoughts were running something like this – “her” actions have threatened our peace and security here. It is so bad, that we have had to develop a strategy to defend ourselves in case this person who is our neighbor (the man with the criminal charges pending) goes off the deep end in response to his trial not going well. We are right on the county road that is the only way in or out of this valley and he passes by here every day. So we now have a weapon situated in a “safe room” and the sheriff’s cell phone number near the kitchen phone. This is not how it has been living here up until now – gosh, we leave the key in our car at night and our back door unlocked while we sleep !! My older son said to me after we took target practice to make sure all of us knew how to shoot the shotgun – “I thought we were safe here.” I had to explain that being safe is never guaranteed but that I do believe that once the cases are all settled in court, then we will be safe here once again.

        So it is a highly personal and emotional situation here and I try to maintain a balanced view. I feel that “dislike” is almost as strong of a word as “hate” (only a few degrees milder) and I simply am unable to go there within myself. Therefore, I had to work my way through these feelings caused by real uncertainties and insecurities to an understanding that the woman in my yoga class is simply doing what a lawyer does without a lot of real understanding about the circumstances on the ground here. Last night at our amazing session with gong, Tibetan singing bowls and native flutes I found no “charged emotional component” remaining in me regarding this woman and I was glad I had read your comment before going but had no time for a response yesterday evening as it was time to leave for the event.

        In answer to the questions you have posed here – “Do we have to like everyone?” That is a different question than whether we dislike or hate someone. No, we don’t have to “like” everyone. In a world of fragmented individual expressions some people are going to feel as though they are “similar in nature” to us and some are going to feel “alien” to our own nature. That is the fact of the matter and we have the freedom to choose who we are going to interact with. I avoid interactions with our belligerent neighbor as the best policy for the time being but if forced into an interaction, I keep my emotional responses neutral and am considerately respectful towards him regardless of whatever he is saying because he usually ends up expressing his dis-satisfactions with particular people if one is speaking with him for very long. Do I “like” him ? No, I would rather he wasn’t present here. While I don’t wish him harm or serious illness – I do wish he was “gone” because his presence has disrupted the peace that we have lived here within “before” him.

        I agree with you entirely about where any work or action is needed on our part. And certainly, strong emotional energies are like an attention getter and we can ask ourselves the questions you indicate – “What’s behind the charge? What isn’t being seen? What wants to be revealed here?”. In this manner, we begin to unravel the knots that hide our core feelings and can then address them. Creating a plan for our family’s survival gave me a lot of inner peace regarding possibilities and uncertainties. I don’t dwell on the presence of the weapon in our safe room or our strategy of action if it becomes necessary except in moments as I am having today in sharing these circumstances as an illustration of real life situations and how I cope with them personally.

        I have tried to understand why this sister has behaved the way that she has and I will admit that I remain mystified (the amount of property is insignificant to her holdings but critical to the space that is available in the cemetery for future burials) and can only believe that there is something I’ve yet to learn that might explain it though I have known of instances where resentments remain strong in people long after they have forgotten the actual incident that started it all. That is where hatred does a horrendous work in humanity. In teasing the lawyer apart from the emotional aspects of the local situation, I was able, in effect, to forgive her for being involved and by doing that I am able to move forward with being comfortable with her presence in my yoga class. There is “the lawyer” which is a professional role doing what a lawyer does. And there is this cute woman being “her self” in our classes.

        I agree with you that an inquiry can be an extremely valuable tool. That is the only way I’ve been able to sort things out in such a practical manner for my own self. All of this thinking went on inside of my own self without the woman in my yoga class who is the lawyer ever being aware of how I was feeling.

        The justice system moves incredibly slow. I am certainly impatient for a resolution. The whole situation has been a huge lesson in the games lawyers play to increase the fees they extract from their clients. Even so, I know that eventually it will play out to a final conclusion. In the meantime, I had to abandon one of my usual hiking trails because it brought me into accessible proximity with our belligerent neighbor at his driveway. My sweet husband spent months creating for me a new and aesthetically please loop around a stream valley full of little rocky waterfalls that is deeply central in our property. I usually hike too late in the day to take a cooling dip into the water that never ceases to flow here. However, I’ve been eyeing a little pool that is like a heavenly paradise, nestled between two significant drops of water lined with large rocky shelves.

        So going out early yesterday because of the event last night, with the temperatures climbing above 90 degrees F, I decided to claim this little pool as my own private place and enjoyed skinny dipping and then sunning myself on the rocks before going on my way. I don’t regret living here for a moment and I know with certainty that the current circumstances will end – one way or another. The parties that harbor the greatest animosities are all aging – if nothing else, the natural ending of their lives will end the war. We will still be here (or our children or grandchildren) enjoying another day in paradise.

        My !! – I have a lot to say about all this !! Thanks for allowing me the space. Now on to your final question – “Do you think perhaps that it’s awareness itself which sometimes chooses to inquire deeper to the root and sometimes moves toward silence and sometimes doesn’t even care?”

        My deeply thoughtful friend !! To my own thinking, we each have our own ways of understanding such larger aspects of reality. So from my own perspective – awareness is simply that – “aware”. It is our own self that inquires deeper to find the root in an attempt to understand why things are the way they are. Silence is golden, it is inner peace, it is letting go of a need to blame or criticize, it is acceptance so deep there is nothing more to say. I believe certainly that “we” care but awareness ? It is not able to “care” – it only knows without all of the conflicts we interject into circumstances, considerations, contemplations and reflections.

        Happy Sunday Blessings !! Hugs and a huge fondness for you.

        • My goodness, Deb, that sounds like it has been a highly charged situation, challenging for all involved. May the resolution come sooner than later.

          Here are some parts of your sharing that I especially liked: that your charged emotional content could not be found last night. That is a gift when that happens! The fact that your husband made you a sweet new trail is incredible. How kind he was to do that. And your bathing in that pool yesterday sounds heavenly. almost magical. A visual of peace and security even amidst challenges on the land. I am smiling thinking of it.

          Interesting about your definition of awareness, and how it may differ conceptually from mine. I feel that I am awareness, that there is not something separate that is aware. Agree with you that aware is a force beyond the personal and is not able to “care” as such. But, paradoxically, the awareness-I-am does seem to move, choose, perhaps even care. It feels difficult to express this paradox in words. How something can not care and care simultaneously. Be impersonal and personal simultaneously. Oh the challenges of words! Hugs back to you this Sunday. (Thought it was Sunday all day yesterday! So am having a two-Sunday weekend.)

  2. I do understand “the paradox”. I think it is only that you and my friend Judi as well express this differently than I do. Those expressions sometimes feel cumbersome to me and I sense them as a kind of working through the whole paradox thingy. But that is just my perception – at its core I don’t think I understand it “differently” than you or she, only express it differently.

    Yes – the challenges of those word thingies !!

    So when you say “awareness-I-am” and simultaneously personal – all of that isn’t really different than the wholeness I understand as well and the can not care and care and the impersonal and personal is all ONE.

    Happy (almost over too quickly already) Sunday (I’ve not accomplished all that I intended to today – oh well).

    • I totally agree with you about the cumbersome expression of it! Wow, do I agree! Isn’t it true that so often it’s simply a word or phrase or meaning which appears to distort what two people might already be experiencing in an identical way. Blessings…

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