THE DIFFICULTY IN BEING TRUE
In all relationships, including friendship, the ground is always shaky. To be in a close relationship with someone does not assure mutual trust fully. Partial dishonesty or omission of fact is expected in commercial and professional settings where there is no question of hurt feelings, but with family and friends it hurts. No matter what might be said in spiritual teachings about the need for detachment, or in social circles about freedom and liberalism, commitment to another human being means involvement, and this requires emotional trust. A little white lie is still a lie, and “not sharing” in order to spare suffering is just another way of protecting oneself from inevitable participation in another’s feelings, which invariably trigger our own. Living entails depth and amplitude, constant movement, change and adaptation at every level. Most of all, it requires presence and loyalty to innermost truth. Without this, relationships lack humanity and the quality of the spiritual.
Emotional sensibility is the essence of humanity and spirituality. I am forever aware of being held within the embrace of Eternity, but the human side that yearns for respectful, loving reciprocity suffers imperfection and deceit keenly, however slight, unintentional, or unconscious that may be. This doesn’t mean holding a grudge; it simply dampens everyday living, just a little. Forgiving does not eliminate the scar that every wound leaves behind.
People do not know how to be true. Deception happens in spite of the affection that exists between the parties. The problem is not in the relationship; it is in the individual with himself. Brought up on images and ideas about what ought to be, unrealistic and perennially exciting relationships, and behaviour oriented towards external goals, people are not shown how to connect with the deepest parts of themselves, the part that is gratuitous sensitivity and that constitutes the core of our genuine feeling self. Instead, life is approached through strategic planning, numbness and distraction.
People today are disconnected. They think one thing, say another, yet feel entirely on a different plane, unable to decode or coordinate perception. Some persons will do, say, pretend anything to get what they believe is love or affection, the habits of childhood dying hard. Little distinction is made between soul sensibility and mental activity forged on the imagined ego continuum of past experience and future possibility. This augments what is already an ebullient reserve of covert fear and anger. Greater disconnection places ever more strain on the nervous system and on the relationship.
This is what happens. We meet and play and merge and enjoy one another’s company so much that we form alliances based on shared purpose and continuity. People and relationships become things we buy and for which we give and expect guarantees. Commitment becomes a promise based on absurd vows. Each person comes stacked with a long list of conditions that are never voiced and often ignored by the self.
We don’t come to grips with the fact that we deserve nothing and instead owe everything to life and one another. We place greater importance on what we wish to achieve or what we wish to avoid, than on inner realization, communion, and involvement with the dynamic of greater life around us. If we don’t know how to be with ourselves without relation to an activity or someone else, how can we know ourselves? And, how can such a person possibly be true to something it ignores?
Ordinary automatic and superficial relating can at best manifest a mild, self-torturing kind of love that does nothing to really help the evolution of the race. A chilly, absent and automatic form of dishonesty called “politeness”, or a seething indifferent sort deemed “tolerance” prevails. Those who sacrifice themselves for the good of others, claiming to enjoy and find meaning in their welfare often end up dying young and depriving everyone of their luxuriant attentions.
Being true does not translate into insensitivity and coarseness, nor does goodness and kindness denote apathy and permissiveness. The spirituality that is needed today to transmute the huge backlog of human discord is painful even for the most hardened esoteric veteran. At all levels, it is experienced as crucifixion and betrayal. The kind of inner wealth and spiritual bonding that survives uncertainty and unknowingness comes from living life fully, including emotional turmoil. We are not meant to be lone, silent Buddhas on a mountaintop; not today when the purpose is to fuse both worlds into a coherent reality.
The predicament posed by disconnection from self is distressing for both sides. Since so few people really know what they are feeling, we cannot blame them for the well-meaning practice of promising what cannot possibly be delivered. We feel every untruth even if we cannot see it. We cannot avoid, correct, or “fix” feelings that by their very nature consist in oscillations that condition us and the environment. This is the complexity and also the richness of the human emotional experience. There is no cure, and the pressure serves to spike us forward. Only individual consciousness, rightly transmitted, can assuage the discomfort produced by the unavoidable movement of life, until slowly, over time, a better world emerges.
Honesty is as good as the level of love that cohesions the relationship. Each kind relies on inner connection with Self. When we cherish that particle of divinity within ourselves sufficiently, we keep our vows and honor our love. We do not promise the impossible. We are able to discern clearly between distraction, excitement, adventure, and the fiber of inner connection with another on a plane of higher truth. Truthfulness requires self-knowledge. It points to introspection that is not technical but spontaneous and natural because it responds to the desire to know with all of our self. And, our self and the All are the same thing.
Real life is filled with unavoidable bolts to our security. These bolts are the means through which we learn who and what we really are. In our system of worlds, it is the means through which we develop compassion. In this age of increased communications that stress trivia and brevity, we are called to relearn to communicate with one another from a feeling level. Without psychologizing, we need a lot more dialogue. To wake up is not enough; we must stay awakened, alert and deeply human.
Being true requires being in touch with Self. Through inner fullness, perception opens a passage through which we come in touch with everything and everyone else. And so we Know.