Welcome to day 15 of our Cookbook for a Sacred Life virtual course!
Today our topic is Truth.
If the entire universe is made up of different frequencies and vibrations, as Ram Dass suggests earlier in this course, imagine what the frequency of lies might produce. How might they distort reality and our ability to see clearly? In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali suggests truthfulness (Satya) as one of the main principles for waking up. When we tell the truth - both to ourselves and others - we are letting the universe know that we are trustworthy and trusting. That we are unwilling to twist or bend what is true to serve our ego’s fears, resentments, attractions or aversions.
PROMPT: Today we look at another helpful habit - telling the truth. At the end of the teaching, Ram Dass asks how our lives would be changed if the truth were known. While this requires a great deal of reflection, what are some simple ways it might change your life for the better?
It seems to me all definitions when following the dharma are about authenticity, harmonization, ethics, wisdom, reality, and clarity. Understanding these is central to answering the questions of life and following a spiritual practice.
Truth in this context is all the above. It simplifies life. It lets go of attachments and illusions, and is directly correlated to leading a fulfilling life.
This is no simple accomplishment. Some Truths more difficult than others. Each time I hide behind an image, attachment, or illusion it has the ability to not only cause others harm but myself as well. This has definitely impacted relationships, work, and my ability to be happy.
Moving towards a more authentic and truth based life in a world of illusions seems like a herculean task, but is worth the effort. One moment, conversation, and relationship at a time. Realizing that my truth is not necessarily someone else’s truth, and that this all has a sense of timing to it. Diplomacy. Social emotional intelligence. As Ram Dass mentioned, beginning with oneself.
I just loved today’s lesson. Truth has been a major focus on my journey for the past year or so – especially uncomfortable, difficult truth. It is incredibly liberating to move past that fear and speak/live from the heart.
I have a little story of a bunch of “stuff” for you, if you’re interested in hearing. I’ve been more committed than ever to truth throughout this past 2 years or so (and still am) but there was one truth I was having such a hard time speaking – it involved a romantic relationship I’d been in for almost 3 years with someone I love very much. For various reasons I knew I needed to end the relationship, but I was so afraid to have this conversation with my partner for fear of losing him, hurting him, and the pain I’d experience myself. This lie, to myself and to him, weighed on me throughout our time together and it affected me deeply. But about a month ago, I finally worked through the fear just enough to be able to have this conversation, and not only did it seem to strengthen our bond (which is now a friendship) because it freed him to open up about truths he was afraid to share too, but it made me feel like I just let go of a 50 lb backpack I’d been carrying. Lying in this way was sending a message to myself that I don’t trust my heart, and that my deepest needs are not important enough to honor, which is definitely not how I truly feel. I was letting fear run the show, so I had to find a way to listen to and care for the fear (gathering support from close friends, journaling, long walks outside, meditation, yoga, talking to Maharajji all helped me), so that the fear could settle down and let me do what I needed to do. Yes there is sadness, but quickly after this conversation I received so much energy, inspiration, and excitement for life. I feel so much closer to truth and my values, just so high in so many ways. I feel like “myself” again, after a long time of trying to reason away my feelings, trying to hold it all together when all it wanted to do was fall apart. Falling apart is actually so freeing, all that tension is gone now, and that has made more space to focus on my spiritual practice. I hope that if anyone reading this has a big scary truth that they’ve been wanting to share, this gives you comfort and encouragement to listen to your heart.
When my ego steps up and says to me that I have no truth in any particular subject, as Ram Dass speaks it. Meaning I have everything within that I need, yet I deny it with what we now identify as imposter syndrome. I witness truth vs lies as an egoic interpretation from the perspective of within self not as a judgement of others. I am free to be and speak my truth with the grace to express it. Practicing the principle of Ahimsa.
This hit me deeply Angela - wow, this is so freaking wise! Last August I came out of a similar type of relationship, leaving it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done (even though I did not initiate it ending, I knew it had to)… I had totally abandoned myself and my heart and my needs to please this person and “keep them around” because I was terrified to be alone, which was a miserable place to be in for both of us. I feel so much lighter now too, thank you for sharing your heart and your story. Sending hugs to you!
I have never thought about truth in quite this way, and I really love it…
“To lie to another person you have to see them as “him” or “her” or “them”, i.e., as an object.”
WOW! Whatever I do to my brother or sister, I do to myself, because we are all one. I have thought of this in other contexts, but for some reason I have never thought about this with regard to lying. Brilliant.
Known truth would allow for greater acceptance to open up. Conflict would ease in it’s seriousness like laughter breaks through anger.
It’s like breaking the 4th wall of the ego. Things are perceived as natural effortless flowing. Hopefully knowing truth will be the beacon for others to join in on the fun, and the way we connect with each other is genuine and authentic
I’ve spent my entire life as a searcher. Looking for someone to speak the truth, to say the truth, to embody it, to speak for me. Trying on different hats and personalities, Ive always been a chameleon. Always looking to others for who or what I should be next. Since finding Ram Dass’ teachings I feel that sense of home he described upon meeting Maharajji. I think often of Krishna Das’ quote about how the guru isnt external its looking through your eyes right now. I think the major truth that would change my life would be that the truth that I’ve been searching for, for decades, and have spent so much time trying to find, expended so much energy and time worrying about finding and trying to track down, has actually been an internal thing all along. Searching outwardly seems to have been a lila to get me to ultimately go inward. I’ve been on an inner journey all along it just took decades to realize. The truth exists in me, what resonates with me, what feels right for me. It’s just a matter of uncovering who I already knew I was, thats been buried under rubble, hidden in dust and cobwebs. I have to polish the mirror as Ram Dass would say to see the beauty inside me. I feel more at ease with myself now than Ive ever been. I feel more like myself than ever. I have purpose and meaning. And things look clearer outwardly as a result. When I do that my life seems to fall into place and my light shines forth joining the incandescent light beaming out of everyone else. Telling the truth would allow me to tap into The One Who Knows as Ajahn Chah said, trusting my own intuitive heart and listening to its exquisite song.
I feel like, speaking from my heart has not been a major obstacle for me. What has been challenging was the way I speak, in order to not hurt the person I am addressing. Many people simply do not want to hear certain things, and I need to learn how to deal with it.
Yes, Nina, the way I speak is challenging to me as well. I am very grate to Jerry Jampolsky for creating steps and principles of what I like to call “Living in Love” and what he named Attitudinal Healing. These groups over the past year of my life have been ever so helpful in learning how to determine when and what to say.
When I was 17, I spent months lying about this one particular thing to my parents. It’s a complicated situation that I will not get into here, but through the absolute trauma of it all I made a personal vow to never lie again. I know right, kinda lofty for a 17yo to hold true to that. Although I did a pretty good job of being authentic in public settings, I didn’t truly understand that being truthful also meant telling myself the truth about my college, on-off again relationship, later followed by another on-off again relationship that resulted in a marriage and divorce. Very seriously like a movie, when I’d finally had enough of fighting so hard for my failed marriage to work, I lifted my hands up to heavens and yelled “Ok. I am done. I hear you. I hear that this is not for me. He is telling me a truth I have been refusing to hear and now I am ready to hear it. I am ready to clear this out and make room for what is next. I am ready to receive what is for me”.
In the everyday, it’s an ongoing gut check. Was I operating out of a space of love/compassion or did I actually approach that topic with fear in my heart? Did I not like that comment or how that person treated me because it reveals a darker truth about myself? How am I projecting my own fears/beliefs in this situation? Sometimes truth is not so pleasant and that’s ok. Ultimately I like to live by this saying: “Rather an uncomfortable truth than a comfortable lie”.
Very relatable. Ram Dass spoke about authenticity and our truth. Internal resonance and insight vs unloading too much information with others. In the breakout rooms today we discussed Truth a bit, recognizing that some who are always sharing may need to dial it back a bit in their practice; whereas others who are always people pleasing may have an opportunity to be more authentic and share more with others. The balance seems to integrate both for everyone involved, internal and external resonance, authenticity, and truth.
Wow…your words struck a chord of recognition in my heart Zac. I feel as well that I have been a searcher all my life, until fairly recently. It has probably been the words of Ram Das as well who has shone the light of awareness so that now, I too, realize that everything I’ve ever been searching for has been inside me all the time,I have everything I need, and the path I’m already on, that I have always been on, is the only Dancer There Is. Namaste Zac…
(paraphrased prompt:) What are some simple ways our lives might change for the better if the truth were known (to ourselves)?
This certainly requires awareness and reflection, noticing and discerning the fallacies of my ego’s perceptual filters.
As I have learned more recently in my life (over the past year or so) is that my body/nervous system had been operating on an inner felt-sense of insecurity, unsafety, fear, anxiety, exhaustion and overwhelm. I had to discover (which has been a lengthy decades-long process) that not only is there nothing wrong with me, but that my body/nervous system actually performed valiantly to protect and save me as an infant and a child through traumatic experiences. In my youth, I apparently had to behave properly and orient externally in order to survive. I missed out on cultivating autonomy and self-confidence in my youth. That’s just the plain truth of my experience, without layering detailed stories on top of it.
But now, being able to SEE this truth with my accrued awareness practice skills and finding my felt-sense of safety to support my body/nervous system has made it POSSIBLE (like a gracefully serendipitous slow appearance of a gate/door) to face the lies: dysregulation, unhealthy attachment, coping mechanisms, bracing patterns, fear, anxiety, depression, separation, egocentric-karmic-conditioning-self-hate (as Cheri Huber calls it).
I am opening anew to greater self-compassion, because I am now more able to take in the Truth, which feels very good for a change. I am more frequently choosing to orient towards living the Truth, internally and externally. I tell the truth as best I can, accepting my imperfection at it. I am renewed in my hope for living the beautiful Truth of life.