beyond the natural mind – a 21 day manifesto
“Today, I will start to understand what truth is. I will begin to notice how I feel when I think or speak words which go against my true nature.”
There are plenty of unhelpful expressions in the world like “a leopard can’t change its spots” which people use to illustrate that although someone may appear to have changed, they are still the same underneath; that their true nature hasn’t changed.
So if I am a habitual liar, what is my true nature? Was I born a liar? Will I die a liar? Is that just who I am?
Most people would agree that “yes, once a liar, always a liar” which doesn’t help us uncover our true nature.
Would you agree that lying is a learnt behaviour, that there is a reason the brain is protecting us by telling untruths? That we weren’t born with this “affliction”?
I for one have told many lies over the course of my forty three years on this planet. So why did I tell them, what was the purpose?
Well, I covered up actions I didn’t want anyone else to know about, things that I was ashamed of, and I also lied to people I wanted to impress.
So if I was ashamed of my actions why did I do them? Why didn’t I “do the right thing” in the first place? Well, I would say that I was “doing the right thing”. I wanted to sleep with a girl who was not my girlfriend and I did it, but as it is customary to be monogamous in our society, and that is what my girlfriend expected of me, then I could not tell her the truth, not if I wanted her to still be my girlfriend that is!
Why did I lie to people about how much money I earned? Why could I not be honest with them? Well, I wanted to appear better than them, I wanted to be looked up to? After all, the society I live in expects people to do well don’t they?
All of these are just excuses. I did not have to sleep with that girl, I did not have to lie about my income; but nothing in either of those lies suggests that it is my “true nature” to lie.
Lies are just a method of covering what we do not want others to know, but they cause chaos.
Everyone is lying to everyone, making it almost impossible to know what others are thinking, creating a deceitful world, quite unlike any other species on the planet.
So why do we lie? Well, I am sure there have been studies done throughout the world, by scientists and psychologists, but for our conversation here, let us accept that over thousands of years, thanks to humans becoming so controlled, that to act in a way contrary to society’s rules is considered a heinous crime; that we have also been taught to believe that unless we earn a lot of money, or are very well educated, we are considered a failure.
But these are more excuses aren’t they? This does not help us understand our true nature, or for that matter, the nature of truth.
I have found out over the last few years that truth is a very personal thing; your truth is different from my truth. We bend the truth to our advantage, some may even see it as an evolutionary adaptation, a survival mechanism.
So why do we lie?
Why do I act in a way I know will upset others, when I know I will have to tell an untruth to cover it up?
Well, I act in the way I decide to act, making it “right action” in that it was right for me (at the time). It is only when other people are involved who may decide that it is “wrong action” that I seek to cover it up.
If no one was ever going to find out, I wouldn’t feel guilty, and I wouldn’t have to lie. So lies are actually nothing to do with me, it’s everyone else’s expectations of how I should behave that are causing me to lie!
Perhaps I have presented myself falsely, knowing that I could not live up to their expectations but have let them place their trust in me all the same.
It seems to me that humans wouldn’t need to lie if they were on their own, if they did not mix with other humans, but that’s not going to happen is it? We live in a social society and we must learn to behave accordingly even when we don’t want to.
Have you ever met anyone you did not need to lie to? Have you met someone with whom you can share everything without judgement? If you have you are the luckiest person alive. When you can just be yourself with someone, that is worth more than all the money in the world.
We are always being true to ourselves though, we know truth from fiction, we know when we tell a lie, what the truth of it really is, even if we manage to hide it from others.
So let us not worry about ourselves. No matter what anyone tells you, you can never truly lie to yourself.
So how do we live in a world dominated by untruths? How do we know truth from fiction? Should we develop mind reading techniques? No, that would just disappoint us when we discover that the person we trusted was actually lying to us.
There must be another way forward.
There must be a way of living with truths and untruths, without resorting to distrusting everybody. So how do we do it?
You know you are already being truthful to yourself, so that takes care of one person, but what are we going to do about the others? What about all those people who lie to us and we to them?
It is simple. It is all about choices. It is about choosing who you communicate with, who you are in a relationship with, who you are friends with, who you work with, who you spend time with.
Remember when I asked you if you have ever met anyone you did not need to lie to? If you haven’t, now is the time to seek them out.
Only through choosing to be with people you do not need or want to lie to, will we begin to create connections, and networks of people who are bonded in truth.
Does this sound like a load of rubbish? Do you want to say “no one ever tells the truth” or “how can I only mix with people I don’t need to lie to, I’m busy, I don’t have time for this, I work in an office, I have lots of friends, how can I ever know if those are the people I should spend time with” or “what a ridiculous idea, there’s billions of people on the planet, this could never work.” Couldn’t it?
Remember, it is up to you and the choices you make; your thoughts, your actions, and the consequences which arise from them. When you begin to realise that it’s all about you, then everything becomes a lot simpler.
by alan macmillan orr