Posts Tagged ‘honesty’

We can’t deeply experience hard pride or shame without believing people are more or less worthy based on our behavior, our beliefs, or even just how we were born. To allow ourselves to feel superior or inferior, we must first embrace the idea we are separated from one another by our fortunes or failures. This idea is harder to hold onto each time we feel that spark of true connection from one heart to another. Each moment of pure acceptance of the divine beauty inherent in the human soul.

It is important for us to do our best to live up to our ideals for ourselves, and maintain a self-awareness that helps us recognize and remedy where we’re slipping. It is equally important that we practice patience and lovingkindness along the way, recognizing that who we are — our innate human worth — is eternally true regardless of what we do or say. We are not our successes. We are not our failures. The types of Pride and Shame that try to mark and set us apart based on such things are hamartia, missing the mark.

We are each human beings, learning to do the best we can with what we carry inside us. The ideas, experiences and opportunities that come to us shift from moment to moment, and we can’t reach out to them if we’re holding onto our judgments of what we thought we had just a moment before.

This applies both to judgments of others, and of ourselves. Love one another, as we love ourselves. That’s the path of wisdom, and the way ahead toward our truest selves.

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I’ve never been Catholic, but I observe Lent every year. I figure I’m not too good for a good idea, whatever the source.

Each year, I try to think of something I should be working on anyway. Then once I’ve decided, I commit to trying for a long-term commitment, not just until Easter.

So this year I gave up something I’m allergic to as a “deliberate shopping choice”. I won’t be ‘freaky’ about it if there’s a little in something that’s my best option.  Also, if I’m feeling good and I’m offered food containing it, I’ll probably indulge.

Why the prewritten exceptions?  I know I’m not ready to give it up for long-term serious, so why pretend, even to myself?

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I honor those who try to rid themselves of any lying, who empty the self and have only clear being there.
– Jalal-ad-Din Rumi

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Last night I was reading Cary Tennis’ advice column in Salon again, where he answered a churchgoing man in a churchgoing family that’s a part of a tightly-knit churchgoing community. The man’s difficulty is that he had become agnostic, and was no longer sure that he fully agreed with all that the church he went to espoused. But he was concerned about whether he should tell his wife or friends about his shifting beliefs, his unanswered questions and unspoken answers. He didn’t want to cause any pain and heartache but he also didn’t want to be dishonest, and frankly, he was feeling pretty alone about it.

It got me thinking about the very doubt there is about belief itself. Not only is there the issue of whether our beliefs are correct, but also whether they provide us a place in our community, or in heaven, or even in a state of peace. It’s so much more than an issue of being right; it becomes an issue of merit, of belonging. If we’re wrong on fundamental issues, there’s the threat that it could set us up for a truly isolated, horrible time of it for the rest of our lives, or even for the rest of forever. Like uncertainty needs all the extra baggage to make it easier to sort out, right?

So when pondering thoughts of the great global belief war, I usually end up thinking about the baseline rhythm of love that I feel thrumming throughout every corner of the universe. Yeah, there’s some real disharmony out there, but under it all is that current-countercurrent of uncompromisingly binding open-hearted love that has outlasted every single bit of harm thrown around, and I figure, will continue to override our best efforts to thwart it. It’s a force bigger than we are. And it loves us. And at the most minute focal-point of it all, that’s all there is to it.

Here’s how Cary put it:

May I say one thing regarding my own perhaps crazy beliefs on the subject? I really believe it is possible that a grace exists in the universe that in caring for you and saving you does not care one whit whether you believe in it or not, and does not care what you think is true: a grace whose intelligence is so freely boundless and beyond us that whatever we think of it does not even occur to it, or occurs to it the way the consternation of a dog occurs to us when we bathe it. We take note of the consternation of the dog but we do not find it persuasive; we already know what we’re going to do with the dog. We’re going to bathe the dog.

Cary Tennis

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