Tag Archives: truth

Conviction

“Can I come in?” Gator asks me softly, after having knocked almost imperceptibly on our apartment door.

“Of course,” I answer, opening the door further to let him enter. “I’ll call Matthew.” Turning my face to call around the corner, I shout out, “Hey, Matthew, Gator is here.”

I hear the door to my son’s room open. Then, Matthew rounds the corner, entering the small living room to our modest, two-bedroom graduate-school apartment.

At this university, the housing units for graduate students, where we live, were built post-WWII to accommodate the students attending university on the GI Bill. Refurbished and updated at least twice since they were first erected, these apartments were meant to be temporary, yet they remain tiny spaces of retreat for graduate students, visiting faculty and their families.

Gator crosses the living area in five or six easy strides, coming to sit with Matthew at the table-level breakfast bar, which separates our galley kitchen from the sunny living area facing the lake. It was here, not long ago, that Gator underscored his preference for being referred to as “Gator” and not by his given name—a mark of burgeoning individuation and entry into a healthy adolescence.

Moving into the kitchen and past Gator and Matthew, I open the door on our refrigerator to find some peanut butter and apples to have with crackers.

Gator sits down wearily and begins to explain that he had to travel down the hill to visit us after walking out on a one-sided argument with his mother.

“She kept trying to get me to repeat this: ‘I will become a straight-A student. I want to be a straight-A student.’ At first, she was just saying it, and then she was right in my face with her voice raised. I told her calmly that I was not going to lie…

“I have never been a straight-A student. What makes her think that she is going to turn me into something that I am not—something I have never been? And, I won’t lie,” Gator shakes his head in quiet frustration as he finishes explaining his sudden appearance in our home.

Trying to sound nonchalant, I ask Gator, “Does your mom know you’re here?”

Gator continues the thread of his story, “Maybe she is all uptight about scholarships for college or something. But, I won’t lie like that. Don’t you think lying is worse than facing the truth?”

Gator’s question hangs in the air. Matthew is an exceptional listener, leaving Gator a lot of space to work through his conversational experience.

Then, Gator turns to answer my earlier question, “No. she doesn’t know where I am. She just knows that I went for a walk.”

My heart goes out to Gator. I feel gratitude for his presence and the feeling that he considers our home safe space. He is a “good kid”—a thoughtful kid.

“Hey, Gator, would you be alright with my calling your mom, to let her know that you are here?” I ask.

“Yeah, go ahead. She might be getting concerned, with the fight and all,” Gator responds.

As I dial, I think about the issue of conviction, as a trait, and how our own rigidity—in the areas of belief, desire and relationship—can lead us to breaking rather than carry us forward and over the bridge to the safety of compassion and release.

Why are we so hard on the people we love most?

Fetid Little Lies

Recently, while travelling to promote books in a region where I had once functioned professionally, I took time off to care for my physical frame by having some bodywork done. Bodywork seems to redress the compression travelling produces in my body.

Because I was in an area where I had once worked, I still know a few of the regions most long-standing alternative-care professionals. Still, for this trip, I opted to work with a practitioner who was completely new to me.

Spirituality

While working through the compression in my body with this new practitioner, the name of yet another of the community’s stalwart alternative-care providers came up. My sense was that this new-to-me bodyworker was about to recommend the work of this other woman. Yet, taking a deep breath, I felt the need to stop her short.

Hearing this other woman’s name for the first time in many years, I informed the new practitioner that although this other woman may be a completely competent alternative-care provider in her chosen field, she behaved uncharitably toward me during my professional tenure in this community.

Because I felt the statute of limitations had passed on my self-imposed silence, I explained to the new practitioner that this other woman had insisted–among friends and clients of hers–that I had “taken her job.” This was her widely propogated story and not the reality.

After this other woman had been released from her job at a local center, I was in fact the “hire” who had replaced her. This employment circumstance did not turn me into the person who “took” her job.

Ultimately, the experience taught me this. We all tell fetid little, or big, lies to protect ourselves,  cocoon our egos, shore ourselves up professionally while undermining someone else’s constructive efforts or blind ourselves personally from the various truths in certain of our life circumstances.

In the end, I had to move into forgiveness because, upon carefully combing through my own uncensored history, I unearthed select junctures in my own life where I too had told myself fetid little lies, which kept me separate from the Light in my heart and may have dimmed the Light in the heart of another.

Spirituality & Non-truths

Last night, a restaurant owner told me a non-truth.

“So what?” you might ask.

Spirituality

I made an inquiry about the evening’s menu offerings and was told that there was an issue with vegetable availability. I knew this was a non-truth because the restauranteur’s energetic field went from being its natural, shiny and luminescent self to a dull and deeply non-luminescent haze. The observation of this radical, spiritual shift was painful for me to observe, as I had come to trust this individual to speak truthfully with me.

Internally, I countered with the questions, “Really?  You have to lie to me about vegetable availability?” (Vegetable availability is generally a non-issue in the US restaurant industry, unless an establishment is committed to serving locally-sourced, fresh produce.)

Non-truths, when wittingly thought, held, spoken or acted upon, cause Spirit to become damaged or injured.  Even simple, so-called, “white” lies, such as this non-truth would qualify to be labelled, are injurious to the person speaking them and disrespectful of the inner Light abiding in would-be hearers.

Truths, non-truths and attempting to understand what the Truth might be are things with which all of us struggle—because it is often difficult for us to sort through and articulate our very personal, internal emotional experiences about the world, as well as our being habituated to living the bulk of our time quite separate from the inner sanctum of the heart, where ultimate Reality or pure Spirit resides.

When I first became aware of how critical connecting myself to my perception of my current, working Truth was, I ended up choosing to move into silence.

At the time that I moved into silence, I felt there were almost no words or perceptions that I could safely state without bumping up against some form of non-truth.  Then, I entered a phase where I qualified my verbal observations with clauses such as, “My current perception of the situation is…,” “It may be that…,”  or “It seems to me, at this time, as though….”  My hope was that by couching my observations amid these qualifiers, I could remain open to questions about what the “Truth” was, is, or might be, as well as avoiding further damage to my inner Light.

What I have learned is this:  Words and the manner in which they are used are—potentially—powerful tools and shapers of our experiential reality.  In most cases, I have found it is better to check my perception of “Reality,” with two key questions, “What is going on here?”  and “How, if at all, am I to be involved in this situation or with this/these person/people?”

Silence has become a dear friend and a critical place of refuge, because, more often than not, we are operating, drawing conclusions, making decisions and engaging in concrete actions based upon incomplete, inaccurate or out-right false narratives. Still, there are times when we must speak and act in order to better learn about a situation, place, person, time and to discern the extent to which we should or should not become actively involved in a set of circumstances.

Thus, the next time a group of words leaves your mouth, consider the manner in which you are sharing your personal observations or current, working truth and how you might retool your word choices or what you choose to share, so that you are speaking, as accurately as possible, about your perception regarding the Truth of a situation.  It is one of the best ways to honor Spirit.