EP102 An Honest Version Of Ourselves

The importance of honesty in recovery.

The way the Desert Fathers practiced radical self-honesty is quite beautiful. The monks would begin to identify these shadow-patterns and then bring them to the Abba — an elder that they trusted who represented an accepting presence for this process of self-knowledge. It was a way of naming the demons out loud. Unlike in confession, where there is a sense of sin and repentance, the monk shared from a desire to deepen understanding and bring the demon into the light of acceptance and relationship: Hey, this is what is going on. Will you hold it with me? This is how they describe it:

“When the heart is opened to the light of truth, when there are no secrets, catches, or barriers, the demons have nowhere to lodge and hide, and they cannot begin their crafting of obsessions and illusions. Things are brought into the arena of truth before they have a chance to lodge themselves in a chamber of the inner self and grow twisted, perverse, and stunted from lack of light and air.” [2] [CREDIT]

How people learn to be dishonest
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201701/learning-be-dishonest

Lying in everyday
http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1996-01753-006

Honesty allows us to live with not knowing.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-relating-existing/201411/honesty

 

Adrienne Rich writes:
“An honorable human relationship — that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word love — […]is a process of refining the truths they can tell each other. It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation.” [1]

The Blind Boy
A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: “I am blind, please help.” There were only a few coins in the hat.
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.
Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?”
The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.”
What he had written was: “Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it.”
Of course both signs told people the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

There is a Chinese Proverb that goes something like this…

A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

A few days later, the horse returned home, leading a few wild mares back to the farm as well. The neighbors shouted out, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

Later that week, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the mares and she threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. The villagers cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all the able-bodied boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, still recovering from his injury. Friends shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

The moral of this story, is, of course, that no event, in and of itself, can truly be judged as good or bad, lucky or unlucky, fortunate or unfortunate, but that only time will tell the whole story. Additionally, no one really lives long enough to find out the ‘whole story,’ so it could be considered a great waste of time to judge minor inconveniences as misfortunes or to invest tons of energy into things that look outstanding on the surface, but may not pay off in the end.

The wiser thing, then, is to live life in moderation, keeping as even a temperament as possible, taking all things in stride, whether they originally appear to be ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Life is much more comfortable and comforting if we merely accept what we’re given and make the best of our life circumstances. Rather than always having to pass judgement on things and declare them as good or bad, it would be better to just sit back and say, “It will be interesting to see what happens.”

2017-10-17T18:17:01+00:00

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