Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Every once in awhile, one reaches a specific point in one's work where one comes up against a question that is discussed a lot in the work literature, but hasn't become very alive for one.
Sometimes this happens even after 20 or 30 years, long after one accepts and even thinks they understand the term that is used. And suddenly something in them connects in a different way and they see that they never actually understood the term at all, and that now that there is something alive within the being contemplating it, seeing it in ordinary life
--they finally understand what the question was all along.
When that happens, it's usually pretty much of a shock. The first thing we realize is that we don't know what we're doing, even when we think we do. Secondly, we see that a vast area of inquiry has been misunderstood.
Third, the rug has been pulled out from under us. We are starting over.
It suddenly occurred to me yesterday that I'm not sure whether anything I say or do is "true." I found myself in the middle of an exchange with my boss, watching myself speak, and saying things that were quite reasonable and made a good deal of sense from a business point of view. They also served the situation well, because it helped us to reach a resolution, supported her view, and built a relationship. But in the middle of the exchange I realized that I didn't know if anything I was saying was actually true.
Actually, I saw I was lying.
It's a bit difficult to explain this point. Only by seeing yourself in a state of complete uncertainty as you speak, being aware of yourself and the fact you are speaking and so on, and seeing how mechanical and automatic it all is, can you begin to assemble a picture where you see that the whole state of being that we exist in is a lie. This question is closely connected to the idea of illusion, the world of Maya, and so on.
How can I know if I am lying if I do not know myself?
It's quite certain that I don't know myself; by now, so many examples have been given that the doubt has evaporated. Measuring that lack of self-knowledge against the question of truth, I come up a good deal short of the mark.
If the things I say serve others, does that make them true?
If they are factually correct, does that make them true?
What does lying actually consist of?
I'm not sure any of us understand this question very clearly. It struck me today that lying is a much bigger question than anything our ordinary being can absorb. The question of whether we are lying or not goes all the way down to the roots of Being, extending to a place we are not connected to and know very little about.
Lying is not about the ordinary kind of honesty that we use to serve ourselves in ordinary life. Lying, at its core, is a question of relationship to self. If I am not in relationship with myself, then I am lying. It doesn't matter what I am saying; I could say anything or do anything, it could all be very honest and upright and even morally correct, it could follow all of the knowledge in exactly the right order, and it would still be lying if there was a lack of relationship with the self.
In order to not lie, a man must be whole--impartial in an inner sense, all his parts have to be connected and working together. So basically, what I am saying is, it appears to me that all of us are lying all of the time, and we don't even know it. We don't know it because we don't know what lying actually is. We measure and judge what we call our "lies" based on external, subjective factors. We don't see that real lying emerges directly from our lack of inner relationship.
In order to avoid lying, I need to know myself and to have a sense of presence. Only then can I begin to see that how I am is actually within a state of lying.
This question of lying relates to the issue I have brought up on a number of occasions recently about cleverness. Cleverness is very quick, and almost necessarily relatively one centered. It relies on the emotional parts of centers to spit out something that's just right for the moment.
So there is intellectual cleverness, and emotional cleverness, and moving cleverness. There are also blends of them. This use of the emotional parts of centers to avoid relationship is very habitual with us. because those parts are quick enough to have insight into a situation that's deep enough to be appropriate to it. They allow us to insert something that appears to be sincere, when in fact it's quite partial.
It strikes me here, as it so often strikes me, that we should all learn to go a bit more slowly -- to see what we are saying, and how we are saying it, from within the saying itself.
To see how it might be to not lie.
May your roots find water, and your leaves know sun.