Honesty is not just something you cultivate – it’s the heart of the path. We should never underestimate the importance of truthfulness and sincerity as our spiritual progress depends on it, much like the function of a boat depends on water. The quality of honesty gradually deepens as you go along, culminating in the discovery of what we sometimes refer to as “ultimate truth”. In this article I would like to explore the transformative power of honesty or sincerity from my own limited viewpoint.
I have been wandering on the spiritual path since about 14 years and my discovery of honesty has been a very recent one, I admit. I have surely spend much of my time lying to myself, pretending to be someone that I am not and generally denying the fact that I am simply a human being. However I have always been very fortunate when it comes to my spiritual guides and friends. I have received lifechanging teachings from highly qualified masters throughout the times and I am truly blessed in this regard.
Being surrounded by great beings can be difficult when it comes together with a good dose of low self-esteem though. Generally feeling unworthy and bad about myself I felt even more unworthy being surrounded by all my perceptions of these “radiant masters”. Due to my lack of self respect I wouldn’t hear their kind reassurances, but I heard their criticism loud and clear. As a response I became quite good at developing a spiritual mask that would look good enough for my teachers to acknowledge me. I started lying to myself and others – not so much with words, but through my attitudes and feelings.
The masks eventually started to take over. The actor turned into the role he was playing. What a very sneaky process! I could say things like: “It’s important to be honest” with a straight face while emotionally lying to myself. This habit gradually creates a misaligned being, which is denying the simple truth of the way things are – namely human. I have noticed that this seems to happen to many people who are on the spiritual path. Spiritual exhaustion and being “stuck” on the path are often the result of a misaligned personality. And that’s also why I feel that it’s important to write this down.
Personalities are highly complex, continuously changing, shape-shifting, amorphous and nebulous energy fields. It’s very difficult to grasp intellectually just how vast the mind actually is and how much there is to a personality-complex that is unseen, unacknowledged – sleeping in the shadows of the subconscious and unconscious mental states. As it happens, I have cultivated this spiritual persona for a little while now, you could say I am an expert. Due to the nature of my research and the fantastic guidance of my spiritual teachers I was fortunate enough to incline towards honesty and sincerity in my work though. So it is due to the countless blessings and inputs of my masters that I can write about these things right here. Thank you so much, dear teachers and friends! I am one lucky fella to have you guys around 🙂
I feel that the problem is actually in trying to be a “particular someone”. This is how you turn away from seeing into truth. You want to become enlightened? How about transforming the world as a spiritual rock star that everybody loves? You want to save all beings? Maybe you could try becoming a “Bodhisattva”! You could also change your name into “Maha Prakash Sri Swami Shanti Guru Ji”… you need some special spiritual clothes to go along with that one though. Are you among the “2% of world-population that have special powers”? Wouldn’t it be awesomely special if you could read my Aura from your downward-dog pose while simultaneously having a vegan unicorn for breakfast 😀
The possibility to be “special” are endless. Some say “we are all special” and some feel that “nobody is special”. I guess we could argue about that until our brains get wired and burn out. I see the root of dishonesty sometimes when I am in conflict with the way it is. The root is the base of a great tree with many branches, fruits and seeds. Talking to others with hidden agendas, expressing ourselves in such a way that it hides our insecurity, denying illness and death, creating borders and bombs, walking aimlessly through shopping malls and sending smileys that are laughing tears to our “friends” when our faces remain motionless. There are many faces of dishonesty – and they all come from being unable to make friends with this moment.
How refreshing it is to admit that I am just another human being that wants to be happy! I don’t have to pretend anymore! I can tell you that this is one of the best feelings you can get. It means that you can be comfortable with the way you are, the way it is. You can accept your human emotions, feelings, downfalls and mistakes while learning and growing at the same time. But it’s all totally relaxed – no pressure, no trouble. The need to be a spiritual “good boy” to get my teacher’s approval is slowly fading. I don’t want to practice in order to receive praise from others anymore. Instead I want to practice for myself and pray that my presence becomes thus useful to others.
Honestly I am happy that I can share my humanity with you – no need to pretend that I am a “great meditator” or a “well learned scholar”, a “Mahayanist” or a “Theravada Practitioner”. I don’t have to be super-human in any way. And this comes as a great relief – surprisingly so! So If you want to do yourself a favor please stop harassing yourself. Meditation is there for you to enjoy and discover freedom in truth. It should never become a tool of dishonesty and self-harm. See if this knowledge helps you to sit with a bigger smile next time – I sure hope it does 😉
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