Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


The Fourth Grave Precept

Manifest Truth. Do not lie.

Not lying is a fundamental part of how we interact with others and ourselves. In general lies bring suffering and lead people to have less ethical behavior in other areas. I believe that it is important to cultivate deep honesty within ourselves and from that strive to be truthful in our interactions with everyone. I feel that the manifestation of truth must come from within ourselves first as we would not have the ability to be truly honest with others if we are starting from a place of delusion within. To manifest the truth we must move beyond merely projecting a caricature of ourselves, a persona we use with others while hiding our real selves. This level of self honesty is difficult because it is in the nature of our culture to not look fearlessly at the self but rather to hide, dissemble, or fabricate.

Although I have always found it to be very important that I be honest with others, I find it very challenging to be fearlessly honest when I look at my past. For decades I’ve minimized, repressed, and suppressed the reality of events in the past so they do not cause me as much pain. I find looking at these things with the eyes of fearless honesty is deeply painful and my mind would rather run to distraction. It has been very difficult to accept that minimizing the events is a way of lying to myself. By lying to myself that events weren't significant I am less compassionate and understanding of myself. I believe that in the past the less compassionate I was with myself, the harder it was for me to be compassionate with others. I find now it is still far easier to extend compassion and understanding to other than myself. I continue to practice with this by honestly reminding myself of the truth of my history, the need to be more self compassionate, and by trying to learn how to truly appreciate how far I've come.

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