Rocking the Boat
The fear of change, or at least the desire to “stay put” is possibly the biggest reason for dishonesty. It is far easier to stay put, blame others, and not reconsider our point of view so our world can remain “as is.” Telling the truth makes waves and disturbs our desire to keep things “as is” in our world because what is actually true is often contrary to what we want to believe, against the grain of what is politically correct, or outside the confines of “respectability” and popular opinion. In short, what is “easy” and “quick” is the way of the majority since we naturally want to do what is easy and avoid what is difficult. It can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable to peel off all of our layers to reveal all of ourselves – warts and all – the truth, which is why we generally do not live this way, hiding instead behind pretenses because of our fear of judgment, our shame, our desire for privacy, and our desire to control and to keep life the way we want it to be. To live with honesty and integrity without fear of judgment and the need to control is true freedom, but in fact “freedom” is not truly “free,” since the cost is choosing whole over part – choosing “big picture” and others over our selfish desires, which is neither easy nor natural for us. The cost to live honestly is in a word – love.
It is hard enough to see and speak the truth, but nothing can match the astounding difficulty of living it. To live each day, each moment with uncompromising honesty and integrity is a grind and probably impossible to do all the time. There are times we will give in to our fears and “chicken out” from speaking our minds when we would like to, or times we will say something not true out of self-protection instead of being honest – without overstating or understating how we see things. There are all kinds of defense mechanisms we have – some of which are useful and necessary, like discerning what is genuinely harmful to us and avoiding these things, but sometimes we use these defense mechanisms for purely selfish purposes – to justify ourselves over love. There will always be consequences for our actions – including the action of choosing part over whole – “self” over “all.” The consequences of choosing self over all is almost always negative from the perspective of the big picture.
So we can see “doing the right thing” – or considering the “big picture” in our actions is not a subjective opinion if we define “right” as the “big picture.” What we call “right” is often instead what we want things to be rather than how things actually are. The whole, the “big picture” is not an opinion. It is. Relativism is false because relativism is based only on our opinions and beliefs. But our beliefs and opinions do not necessarily define reality – what is actually true. They only define our reality – our subjective opinions of that which may or may not be true. We know deep down inside when we consider only ourselves. We also know deep down inside when we consider others as well as ourselves – the “big picture.” This “deep down,” or “gut level” knowledge is our awareness of truth, which is often called our conscience. When we look at the two parts of the word “conscience,” we can see the word “con” means “with,” and “science” means “knowledge.” So “conscience” can mean “with knowledge” or “with knowing.” The fact most of us even have a conscience at all proves the awareness of non-subjective Reality – the Truth of the “big picture” of the whole and the fact our egos are only a part of a whole. Those who lack a conscience could almost certainly be said to have a kind of disability – a cognitive inability to enable awareness of self and whole simultaneously, as well as the inability to empathize with others and consider more than themselves in their thought processes. When this inability becomes extreme, one could be correctly considered narcissistic and delusional – believing the world truly does revolve around “me,” when it never does. Since “conscience” means “with knowledge” or “with knowing,” then to lack a conscience could be said to be the exact opposite – to be ignorant.
So we can see a life of integrity is a hard life because it is never easy to do the things integrity demands – to be honest about the truth of what is, to look at our preconceptions, fears, beliefs and insecurities, and try to deal with them honestly. Love is hard because love is work. Love does not “just happen.” Love happens because we continually work at it by choosing big picture over self alone. Love happens because we own our baggage without blaming others and handle it with a sincere heart to grow and become the most integrated and truthful person we are capable of, because of our awareness there is nothing more freeing and fulfilling than a life of honesty, integrity, and love.
While it might appear that the work of loving is a burden since it is indeed very hard work, it actually frees us from the true burden of self. Since it is not natural nor easy for us to see the big picture before self, we need to constantly work at it and have excellent accountability partners who will tell us the truth without judgment, and keep us honest when we lose focus on the whole. This is one of the reasons why we so often run from relationship. Sometimes we don’t want to see the truth of ourselves within the mirror of relationship because it can be very painful. Sometimes we also feel we don’t want to change, which is another reason we can run from relationship. But if we have friends, loved ones, or a personal counselor who can truly love us or at least unconditionally accept us without judgment – who can help us to grow without putting their selfish desires ahead of others and the big picture, then the only one stopping us from growing to our potential as a truly loving and caring individual… is ourselves.