Speaking the truth, losing control

I listened to a talk by Adyashanti where he talked about speaking the truth, and losing control.

Of course, what’s really lost are some (imagined) means of control, and the illusion of control.

As long as I believe I need something from someone else (their love, approval, acceptance etc.), I will try to manipulate them. I try to be nice. I try to be the person I think they want me to be. I may tell half-truths. Through this, I get a sense of control. I imagine I am able to control the situation and the other person through appearing a certain way, behaving a certain way, saying certain things and leaving out the rest.

I monitor where I think the other is at, and say or do something – unconstrained by what’s true for me – to influence them to say or do what I want them to say or do. Not constrained by what’s true for me, I have a larger set of options in how to respond. I have more ways of influencing and manipulating the other person.

Most of these manipulations are what I tell myself are small white lies in what I say and do in everyday life, often – I tell myself – to avoid hurting someone or creating an awkward situation. And I notice that these too, are painful.

When I tell the truth, the ordinary human truth as it is for me in this situation, I lose this wider set of options. What’s left is simply what’s true for me here and now. It’s very simple, very honest, very real. I put it out there, and it’s up to the other person how he/she responds.

To explore my thoughts around this, it’s helpful to take one thought at a time (from a set of thoughts, a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet) in one particular situation, inquire into it, and see what I find.

I can explore several lines of thoughts:

(a) What I think I need, want or must have from another person. I need his approval. I need her love. 

(b) Manipulation will give me what I think I need or want.

(c) It’s possible to control the situation or what other people say or do. I want to control the situation or what other people say or do. Control is possible. 

(d) Manipulation is better (safer, more comfortable) than honesty.

(e) If I am honest, he/she will leave me, won’t like me, won’t give me what I want.

(f) What I am most afraid would happen if I am honest in this situation is….

Summary. When I explore this for myself, I find that if I am not honest, there is the thought that I have more options. I can always come up with something else that’s not quite true. I have more options for strategies I can use to try to get my way. I also find that it hurts. It’s painful. It goes against my heart. And it’s stressful because I have to remember what I said, and the truth may be revealed. (This is the case even with small things, for instance “innocent” white lies thoughts tells me will protect the other person from being hurt.) When I tell the truth, I am aligned with my heart. It may seem scary because I don’t have so many options or strategies I can use to try to get what I want. And yet, it’s a relief. And as I continue telling the truth, I find ways to do it that’s more kind to myself and others, and I find trust. It’s OK. It’s more than OK.

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