Byron Katie: When you deeply and openly question your reasons, does ‘because’ disappear?

Without reasons, there is no ‘because.’ So question all reasons. When you deeply and openly question your reasons, does ‘because’ disappear?

– Byron Katie

Any “because” is a guess. It’s something we make up to try to make sense of our choices and actions, and the reality is that we don’t know.

When someone asks me why I am doing something, and I suspect they really want to know, I give them an honest answer: I don’t know, and I may add a few guesses and make it clear these are guesses. Since this goes a bit outside of norms and expectations, it often leads to a conversation about it.

If I suspect the question is more for social reasons and to connect, I may just give a standard plausible answer. Unless it’s in a situation where a conversation about the don’t know and the guesses could be interesting.

For instance, why am I writing here? I honestly don’t know. I find it hard to even come up with guesses. The most honest answer is that I am drawn to it. I feel an impulse in me to write here. What’s that impulse about? I don’t know. I find the topics here interesting. Writing here helps me explore them – it helps me to notice, explore, and write it down. Also, I had a wish to give talks, write books, and so on, on some of these topics. Since my life took a very different turn due to major health problems, writing here is doing some of that in miniature. There is a knowing that something here may be helpful to someone, and if just one sentence is helpful for one person, that in itself would be sufficient. (And that’s already the case since it seems helpful to me.) There may also be other reasons: Perhaps I am writing here to avoid direct noticing and feeling? Perhaps I do it to feel smart and clever? (Although I am very aware that what I write reflects my own very obvious limitations.) Perhaps it’s a way to give some sense of meaning to a day where I mostly have to rest and can’t do much of what I normally would do? (That one resonates.)

Adyashanti: It’s useful and important to have a sense inside yourself of moving through chaos with absolute truthfulness, integrity, and honesty

It’s useful and important to have a sense inside yourself of moving through chaos with absolute truthfulness, integrity, and honesty. These are the energies that keep you from losing balance.

– Adyashanti in The Autonomy of Unified Spirit

Why would Adya mention this?

Because it’s not a given. When we experience outer and, more importantly, inner chaos, it’s easy to be caught up in this chaos. We can lose our sense of center. We can lose our direction. We can lose whatever truthfulness, integrity, and honesty we had and lived from when things were calmer.

How can we find this sense in us?

Bringing awareness to this is the first step.

We can set an intention to find it and live from it, although this really works only when we are ready for it.

We can relate to the chaotic and suffering parts of us with more kindness, for instance through heart-centered practices (ho’oponopno, tonglen, metta). That makes it a little easier to not react to them and act from this reactivity, and not join in with the painful stories within them and act from these.

We can examine what happens when we don’t do it, when we get caught up in and partially live from the chaos. We can make a list of what has happened in the past in these situations. This helps sober us up and find a more genuine motivation to not join in with and act from our inner chaos.

We can identify the stressful beliefs in us that bring us out of truthfulness, integrity, and honesty, and examine these and find what’s more true for us. (The Work of Byron Katie.) We can also examine any identifications and fears that bring us out of it. (Living Inquiries.)

We can identify the emotional issues behind going out of it and invite in healing for these. It’s often the pain in emotional issues that we react to when we join in with the chaos and act on it.

We can also notice what we are and that all this chaos and reactivity happens within and as what we are. This can also make it a little easier to not get caught up in it and relate to it all more intentionally.

Forgiving ourselves

Another side of this is finding genuine forgiveness for ourselves for the times we have been caught up in our inner chaos and acted from it, and possibly hurt others and ourselves. Admitting to what happened – to ourselves and perhaps others – is a support in doing it differently next time.

And forgiving ourselves does the same. We acted from our pain and perhaps created more pain. We can take responsibility for this and for what happened. We can feel whatever feelings come up in us from it. (Anger, sadness etc.) We can also see that when we humans act in this way, it comes from confusion and is, in a sense, innocent. And that doesn’t in any way give us a free pass for doing it again.

What is this chaos Adya talks about?

I don’t know how he would describe it.

For me, it’s the internal chaos that happens when we join with triggered and painful parts of us, or go into struggle with these. In both cases, we join with and act from painful beliefs, identifications, and emotional issues.

This feels like chaos because these parts of us come from separation consciousness and are at odds with reality. They are at odds with other unhealed parts of us, and they are also at odds with the more healthy and sane parts of us.

When we join in with these painful stories and views, we create a sense of internal chaos and this is often reflected in how we act and live our life.

Adyashanti: We can not control somebody with whom we have been truthful

I have found over the years of working with people, even people who have had very deep and profound awakenings, that most people have a fear of being truthful, of really being honest—not only with others, but with themselves as well. Of course, the core of this fear is that most people know intuitively that if they were actually totally truthful and totally sincere and honest, they would no longer be able to control anybody.

We can not control somebody with whom we have been truthful. We can only control people if we tell half-truths, if we shave down what is true. When we tell the total truth, our inside is suddenly on the outside. There’s nothing hidden anymore. For most human beings, being that exposed brings up incredible fear. Most people walk around thinking, “My god, if anybody could look inside of me, if anybody could see what is happening in there, what my fears are, what my doubts are, what my truths are, what I really perceive, they would be horrified.”

Most people are protecting themselves. They are holding a lot of things in. They are not living honest, truthful, and sincere lives, because if they were to do so, they would have no control. Of course, they don’t have control anyway, but they would have no illusion of control, either.

– Adyashanti in The End of Your World

Billy Joel: Honesty

Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard.
And mostly what I need from you.

Said by myself to myself, or God (Spirit) to me, this fits very well.

I am hardly ever really honest with myself.

Mind pretends images and thoughts are true, and overlooks what’s really there. It overlooks the stress in holding it as true. It overlooks the validity in the reversals. It overlooks what it really is.

And that’s why I am not always honest with others.

And why? One reason is fear of what may happen if I am honest with myself (and then others). I won’t be able to be a victim anymore. I will lose the (illusion) of control through picking and choosing which stories pretend is true at any moment. I will have to face these fears. I will have to be honest with myself about the stories behind these fears too. I will have to find what’s more honest to me than these fears. I will have to enter into areas I haven’t so far.

Read More

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.

Read More

Hardwired for truth

Truth feels good.

When I find what is more true and honest for me, for myself and in conversation with others, it feels good.

There is a sense of relief, of coming home. The is clarity, kindness and wisdom.  It is all recognized as innocence.

It feels good throughout all of me. My mind relaxes. My body relaxes.

As Adyashanti says, we are hardwired for truth.

Read More