By Daniel Scharpenburg
“You can no longer deceive yourselves as sincerely as you did before. You have now got the taste of truth.” -Ouspensky
There’s something about the spiritual journey that we don’t talk about much.
When we really engage spiritual practice and we go deeply within ourselves, a lot of things change. The spiritual journey takes us all sorts of places and that’s why it can become uncomfortable at times. We lie to ourselves all of the time and really, looking within is hard sometimes because it forces us to take a good hard look at all the things we believe.
And, of course, we can continue lying to ourselves. We often do. But as stated in the quote above, once we have a certain level of awareness we know we’re lying. We spend a lot more time fooling ourselves than we spend fooling others.
What kind of lies am I talking about? I’ll tell you some lies I used to tell myself.
I’m not overweight but I’ve always had a beer belly. I used to say it was genetic, that I couldn’t really do anything about it. But that wasn’t true. I took control of my health. I started eating better and working out and it started going away. It’s largely because I drank too much soda and ate too many carbs (and, of course, too much beer).
I used to tell myself: I can’t handle that. Some projects or interactions seemed like too much for an anxious introvert like me. But the truth is I can handle anything with just a little effort. I do all sorts of things that I thought I would never be able to do.
And pretending to be confident goes a long way.
I used to tell myself that I loved my job. The truth is that I’m comfortable. I don’t stay at my workplace because I enjoy it. I stay there because it’s comfortable and leaving seems scary. Although I make more money than a lot of people I know, I am well aware that I could make a lot more money in a different industry. But money isn’t everything. I like being comfortable.
I used to tell myself that I couldn’t leave. We tell ourselves that we can’t leave relationships or jobs or situations. But the truth is that you can always leave. Many of us can say: “I should have left but I thought I wasn’t strong enough.” I can say that.
The Eagles said, “Oftentimes it happens, that we live our lives in chains. And we never even know we have the key.”
And it’s a side effect of the spiritual journey. Once you’re in touch with your true self, it just gets harder and harder to fool yourself. It gets harder to make excuses for yourself too.
That said, it doesn’t necessarily make things any easier. We just come to a point where we have to admit to ourselves that the reason we’re doing something (or not) is because that’s a choice we’re making. We come to a point where we aren’t interested in making excuses to fool ourselves anymore.
Because the spiritual journey makes us more honest. And I don’t mean with others, although I think that’s true too. The spiritual journey makes us more honest with ourselves. Because when we are looking for TRUTH, we find all sorts of little truths along the way.
What lies do you tell yourself?
Editor: Dana Gornall
He was trained and certified as a meditation teacher at the Rime Buddhist Center, where he also spent four years teaching kids about Buddhism and meditation practice. He received additional training in the Zen tradition, both as a Monk in the Korean Zen tradition and as a lay teacher in the Caodong Chan tradition.
He has taken Bodhisattva Vows and the precepts of a lay zen teacher.
His work is dedicated to both sharing his own story and presenting a variety of Buddhist teachings in a way that shows how they are applicable to real life.
Find out more about Daniel on his blog and connect with him on Facebook, Youtube,andTwitter
Latest posts by Daniel Scharpenburg (see all)
- The First Buddhist Teaching: The Four Noble Truths - October 11, 2017
- Equanimity in Adversity: A Zen Story about Wild Horses - October 4, 2017
- Awake in the City - September 3, 2017