Thursday, January 20, 2011
Secrets have their place. After all, a surprise birthday party is not surprise if the secret gets out. One of the joys in receiving a gift is in not knowing exactly what is inside the box. Bedroom secrets between lovers create a special bond between them. With the wink of an eye, sheer delight can pass between two people as they smile about a private joke shared between them. Making a “surprise” breakfast in bed for their parents is exhilarating and fun for the little secret keepers cooking in the kitchen. The enjoyment of surprise and the pleasures of intimate moments are often wrapped in packages of secrecy, and appropriately so.
Then there are the secrets of our hearts that we write in our private journals, share with professionals in therapy sessions or discuss with our ministers. Through our private writings or conversations, we are attempting to better understand ourselves before making any kind of public declaration or decision. When such privacy is respected, we are safe enough to explore ourselves deeply and honestly.
There are also secrets that protect. For example, during World War II, some Jewish people were kept alive, or their lives were extended, because friends kept secrets regarding their whereabouts or their identities. If someone has been seriously abused by someone else, there can be great wisdom in keeping your identity quiet and your location unknown, as a means of protecting yourself, or perhaps, even your family.
And then there are secrets that harm. Many of us grew up in families, during the early to mid 1900’s, where we kept harmful secrets by refusing to acknowledge or discuss the effects of a family member’s abusive behaviors. We didn’t disclose embarrassing information about our family histories that would help younger generations understand themselves better. We pretended that everything was okay, when clearly life was out of balance. We overstressed our significance or we underestimated our abilities. We hid behind our shame and our wounds at the expense of others and ourselves. Some of us left our families, looking for more honest relationships and some of us are still caught in the family secrets.
Institutional secrets perpetuate a belief that it is acceptable to deceive, and we knowingly or unknowingly live with those deceptions. Churches have created doctrine based on selected scriptures, and then taught that the chosen writings provide the only spiritual truth. People have been put in prison because they challenged the false premises upon which justice was practiced. Or they honored the true intent of the law, but not the letter of it, and were penalized for their faith in justice.
We spy on and manipulate the politics of other countries, but torture, imprison or kill those that would manipulate us. We deceive our customers and ourselves, sacrificing greater good for the sake of greater profit. We conduct tests on people and use people without asking their permission. Institutions that have based their existence on lies or partial truth continue to function, as long as no one lets out the lie. And if someone does tell the truth, their life may be at risk, or at the very least their career or well-being.
Yes, we keep many secrets. Some of them are good for the delight and well-being of everyone involved, and some of them cause harm for the benefit of a few and the hazard of many. “The end justifies the means,” we have been told. But no one mentioned that there is no end. There is only the life that we are living here and now, and the future we are impacting by the results of our decisions in this moment. If we want a world deteriorating in distrust, then deceiving others and ourselves will certainly get us there. But if we want to know the limitlessness of Divine love on earth, we will need to let go of our attachment to secrets.
When we deceive with intent to get what we want at the expense of others, we hold ourselves separate in an attempt to prove to ourselves that we are better. We are in essence making an assumption that someone else is not good enough or worthy, and we have neglected to acknowledge the Divine within them. As long as we continue to deceive, we keep ourselves separate from the greatest and most important spiritual truth for all of us—our Divine origin.
Many years ago, when I was first taken on a Divine journey into the Sacred Feminine, I experienced myself in profound compassion for all of creation. I did not experience greater love for one human over another. Quite the opposite was true, I experienced limitless love for every human regardless of the choices they had made in their lives. In other words, there was no less love for a serial rapist than there was for a minister of faith. In those hours immersed in the womb of the Sacred Feminine, I understood that we are all born from the same Divine origin and are all loved unconditionally.
Does this mean that we should accept all behaviors, no matter how heinous? I don’t believe this visionary experience was giving me, or anyone, a message that we live without necessary social boundaries. However, I do believe that it provided an awareness that we can choose to live in the understanding that every individual regardless of their choices is an expression of the Divine. It is possible for us to live without the deceptions and secrets supporting the perception that the end justifies the means, and therefore, gives us permission to use, take advantage of, or even abuse others for our personal gain.
Ending the age of secrets begins with each of us. It is far too easy to point our fingers at other family members, friends, co-workers, bosses or institutions, without taking responsibility for our personal deceptions. Imagine what our world would be like if each of us chose to end the age of secrets long enough to discover the truth lying beneath the deceptions— that we are of Divine origin and loved limitlessly.