Thursday, January 27, 2011
Last week I talked about the end of the age of secrets and how many of our personal and institutional secrets have led to a pervasive belief that “the end justifies the means.” This premise has become the rationale for atrocities against humanity and justification for causing personal harm to others. In a world where deceit for the benefit of the greater good has become accepted practice, we can be sure that those who suffer the repercussions of this belief will eventually break faith in search of ideas based in deeper truth and respect for all.
The problem is that we become so numb to deceit, we hardly think of it as a crime until it slaps. Some years ago, I made the mistake of exiting a toll road without realizing I needed to pay a $.50 toll in order to leave the highway. I fumbled around in my purse and couldn’t find any change. All I had available were bills, and the machine only accepted change, so I drove on knowing I’d be fined. About a week later I received a very intimidating letter in the mail indicating that I had incurred a $70 fine. That’s right, $70 for not paying a $.50 toll.
Fortunately, I have a dear friend that is an attorney, so I called her asking her what the heck this was about. We chatted for a bit and she encouraged me to call the phone number on the letter, explain my situation, and ask for a reduction. The woman I reached on the other end of the phone was cheerful and kind as she told me the fine for a first offense was only $7.00 and where to send in my money.
I was flabbergasted. If I had not called that number, I would have expected I was required to send in $70. Now I had $70 at the time, but what if I hadn’t? What would have happened if I hadn’t called the number? How would I have interpreted that notice if I hadn’t had a friend who was an attorney? All of this was over $.50 I would have gladly paid. Luckily, even though $7 on a $.50 toll was still outrageous, the outcome turned out okay. But I felt abused. I felt abused because I had been deceived—intentionally.
Deceit tears at our relationships and ability to trust one another. Living on guard, in a state of self-protection is a good way to stimulate our survival responses of flight or fight—or in other words—stress. Ongoing stress erodes our health and eventually affects our abilities to make good decisions. Stress can and does shorten our lives. So in essence, when we deceive, we sacrifice long and happy lives for everyone involved with temporary gains for the good of a few. Isn’t it ironic that the outcome of deceit is the greatest deceit of all? We trade long-term happiness for short-term gain, all the while thinking that we are somehow getting the upper hand.
I know this pattern well, because I spent a lot of my life living in some form of deceit, whether it was acting like I knew all about some topic I knew very little about, or pretending that my life was fine when I was an emotional and physical wreck. Each time I was deceitful with others or myself, I was eroding my ability to trust in what was true. I was destroying my own ability to be happy with who I really am, as I am.
In order to find peace with myself I had to find compassion. I would not have been able to face the ways in which I had been deceiving myself and others, without lovingly understanding that I was using deception as a survival mechanism. I wanted to save face because being knowledgeable and being healthy were how I perceived my life had meaning. Deception had become a lifeline—not a very secure one, but a lifeline nonetheless.
Instead of developing my meaning and purpose, I was actually losing my sense of self—feeling lost, depressed and hopeless about the value of my life. I thought my deceptions were giving value to my life, when all along they were destroying me. When I had finally had enough despair, I made a commitment to find happiness, and with that commitment I discovered I needed to let go of my pretentions and settle into knowing the authentic me. That was difficult and painful to do at times. Sitting with my deceptions required great humility, but I found an unlimited supply of self-compassion was available if I allowed myself to understand the erroneous thinking that accompanied my choices, and how I had come to accept those limited perceptions.
Divine love for us is limitless, so if we concede our lives to limited perceptions based in our deceptions, we restrict the flow of love. Compassion frees us from the bindings of the lies we tell ourselves and others. If we allow ourselves to be lovingly present with our discomfort and limited perceptions, the distress dissolves in the compassion. We then create an opening for experiencing the limitless love that we truly are as expressions of the Divine.
In the awareness of such exquisite love, you naturally shed the impulse to figure out how to manipulate yourself into safety, value, meaning, and survival. It doesn’t cross your mind to attempt to provide for yourself at the expense of another, because you know that Divine love is universal and everyone is an expression of the Divine, worthy of being attended to with the same regard with which you would attend yourself. You live with regard for all of life, not just a chosen few.
In the arms of our own compassion, telling the truth becomes quite easy. In truth, we do indeed find our freedom—freedom to experience the exquisiteness of Divine love. If we choose, this is our time, our age, to embrace truth. This lifetime is our opportunity to replace the separating belief that the end justifies the means and to live from the truth of our Divine awareness with a willingness to be present to all of life with the depth of our compassion.
If you would like support in having deeper experiences within the compassionate arms of the Sacred Feminine, you can receive free weekly meditations taking you into the love of the Sacred Feminine here: http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/register.htm
This is very breath of the Sacred Feminine—to recognize life as Divine and hold each of our choices, even the deceptive ones, in our love, so that the destructive, harmful motivations can die peaceful deaths, and we can live in the truth of limitless Divine love once again. Truth is our hope and the source of our joy for today and for our future.