April is National Stress Awareness Month. False appearances are a source of unending stress, suffering, and sorrow. Living in truth brings peace, contentment, and happiness. Breaking the cycle is deep work, but involves: 1) connecting outer unhappiness with inner unhappiness, 2) mustering the courage and humility to admit the truth of things, 3) loving yourself for all that you are and all that you’re not.
False appearances: we can fool ourselves into mistaking the mask for the actor. Watch carefully how you act in public versus how you act in private. How preoccupied are you with what people think of you? In what ways do you not like yourself?
Living in truth: this means not only honesty, but integrity. Honesty is the describing wisdom of the scout: here is this object, these are its characteristics, etc. Integrity is the discerning wisdom of the general: given this situation this is the direction in which we are going, here is where we will allot resources for the best outcome.
Breaking the cycle: we have the ability and capacity to change, the challenge is mustering the willingness to put in the right work and maintaining that commitment until the work is finished.
Deep work: aka hard-won knowledge. If the work were easy there would be no suffering on this planet; since there is suffering on this planet, the work must be difficult at times or else we would have done it already
Involves: the list is not inclusive, but includes some foundation level action items
Connecting outer and inner: it’s so much easier to blame someone or something “out there” for our unhappiness, but how does this road not lead to the lifestyle of the disempowered victim? How can disempowered victims ever be happy since they are at the mercy of external circumstances? Another option to consider: I attract unhappiness in my outer life because I am unhappy within myself, about myself.
Admitting the truth of things: when we’ve been living a certain way for a long time, it begins to feel normal. It is necessary to step outside and witness ourselves as we would witness another person. There is value in acknowledging our strengths and virtues, but at the same time where does conscience prod us with the knowing that we’re being fake, sheisty, manipulative? Very often the layers of truth have to be peeled back, which puts us face to face with the ugly sides ourselves that go against our ego-ideal. But where the truth is revealed, the more deeply Love can heal
Loving ourselves for all that we are and all we are not: where we live from a place of false appearances, this must mean that our truth is suppressed/repressed. Where truth is suppressed/repressed, we are disconnected from Life. Where we are disconnected from Life, we must be in a state of isolation and fear. Isolation and fear are states of darkness. Love dwells in our hearts, and is synonymous with Light and Wisdom. Aren’t Light and Wisdom most needed in darkness and fear? Acknowledge there is love in your heart; acknowledge there is fear within. Let all come to the light of conscious awareness through right practice. Commit to surrendering even an inch of control and letting Love-Truth flow through to connect with the places of fear-hatred within; let the two dance in the same room at the same time–love ultimately prevails. And then do the work again and again until it’s done.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins under one’s feet.”Laozi