Carmel, California, USA.
As I just typed the title above this post I remember that I have written something about ‘the truth’ a little while ago. It is funny because I can’t remember what I wrote and am kind of tempted to look what I said. But I am also curious what will come out of me this time if I allow myself to be spontaneous. Immediately I feel 2 fears coming up: the fear to repeat myself and the fear to contradict myself. If I repeat myself I am boring and if I contradict myself I am unreliable. That is what I fear you will think of me. And to make it worse: I think you will read this and after having a negative experience you will go out and talk about it to other people. “Have you read what Atalwin said today? Jeez, isn’t that guy totally boring? No wonder he has no girlfriend”.
Just one paragraph into the post and my mind has already tied me into a knot. I start with a title; the title triggers a memory and then my subconscious start producing thoughts with the goal to protect my self-image and my sense of safety. My mind occupies itself with the pretty impossible task of wanting to control what you think of me. It also tells dramatic and exaggerated stories about what will happen when I fail.
It is so important to become aware of these mechanisms. We all have them and they are tricking and limiting us all the time but many of us are blind to most of them. We are conditioned to filter our experience. We feel something, a sensation or an emotion, and then we react to that experience in the way we think is appropriate. And more often than not we create a discrepancy between what we feel and what we manifest. Also the language we use is a lot less rich than our experience. Let me explain:
Sometimes we feel sadness but we say we are ok. We feel tenderness but we say we feel ok. We feel vulnerable but we say we feel ok. We feel annoyed but we say we feel ok. We feel alone but we say we feel ok. And so on.
When this happens we are not really lying but we are certainly not telling the truth either. We are just not trained in expressing ourselves. Nobody else in our environment is doing it. The consensus is to just put the majority of our experiences in the buckets ‘ok’, ‘fine’ and ‘good’ and some in ‘not so good’. A lot of subtlety gets lost in translation. The problem of not being precise is that it fuels inner unclarity. If we don’t call the emotions or experiences by their real names they can’t really come forth in the way they want.
To get to know ourselves we have to learn our inner language. This is the language of feelings and emotions. I call it the language of the heart. Because it is the language that is internally ‘spoken’ before it is filtered and translated by the mind. You learn this language by observation and practice. Ask yourself ‘what am I feeling?’ many times per day.
Observing our inner being, observing how it ebbs and flows and developing the language for all the nuances we discern ads a tremendous richness to our lives. But more than that: by becoming acquainted with what is alive in us we become more harmonized, more grounded and more stable. To transcend the confusion and restlessness we have to learn to call every emotion and energy by its proper name. When we learn to do that we become more real.
Imagine yourself working for President Obama. Every morning when he would come in he would address you as ‘hey you, whateveryournameis’. How would that feel? Now imagine that the President always calls you by your real name. What is the difference?
A ‘normal’ person would have skipped all the thoughts that I described in the first paragraph. The mind would search for a safe topic to write about and would make sure it would be neither contradictory with earlier work nor too boring. It would make sure that the impression that was made through the article was congruent with the self-image of the writer. If his ego functioned similar to mine he would aim for the voicing of an opinion on a topic that would reflect an intelligent, coherent thought process and an eloquent argumentation providing an entertaining, original and intriguing perspective. If he found the ‘solution’ to this puzzle he would feel relieved, successful. If he can’t find his way out of the maze he would feel trapped, depressed and thus create his ‘writer’s block’.
When we get to know our thought patterns we can transcend them. Not only do we find that they are just thoughts, we also find that there are many fears and beliefs inside us that we incorrectly hold to be true. And when we move beyond these illusions we find fast planes of space, love and energy. This is of course the prize: inner peace, trust, compassion and forgiveness.
This is what is meant with ‘the truth will set you free’. It is not that a single confessing of some little lie will miraculously solve all our problems. But the process of becoming more and more honest with ourselves will allow consciousness to unfold. When we become oriented towards our inner truth and learn to be present with what is real for us in any given moment we will find that that even when the mind appears to be conflicted and contracted it can and will reveal it expansive nature when we direct our attention towards it. To not be limited by the contractions but to rest in the expansiveness is freedom.
Hence ‘the truth will set you free’. Capice?
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