I don’t know very much at all, at least not as much as I’d like to know. I’m flying blind, trying to navigate on my own, along my own path, with instruments that I hope will do what I need from them, hoping I grabbed the right tools for the job. I want to get as close to the truth as possible and I don’t want to live any lies.
I have been so good at lying throughout my life that I started to believe that if it came naturally, it must be right – but that is not the case. The guilt of lying eats at your core and infects your insides with self-doubt. The act of lying is the art of saying that you have something when you know that you do not have it. Self-awareness is knowing that our insides are not right and must be mended; but having awareness of our sickness inside and ignoring it kills our self-confidence because we know that we cannot be trusted. Now we must lie to mask our lack of confidence.
Then, there are those who are convinced that they are above feeling any guilt for lying because those they lie to are beneath them (if I have to explain to you why they would consider themselves to be above us then you are lying to yourself and others around you. Have a deep, dark look at all of our choices and witness how much we as a people lack in integrity.)
I had a motto that worked for me for a while, which was “fake it till you make it.” That motto helped me convince myself that I was fine (when I mostly wasn’t) and having a good time (when I mostly wasn’t). I was an asshole in those days. I lacked integrity and people saw that in me, but I ignored them. It is so easy for me to ignore what I know that others can see in me. I would lie to others and expect them to believe what I say or else they were the assholes… So who was I really lying to at that point? I know that my intuition is good enough to know when other people are lying to me, and I know that a lot of people would say the same thing about themselves. So how many people lied to me and pretended that they didn’t see my anger, disappointment and hatred masked in lies of awareness and confidence?
The truth is, it doesn’t matter if we believe in each others’ words or not – it’s always about what we can prove. (*That’s not to say that I believe in any one truth in our physical plane, except that there is no truth here. But I do believe that there are infinite truths, we just need to find the one that works in the moment.) I want to prove that I am worth at least listening to, right here and now, simply for the reason that I am putting myself out there, day after day, on schedule every day, writing something new for you every day – that is my show of integrity in this moment, this truth, right now. I said that I would do the following things: be forthcoming with my intentions, tell you things that you may have not been told before, make no claims of truth, just offer food for thought, and give you tools to help you meditate your way into more mindful living. To me, there’s no better way to be mindful in our meditation practice than through education and sharing space.
Yesterday, I drove past a man walking on the main dirt road in our village, quietly covering his face as a truck blew past him, covering him in a cloud of red dust. There was not even a look of resignation on his face. The best way to describe how he looked would be ‘unaffected.’ This man did not pay any mind to the annoyance of having dust fill his eyes while trying to breath through his shirt, which was also getting covered in dust. The way I saw it was, this old man is a Zen master. I reckon that he understands that humanity as a whole is not yet mature enough to be free of the need to play and indulge. It was as if he was looking at his grandchild playing and squealing on the floor, not noticing that it is being annoying or piercing the eardrums of all those in its vicinity.
At what point, though, is it grandpa’s turn to remind the asshole child that its small pleasures are not worth the sacrifices of many. Although grandpa can tune out his beloved grandchild’s screams, is the rest of the room expected to have the same patience? I suppose yes. I suppose that this old man was on to something. He exuded the kind of patience that I think we must all individually learn if we as a collective are to learn. It must start somewhere and it may as well be with us. It’s our choice if it’s the chicken or the egg – the point is that it’s time to start the lifecycle now. *Hint hint… if you start being patient with people and explain things step-by-step in ways that they are capable of understanding, i.e. without anger, condemnation, resentment, but with a firmness, toughness, and resolve for connecting that point across. Both teacher and student benefit from this type of sharing experience, where the teacher can curate to a world that is closer to their ideals in at least understanding what they are and the student gains a new perspective on life. This bond allows for the student to become the teacher as well, sharing information that the other will not have by virtue of having a differing perspective to begin with.
At present, we believe that we do not have the time to trust one another to tell the truth because we have been counseled by those we do trust to believe in the value of time. Time is money, or so we are told. But what happens when our money keeps going down in value? Does this mean that our time is also less valuable? Or is it more precious?
What if there is no value in time because it does not exist? Can you imagine that your physical being is not the be-all, end-all of what you are? As an example, I am learning how to surf. I love going out surfing, even though it’s difficult and scary at times. I love the feeling of challenging myself incrementally, learning as I go step-by-step, and improving with each new chance I take based on what I’ve learned. And sometimes I accidentally learn things by making a mistake and forcing a reaction that I didn’t anticipate but came naturally, intuitively. And sometimes I try too hard and things don’t work out how I thought they would. But all the while that I’m doing this, time does not exist. It’s not that I do not know that time has passed, I just didn’t care to pay attention to how much. And it’s not because I don’t find value in that time, rather the amount of time I spent did not contribute to the value of the experience. I stay out in the water for as long as it feels right to me, which is to the point that I have tried more than I expected and tired myself out more than I can handle. After that, the value of the experience diminishes because it is forced.
When we use our time to acquire things, we are negotiating about how much time we need/have to give to match the perceived value of an object. A watch can be worth 200 of your hours. A meal can be worth 10 of your hours. And those are some pretty pricey items, but there are people out there for whom there is no longer a value on time. They are free from this bond. Their time has been deemed more valuable than yours. Big ticket items cost minutes of work for them in comparison. When did we decide that it was ok for our times to have such drastically different values?
As a result of this magnitude of economic disparity, campaign contributions in the U.S. election only had value if they came from SuperPACs. Bernie Sanders’ campaign proved this disparity, having received a record number of individual contributions, and still never enough to match Clinton’s Superdelegate count (*superdelegate: an unelected delegate who is free to support any candidate for the presidential nomination at the party’s national convention. They have no ties to voter preference, so are essentially for-purchase votes.) Individual campaign contributions should be capped at $100 and SuperPACs (corporations) should not be allowed unlimited funding.
Public funding must be allocated to the election process to allow for a neutral public forum for debates. Public airwaves should be available to any qualified candidate, meaning anyone who has a viable platform to run for office.
We must withdraw the notion of corporate welfare. No corporation should be so big that its failure will collapse the economy. We must break up the concentrations of corporate power. We must take away corporate rights and privileges that are equivalent to humans. Every person deserves the right to a means of livelihood, but corporations do not deserve this same right. Based on the way that corporations operate today, human labour is disposable and this mentality must not be condoned. Workers must have control over their pension funds and must have ownership stakes in what they produce for the reason that this creates a direct relationship between hard work and success; in other words, accountability.
But we must stop lying to ourselves and to others and we must actually do the work that needs doing.
It is time to voluntarily simplify our lives. Conspicuous consumption must go. Buy only what we need, seek things that have good value, and prefer local and independently-made items (no big conglomerates). When we do this, we will be able to work less hours to meet our financial goals. This will create more time to spend gardening, with family, or doing community service. Giving our energy back into the earth, our loved ones, and life itself is our best way to remove the value placed in time and put that value back into existence, through the shared gratitude of the experience itself.
The funny thing is that I still believe in my motto of fake it till you make it. I believe that if I put a smile on my face and love who I am and what I am seeing in the world, that this little lie will make myself and thus the world a little bit better. And I still believe that I am not an asshole for doing this. So which me is correct?
I can only assume that it’s both.
Know thyself. See the pain inside. Hide it if you must, but see it, and consciously put it aside. Let it back in when it knocks on your door of consciousness. Deal with it when you are ready. But deal with it, because it will not go away on its own. Lie if you need to, but never forget that you are a liar.