Before we can be honest with others, we have to be honest with ourselves.
How can we say the truth, if we don’t know the truth WITHIN US?
I´d like to begin with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi about Truth. It reflects my challenges with being honest with myself and others.
“Why does someone hesitate, who knows what truth is, to utter them?
Is he ashamed? Ashamed of what? Whether high or low, what role does it play? The fact is, that the habit takes over completely. We should think about it and free ourselves from the bad habit because otherwise we can not go the path of truth.”
Warum zögert jemand, der weiß, was Wahrheit ist, sie auszusprechen?
Ist er beschämt? Beschämt wovon? Ob hoch oder niedrig, welche Rolle spielt das? Tatsache ist, dass uns die Gewohnheit voll in Beschlag nimmt. Wir sollten darüber nachdenken und uns von der schlechten Gewohnheit frei machen Denn sonst können wir den Pfad der Wahrheit nicht gehen.
- Self awareness
For me, the first step is, to become aware of my self. To understand how I am feeling in certain situations, I have been asking myself questions like: Why are YOU sad? Why are YOU happy?
Asking “you-question” is helping to look for the answer within yourself. It takes you away from the “I”- way of thinking. It is a way to change the perspective, to have a conversation within yourself.
This needs time. This also needs quietness. No distraction. Just you. This is definitely hard in our world. Every walk alone in nature is a start. Turn off your phone and be aware of your breathing or the movement of your body or your surrounding. It is a practice, like any sport e.g. swimming. You don’t become a good swimmer the first time you jump in the pool. You need to practice.
Since meditating on a daily basis, I have recognized, how I have been becoming more aware of my feelings when they occur. Why do I feel happy in nature? Why do I get restless at work? Why am I feeling anxious being around a group of people I don’t know. Especially the last one has been a lifelong feeling/reaction, deeply carved into myself.
As a kid, I was amazed by everything, wanted to try everything, shared my feelings and was really kind. During the years at elementary and high school, that open and happiness got more and more pressed down. I was bullied regularly, also not helped by a teacher. I couldn’t understand, why kids are doing this to each other.
In high school, I became more introverted, surrpressing my values, my SELF and also tried, to change myself, because I wanted to be liked by others. This development more and more with years passing by.
There has been a lot to process and to talk about. That definitely needs time. Good that I have a healthy relationship/interpretation with/of time 🙂
2. Being honest to yourself
Practicing to be present in the moment and aware of myself, I noticed why I a specific feeling came up. Time is again an important factor, to go deep into the core of a feeling and find his root, also called your consciousness. With that practice and also help by a coaching seminar, I understand more and more what my joys and fears are. Identifying it, I needed first to be by myself and writing it down. Re-reading helped me to have a different view on thoughts from the past days. Every day is different, you have different encounters with your environment and people. The next day, I would definitely not write this post in the same way as I am writing it today. The core message stays the same.
In a book which explains the transcendental meditation, I read a great explanation about how a thought or feeling arises.
Think of your mind as the ocean. The surface of the water is your surface, your skin. It connects the outside world with your inner world. All that your mind (the ocean) does, gets into the outside world, which is visible for the world around us. You see only the surface of the sea but can’t see the ground.
Deep down the ocean on the ground, lies your consciousness. It is quiet, calm and always there. I has been there since you have been born and changed over the years, as you have grown up. What happened in the early years, will be there forever.
Imagine now, a little air bubble, which comes out of the seabed. It is like a thought, which just has been created deeply in our mind. As the bubble rises, it gets bigger and bigger until it reaches the surface and pops up, visible for the outside.
Our thoughts do the same, the become clearer and clearer until we realize it we articulate it or act, so people see what we were thinking or how we behave.
The practice of meditation helps, to define where this thought or even feeling is coming from. How the ground, our consciousness, looks like and why we are acting the way we do.
3. Sharing – Open yourself to others
If it wasn’t already hard enough, to read, learn, write, understand and creating a habit out off all this, it was time to talk. In my opinion, it is completely up to yourself when you feel ready to talk. I already talked in my 2nd stage with my parents, to understand also my childhood and what their perspective is. It helped, but not everyone is ready to talk with their loved ones about those things.
This is the hardest part. We make ourself vulnerable. We show, that we are not “perfect”. In general, we are being taught, to be strong to “man up” in exchange of being honest, that we feel pain, insecure or sad.
“The mountains were our natural field of activity where, playing on the border between death and life, we found the freedom we had been seeking for so long and which we needed as much as breathing “.
After he had barely escaped with his life, the same writes:
“I realized that it was better to be honest than to be strong … I was saved and gained a freedom that I will never lose again, this freedom taught me to love what I had previously disliked, a new one, wonderful life opened in front of me”
“The Snow Leopard” – Peter Matthiessen
“Die Berge waren unser natürliches Betätigungsfeld, wo wir, an der Grenze zwischen Tod und Leben spielend, jene Freiheit fanden, die wir so lange gesucht hatten und die wir so notwendig brauchten wie das Atmen”
Nachdem er knapp mit dem Leben davongekommen war schrieb der Selbe:
“Ich sah ein, dass es besser war, ehrlich, als stark zu sein… Ich war gerettet und hatte eine Freiheit gewonnen, die ich nie mehr verlieren werde. Diese Freiheit lehrte mich lieben, was ich vorher gering geschätzt hatte. Ein neues, wunderbares Leben tat sich vor mir auf”
“Auf der Suche nach dem Schneeleoparden” – Peter Matthiessen
One thing I can assure you. The feeling I get from opening up, progressing with my practice, reflecting and understanding the past and working on the future gives me an energy, calmness and clarity like I have never experienced before.
Not only the people who love you thank you, you are thanking yourself. You do this for you and for the people around you.
4. Action (Okay, maybe this is the hardest part 🙂
The last stage. To act. Not react, because this means, to respond to another act which affected us. From all what I have learned, the time I gave myself, the practice which has become a habit, the strength and love I receive from loved ones and nature, I have to combine all of them to finally act. This needs also a lot of courage and trust in yourself. I have to constantly remind myself of the last stages, the awareness (meditate, walk in nature), the honesty to myself (re-reading, memories) and sharing (kind word from loved ones). What do I receive in return? Inner peace, joy, happiness and overwhelming love from people around me. Isn’t that worth it, right? 😉
My first act is/was, to be honest, and accept the past. It is never a regret since I have been acting out of “not knowing”. Honest to my past Self means, to see where I was wrong and hurt others. Where did I obey my values of being kind and respectful? To say, thank you, for the wonderful time spent and also saying “I am sorry”. Sorry for being strong (in the case of: suppressing my feelings and values) and not honest.
I hope you kept reading till the end since I have one last, very important advice:
Take it easy!
A very wise person, which I am grateful for sharing with me his knowledge, shared with me those so simple words. Take it easy aka (in my words) take YOUR time 🙂