There is a freedom in being honest, because honesty does not attempt to manipulate or control. Honesty just states what is so and then allows the freedom for any response.– John-Roger
This article was first published in the Movement Newspaper, June 1980.
Every one of us wants to be loved and accepted. Sometimes we want so much to be accepted that we deceive people in our attempt to make them like us and confirm for us that we’re okay. Usually this type of behavior comes up when we’ve done something that is not acceptable (or we think it’s not). Then we turn around and beg for people’s acceptance by fawning after them or becoming very self effacing: “Please let me join your group. Please let me hang around with you. Please tell me I’m okay and that you like me.”
The trap in all of that is: when you have done something deceptive and then gotten someone to say you’re okay, you may take their acceptance to mean that your deception is okay. And all they may be saying is that YOU are okay, and your actions could use some correction. Deceptive actions are not okay. They will backfire on you every time. That may not happen right away, however, which may give you the illusion of “getting away with it.” Don’t play the fool. You don’t get away with anything.
How do you correct a deceptive pattern? By stopping it. It’s really just that simple. You move into a place of honesty and integrity and, whatever the temptation to perpetrate deceit, you just maintain the honesty.
Perhaps you’re afraid that you’ll lose your friends if you are honest with them. Let me tell you something — if you are deceiving your friends, you’re going to lose them. It might not happen for five or ten years, but you’ll lose them eventually. Why not just own up to your deception right away and see if your friendships can withstand that type of honesty? If they can, you’ll still be friends ten years from now. And if they can’t, you’re well rid of them and they’re well rid of you, and you can all go on and do what you want to do.
That’s freedom and it’s very important. There is a freedom in being honest, because honesty does not attempt to manipulate or control. Honesty just states what is so and then allows the freedom for any response. No one likes to be manipulated or controlled, and no one likes to be told what to do. Sometimes that can work to our disadvantage.
Say you are standing by the door, and someone says, “Don’t stand that close to the door.” You may think “Don’t tell me what to do.” Then, when someone opens the door and smacks you in the head, you might say, “Why didn’t you tell me to move?” And they might answer, “I tried to, but you wouldn’t let me correct your behavior.” At that point, you may tell them, “When it’s to my advantage, you should insist!”
How are you going to know the difference? How are you going to evaluate when you are being corrected for your advantage and when it’s to your disadvantage? It’s your responsibility to make those decisions and those choices. If someone tells you to change something, it’s your responsibility to check it out and see if that change would work for you. If it doesn’t, that’s okay. But if it does, then you’re further ahead.
You might say, “I just don’t like people taking my inventory and telling me what to do.” Maybe they’re not taking your inventory; maybe they’re not telling you what to do. Maybe they’re just telling you the way they see it — in an effort to assist you in your expression. If you mistrust everyone’s motives and look for the negative in their communication with you, you may be involved in paranoid behavior. You might start thinking, “I’d better get that before anyone else does.” Or, “I’d better get mine while the getting’s good because if someone else gets this, I won’t have any.” Or, “If they told me this, it must be harmful, because they’re really out to get me.”
Often the paranoid pattern of behavior is one of bragging. A paranoid person is really saying, “Look at how important I am – all these people are out to get me.” Most of the time, the people that are supposedly out to get you don’t even know you exist. They aren’t even paying any attention at all. You might say that paranoia often expresses itself as “caring too much.”
When you are behaving irresponsibly and not taking care of yourself in a loving and self-fulfilling way, then you are becoming a block to your own progression. And that becomes a block to other people’s participation in your life, because you find that you are protecting yourself against them. By always wondering what their motives are, what they are out to get, and what they are up to, you put up walls and barriers so they can’t get to you. That’s called existing, not living.
How do you get out of that pattern? You get out of it by loving. The first signal of loving somebody is participating in their life. You think about them and what they are going through in their life. You talk to them to find out what they are dealing with, what they are experiencing, what they are thinking and feeling about their life. You talk to them and find out that maybe their feet hurt or their back hurts. And maybe you rub their back for a little while or just listen while they tell you how their day was.
When you get involved and participate in people’s lives, you start to feel an attunement with them and you start to feel a oneness flowing between you. Then you find out that those who intimidated you before are just the people who need your love, compassion and understanding. As you give your love to them, you forget about your own paranoid reactions and you are just present with them in your loving.
When you are present with other people in your loving, it’s likely that you will also be present with yourself in your own loving. And when that is so, it’s easy to do spiritual exercises. It’s easy to go within and discover the “star” within your inner consciousness. You awaken to your own spiritual essence. You may discover that the Messiah is not far away someplace, but is always present within you, as you, waiting for you to get bored with all the physical illusions that are not the Messiah and are not of Spirit.
Do you have a choice of whether to choose Spirit or the world? Always. God is in the business of forgiveness. God presents choices to us always, all ways, always, all ways. If you want to restrict and limit your participation in your own life by affirming that you have no choices, that’s just crazy. When you say something is not present, you shut off your vision and do not look for the possibility that it might be there. Keep your mind open to possibilities — all sorts of possibilities. If one thing doesn’t work out for you, recognize the possibility that there is something else that will work out.
If someone suggests, to you something that they think will make things better for you, try following their suggestion instead of resisting it. We all know that there is a place inside most of us that just doesn’t like to be told what to do. Someone tells us something, and even if we know it’s good for us, we resent the fact that they are insisting and manipulating us into doing that. If you’re smart, you’ll say, “Thank you very much”, recognizing their love for you and your love for them; and you will follow the suggestion to see if it works better than what you were doing. Then, once you’ve checked it out, you can make your own decision based on your experience.
Participating in your life as it influences and is influenced by other people’s lives will break the paranoid patterns of distrust and anxiety. The other value in participation is that it is fun. It’s very, very important to develop a sense of funness. And this is not necessarily the same thing as fun. It’s funness, and it goes like this: You are up in the mountains with friends and you can’t get the heater working in the cabin. It’s very cold, and you have two choices. You can really be upset about it and complain, be miserable and make everyone else around you miserable. Or you can use that opportunity to develop a sense of funness. You might say, “When we’re back home again, this is going to make a great story.” Or, you could get together and rub each other’s feet to get warm. Or, you could see what new layers of socks would keep you warm. Use your creativity to make it fun. You might as well. When you make things fun — whatever they are — you find a real sense of joy coming into you. And joy is one of the sure signs that Spirit is present with you.