Updated: Jul 10, 2020
When I started writing this series I considered which to publish first: living in truth or speaking truth. Many people think that they speak the truth, but if we’re not living an authentic life, then how do we know what the truth really is? Most of us are very aware at this time in history that facts can be easily twisted or manipulated to support a certain viewpoint, so how can we be sure we’re speaking truth if we can’t even necessarily recognize it?
This is why I think that speaking truth comes secondary to living in truth. When we are living from a pure, authentic connection to the Divine we can more readily recognize what truth is without the ego stepping in and filtering what we perceive and think through a lens of our personal hurts and negative experiences. We have a stronger connection to what is true when we can align with our soul and step away from the trappings of the smaller mind that we call the ego.
I talked about how to build this kind of authenticity in part one of this series, so let’s assume we are comfortably living in our truth and we’re ready to start speaking it. How many times in your life have you swallowed something you were about to say because of the effect it would have on the other person? Perhaps you were hoping to spare their feelings, perhaps you were just looking to avoid a fight because you knew they would not react well to what you have to say, or perhaps you’re just tired of having the same argument over and over again. How do we decide when it is appropriate to speak truth in difficult situations?
It might be tempting to say that a truly authentic person always tells the truth, but life isn’t that simple. Aren’t there differences between a lie told maliciously, a lie told to make life easier for either party, a lie of omission, or even just keeping quiet to spare someone’s feelings or because the situation may not be appropriate for that discussion at that time? As someone trying to live in truth, must we always tell the truth? And if not, how do we make that judgment?
My tendency for many years has been to attempt to practice the Buddhist idea of right speech. You may have seen posters or memes that say "THINK," with the acronym being that before you speak you ask yourself whether it is true, helpful, important, necessary, or kind. That’s a lot of thinking! And what I’ve found in my practice is that it often leads to holding back completely from starting or partaking in discussion of difficult subjects because much of the time we are dealing with the ego, which is so easily hurt. Our spirit is unconditionally loving and easily forgiving, but the ego is fragile and prone to filtering everything through the lens of all the pain we’ve experienced in our lives.
When I looked even further into this habit I had developed, I came to realize that I was swallowing a lot of my words in an effort to spare someone else from pain. What happens when holding back the truth might spare the other’s feelings but it does you damage in the long run? What if we are swallowing our spiritual truth in order to spare someone else from ego-inflicted pain? Should we stop doing that and just start telling our truth even when it is upsetting to the other person?
I think the answer to this depends on the situation as well as the person we’re speaking with. If it’s someone else who is pursuing a spiritual path we might be able to say something like, “I think we should discuss this at another time. I feel like we are not going to be able to speak calmly and truthfully right now.” The problem with this, however, is that the ego is a tricky little bugger. Once we get triggered (you can read more about this in my last post) and we are functioning from that space, it is easy for us to escalate situations because the ego is telling us, “You’re right! They’re wrong! GET ‘EM!” Engaging in further discussion or argument will not serve the person in the ego space, and may actually pull us into that space as well, which we want to avoid.
So what’s left? Even if we may be able to have a more authentic discussion at a later time, in the heat of this moment we’re back to saying nothing. Is there a way we can consciously avoid swallowing our truth and letting the other person unload ego-driven emotions into our energetic field? No matter how empathic you are and/or how much you may love this other person, it is actually harmful to both you for you to take on another’s pain in any longstanding way. We may do this briefly in a focused energy work session with the intention of aiding someone in release, but in personal relationships, when we carry pain for others we are actually blocking them from the growth they might attain through the experience and exploration of that pain. And we have our own pain to deal with if we want to continue to evolve; how can we do that when we’re taking on everyone else’s pain?
Those of you familiar with my book will recognize what I am going to suggest from the chapter on cord work. When we are in a difficult situation and we want to be kind but we need to stay safe, we can choose to say nothing while doing a bit of quick cord work on the cord between us and the person/people/situation in that moment. I have talked before about putting a mirror in the cord so that the other person’s energy gets reflected back to them. I suggest a similar concept here, but in a slightly different, more loving way. In this case, we want to picture a much larger object t