“Honesty.” The word was offered by a friend as a topic for a blog post. I sat with it almost the whole day today. What I realised is that I know very little of what it means. What kept coming up were two words: Truth, and Heart.
To many, myself included, being honest means to not lie. To say what we think — never mind the consequences, or whether it is hurting those around us or even ourselves.
But is that what honesty really means? Or is there more to it than just saying bluntly what’s on top of our mind, or gut? Is what we feel really what we feel or is it only what we think we feel? If it is not, are we then still expressing honesty? Is there any difference between blurting out our pain body and honesty? Are you with me on this?
Honesty goes deeper than this. It is not just about superficial (i.e. what’s on the surface) emotions or visiting thoughts. It is, according to James E. Faust, “truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.”
It is about staying with the emotions and thoughts to see what is behind them. To start realising what is really going on. To be patient enough with oneself to allow the truth to reveal itself. To peel the onions of one’s self.
So we met and you asked how I was. I said I was fine. I wasn’t, really. I felt like crap. And if it were work situation, you probably would ask whether I had finished my task and, if not, whether I would be able to meet the deadline. I said yes, of course. My heart beat slightly faster. I lied and hoped to God you would not notice.
You might not have noticed it, but I certainly did. I knew I was lying. I was being dishonest. A part of me did not want to lie, but I did. Why is that? To save myself from distrust and being ridiculed? Why am I so afraid of losing trust from other people and being ashamed, to be seen as not good enough? Am I really not good enough? If my competencies did not fit the place, why stayed?
Another situation. Meeting another you. You said something that offended me. In a split second, I raised my voice to you, eagerly defending myself, fully charged on the offence. In my response, was I being honest about how I felt? Or was it for the sake of making some statement and getting even? How did I really feel about the whole situation, about what you said and the way you said it?
It is not the (dis)honesty itself that interests me most. I spare no judgment on such act. Not that I support lying. I think it is a sign of me being not ready to reveal who and how I am.
What is more fascinating to me is why I am doing it, or being it. Am I really being [dis]honest? What am I hiding and hiding from? What’s the truth behind all these? Why the persistence? Is it that persistent?
More often than not, nervous apprehension and fear came forward. Nervous apprehension and fear, according to Krishnamurti, makes us dishonest.
This is when it gets more interesting. Let’s stay it with a bit more. Where did all these urges and fears stem from? How is its nature? What is it pointing to? I am yet to fully realise it, but I am curious and willing to find out.
There are, however, two statements that linger with me.
One from Krishnamurti: “To be honest means to have no illusions about oneself and no seed of illusion – which is desire and pleasure.”
And another from Bulent Rauf, then-consultant to Beshara School:
“The necessity for patience and humility is the condition of human life and life in immanence.
But how can one practice humility? Humility is in its broadest terms poverty of spirit; not poverty by lack, but by esteem of individuality; it is the acceptance of one’s limitations; in other words a realistic estimation of one’s self without aggrandisement of one’s egocentrically fabricated self-illusions. In short, it is an honest appraisal of one’s being, which is tantamount to knowing oneself closely. Though in this close scrutiny of oneself is involved the fullest development of one’s possibilities in potential, which will eventually bring one to one’s fullest perfection, there is nevertheless a hideous and frightening list of one’s defects and shortcomings.”
So, what is honesty? What does being (dis)honest mean? What does honesty have to do with Truth and Heart?
Picture was taken from here.