Tag Archives: Truth

DANCING TO THE DANGER OF ASSUMPTIONS

“Begin challenging your assumptions. Your assumptions are your window to the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile or the light won’t come in.” Alan Alda

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Have you made any assumptions lately that turned out to be wrong? Are you quick to make assumptions or do you explore a situation before deciding what you believe?

We all make assumptions every day and many of our beliefs about life are based on assumptions. We may make judgments about people based on little evidence and proceed to take action based on those judgments. If our assumptions are wrong, they can lead to disaster.

Assumptions May Hide Lies

When I was teaching in high school, I had a student who frequently told dramatic stories about her parents. Having taught for many years by that time, I retained my skepticism because I knew teenagers often embellish the truth to their advantage. When I met the parents and talked to other teachers, it was clear that her parents were not the people she described.

I have to admit this student was very convincing and I had sometimes assumed a story was true. It isn’t always easy to sort out the truth or to even be clear that we are making an assumption. For example, I recently made an assumption about outdoor mural artists that I discovered was incorrect when I attended a religion and arts conference a few weeks ago.

sytleweekly.com

styleweekly.com

We May Not Realize We Have Made An Assumption

I have always assumed that most artists who paint on buildings are basically graffiti artists, often talented but untrained, but I wasn’t consciously aware that I made this assumption. At the conference, when Ed Trask, a very successful, talented and well-trained outdoor mural artist spoke to us about the people who do this art, I realized how ignorant I really was about the subject.

Based on Ed’s presentation and our tour around Richmond that day, I learned that most of these artists have studied art like any other artist and are often well-paid for their work. Looking closely at the murals, I began to appreciate the detail and artistry of these paintings. With accurate information, my assumptions about mural artists changed.

The Danger of Assumptions

Unlike these two examples, there are other places in our lives where making assumptions may be dangerous. Sherman Alexie points out his concern: “In the middle of the night when you are ambiguously ethnic, like me, when you’re brown, beige, mauve, sienna, one of those lighter browns in the Crayola box, you have to be careful of the cops and robbers, because nobody’s quite sure what you are, but everybody has assumptions.”

What we are seeing right now is how deeply assumptions around race permeate our culture. The number of recent murders of black men by police is staggering, and I suspect they are based on any number of assumptions. One assumption is that whatever the police do, they will not be held accountable, even if they kill an unarmed, non-violent person.

Another assumption is that if a person runs away from the police that means he is guilty of something illegal, and it’s okay to shoot or harm him physically. It never seems to occur to the police that a young black man may run away from them simply because he fears them. Our assumptions are often based on such stereotypes that are not truths; they are distortions. But the problem is that we may not always know the truth, and we often have to dance around it, hoping for the best rather than ask the questions that needs to be asked and assume the suspicious person is innocent unless we have proof the opposite is true.

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The Danger of Assumptions Is That They May Be Lies

As a woman born at the end of World War II, I’ve seen many changes take place in the treatment of women. It is hard for me to even grasp that for part of my grandmother’s life, it was not legal for her to vote. When I was 27 years old, the Supreme Court struck down the laws that prohibited blacks and whites from marrying. A few years later, when I was divorced, the credit my husband and I had both worked to earn belonged to him only.

All these laws were based on the assumption that one group of people is inferior to another so that the “superior” group can retain control over the other. But this assumption is a lie. The reality is that we are all supposed to be treated equally in this country and the law is supposed to support that. Clearly we have still not reached a time when this theory is a reality because many people still cling to these lies of inferiority as truth.

We Believe In Lies Because We’re Afraid

Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The FourAgreements says, “When we believe in lies, we cannot see the truth, so we make thousands of assumptions and take them for truth. One of the biggest assumptions we make is that the lies we believe are the truth.” So why do we choose to believe these lies? Because they serve a useful purpose for us or simply because we are afraid of the truth.

Fear is at the base of all negative emotion and behavior. When we can release it and look beyond it, we can come to a place where that emotion does not color our experiences. When we find ourselves believing without a doubt that something is true, it is worthwhile to question what information this is based on. We must learn to challenge our own assumptions.

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Our Intuition May Help Us Avoid the Danger of Assumptions

There are two times when I know I need to challenge my assumptions. First if I start defending my view point and “digging my feet in” I know I need to stop and question why I am being so insistent. That leads me to the second awareness. In that case, I feel an uneasiness or a sense that something isn’t quite right and my intuition is suggesting I reconsider my assumption.

In the areas of our lives and society that are not working, we need to examine what is at the core of the issue and challenge ourselves to explore it until we are sure the path we are taking is the best one. It may require learning some new steps in this dance of life. As Alda suggests, we need to be open so that there is room in our thinking for the light to come through.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                      ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: The Dangers of Your Unconscious Assumptions About OthersExploring the Psychological Motives of Racism

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AWAKENING TO LIVE HONESTLY

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important matters.”  Albert Einstein

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Do you always tell the truth?  How do you feel about little white lies?  Are you the same person on the outside that you are on the inside?

Our Society Focuses on the External Self

Living in a world that focuses on the external rewards of achievement tends to influence us to think that how we appear is the most important aspect of self.  Our image sells products and sells who we are.  When I started learning about marketing for my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, I was startled to discover my name was my brand.  With that concept, it seemed to me that the business aspect of writing separated me from the artistic aspect of me that came from deep within my core.

Writing inspirational material and poetry comes from a very spiritual aspect of my being.  To quantify it and box it up into a presentation that would sell seems very unauthentic; yet, every writer wants to connect with the readers who will buy, appreciate, and perhaps benefit from her work.  The question then became:  How do I sell myself and my book with integrity?

Design by Leslie Shaw Design

Design by Leslie Shaw Design

This is not just a question for writers.  Many people are daily faced with this question in business and in relationships.  How can I be who I truly am and be appreciated and loved?  At the core of the question is the issue of honesty.

We Are Often Dishonest To Protect Ourselves

Growing up in a family where my mother and father often argued, I became the child who wanted to keep the peace, but I was also taught that it was a very bad thing to be dishonest.  Despite that, there were times when I pretended to agree with my parents or presented a situation as being slightly different from the reality just to keep them from getting upset.  I didn’t feel good about it, but it was part of the survival pattern I developed.

One day when I was a young adult, I thought about my impending marriage and decided I would stop telling “little white lies” to keep the peace.  It wasn’t right and I wanted an honest relationship with my husband.  I knew I could be a better person than I had been and vowed to make this change.  Putting a priority on communicating honestly greatly improved my self-esteem.

Being Honest May Be Challenging

But being honest isn’t always as easy as it sounds because the other person, a spouse, boss or colleague may not like our truth.  There are times when being honest can create huge problems for us.  It may jeopardize a career or relationship.  It may displease people we need to support us in various ways, so we weigh the benefit against the loss.

As Einstein suggests, if we are careless in small matters about being honest, we are most likely to be careless with important issues, and when we have stepped over that line, it may be very difficult to return.  We’ve seen this often in politics.  Richard Nixon is one of the outstanding examples.  Once you know someone has lied to you, it is difficult to trust them after this.

Honesty

Honesty (Photo credit: basswulf)

Honesty Is Basic to Our Spirituality and Wisdom

At the spiritual level, the damage we do to our souls is great when we lie or deceive others.  Thomas Jefferson once said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”  When we live honestly, there is a joy and energy that permeates our lives because we have no fear that our secrets will be revealed, for there are no secrets.  We have nothing to hide.  When we make a mistake, we acknowledge and take responsibility for it.  We act with integrity so that our words and actions match.

When we model a life built on honesty, we inspire others who may be drowning in the lies and secrets of which they are ashamed.  With these burdens weighing people down, how can they like themselves?  The fear that these secrets will be discovered will always be the shadow that hides who they really are and separates them from the sense of being one with All.

Honesty Frees Us to Love Ourselves

When we accept our deep, spiritual self and feel connected with Spirit, we know that we are worthy of love and learn to love ourselves.  When we love ourselves, we know we are worth more than living a life underground, and we have the courage to reveal our true selves, and clean up the messes in our lives.  As we discard our camouflage, we find a freedom and joy that is authentic.  We gradually learn to simply be who we are, and with the confidence that gives us, we no longer need lie or mislead.

What we put out comes back to us.  When we are honest and have integrity, we will draw to us people and circumstances who will relish our honesty.  Whatever falls away was an obstruction to our growth, no matter how painful that loss may be.  It is all a part of the path we follow to wisdom.

©2013 Georganne Spruce                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Wayne Dyer: Trust Your Inner SelfWorldly and Spiritual Values:  Humankind May Depend on Rediscovering a Natural Balance, Are You Being Honest With Yourself, Debbie Ford:  Honesty and Integrity (video)

AWAKENING TO OUR TRUTH

“To know that you do not know is the best.  To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease.” Lao Tse from the Tao Te Ching

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to look at our lives and evaluate if we are living our truth.  Have you told any white lies lately? Exaggerated an event to make yourself look better? Embellished your resume or job application? Told a loved one what they wanted to hear rather than what you really felt?

Fear Keeps Us from Telling the Truth

What is it that keeps us from telling the truth? It is always one of two things: the fear of rejection or the fear of inadequacy.  Fear is what separates us from ourselves.  When we are not truthful to ourselves, we separate ourselves from the Oneness of Spirit that is our essence.

I learned during my first year of teaching high school that it was pointless not to admit when I didn’t know something.  The students could spot a lie in a minute.  When I began the second year of teaching, I explained to the students on the first day that if I didn’t know the answer to their questions, I would tell them and help them find the answer.  They liked that and it set a tone of trust for the year.

I was in my twenties, and just after I married, I realized there was something I didn’t like about myself.  I occasionally told little white lies.  I had started doing this when I was growing up with parents who fought frequently.  In order to avoid upsetting a parent, I would answer a question based on what I thought they wanted to hear rather than the truth.  It made me uncomfortable, but it was better than being screamed at or having them scream at one another.  Most of all I needed peace.

When I married, I wanted an open, honest relationship and knew there was no longer a reason to lie.  My husband was easy-going and loved me.  Not to tell the truth seemed like a violation of our commitment.  I began to monitor myself and eventually let go of the insecurity that had led me to believe I needed to lie.

Lies Separate Us from Love

Where there is fear, there is separation—not just from another but from Spirit.  Our inner and outer must match.  If we pretend to be loving when we don’t feel it or do it just to impress people, we betray ourselves and them.  Love cannot exist where there is fear.  When we pretend, we do so because we feel we are not good enough.  We think that if we do good deeds, we will earn spiritual points.

The Ego Feeds on Fear

Admitting our mistakes and weaknesses is not an easy thing to do.  Our ego will rebel and insist its well-being is more important than our soul’s.  Ego will give us all the reasons why we need to appear more competent, more beautiful, or more loving because ego feeds on our fears.  When we are truthful and at peace, ego is diminished.  When ego is diminished, we make wiser choices.

Speaking the Truth from the Heart

How we tell the truth to others is just as important as telling it.  If we think it will be hard for another person to hear what we have to say, we need to center ourselves first and speak from the heart.  It is more likely that another will be able to hear what we say if it is said with love.  If we speak from love, then we speak with integrity and are one with the other person.  In this place of Oneness, we will know if we really need to speak this truth.  Many relationships have been damaged by the way in which we express our truth.

Lao Tse’s words are very wise.  When we don’t know what to do and allow ourselves to know that we don’t know, we open ourselves to the possibility that Spirit will provide the answer.  If we remember that we are one with this loving, creative energy, we can release our fears of inadequacy and rejection, knowing that all is well just as we are.

How do you maintain your truthfulness?

©2012 Georganne Spruce

Related articles: Where Does Your Sense of Self Come From – Eckhart Tolle