As a little kid, I remember sitting in our kitchen, as my mother and a neighbor woman were having coffee and chatting. Now, I’d say I was a precocious kid, observant and earnest and I heard my mother say to the neighbor lady something that wasn’t true. I took the opportunity, right there and then, to let my mother know that what she was saying wasn’t true. I don’t even remember what it was. But I do remember that after the neighbor left, my mother very sternly, even threateningly, told me NEVER ever correct her again.
The short of it, is that I grew up with big and little lies … that is, I grew up with pathological lying, which is on-going habitual lying … now, that could have been out-and-out lies, making stuff up out of whole cloth or dressing up the Truth, that is, embellishing, we call it a fish story. (You caught a fish this big and your story is that you caught a fish this big). You know people like that? Maybe you?
The point being is that in my childhood, it’s was very hard because if a lie or an embellishment could be told at anytime, then I had no idea what the Truth was, right? Even when the Truth was really the Truth.
So I grow up first of all, not trusting anything anybody said – I learned that from my caregivers, right – as we all learn behaviors from our caregivers. And I also learned that it was OK to lie. To be loose with the Truth when it was convenient. I remember lying and embellishing about all kinds of things… from something like how much I weigh to telling a mediocre lover that they were a great lover to telling hyped-up stories at cocktail parties.
In our culture, there’s this division between little white lies – fibbing and BIG lies. But it’s a slippery slope, right? Because lies are all about deception – that is causing someone to believe something that’s not true … and typically it’s to gain some personal advantage. If I lie to my boss and tell her that the project is nearly complete when I haven’t even started, maybe I’ll think she’ll respect me more. On the other hand, if my friend has a bad haircut and he asks me what I think about it, and I tell him, “Oh, looks great!” Maybe I think he’ll like me OR maybe I think he won’t get pissed off at me.
BUT living with integrity means living without lying… that is big and small lies. No betrayal, no deception. No cheating. And if we are consciously on our Path moving toward an enlightened way of living, emotional fluidity… being in the flow, then being True to oneself, means we believe in our self. And in order to believe in our self, we must Trust our self to have a true north compass. That is, we are so aware of living in integrity that it’s not within us to violate our own code of ethics. Now, having said that, we make mistakes along the Path. But they’re honest mistakes. And we may be so used to sliding the Truth that our awareness hasn’t caught up with yet. So in the moment, we may tell a fish story, we might name drop where we suggest that we know somebody, who we really don’t. It happens. But we note it to our self and reinforce to our self our commitment to integrity.
So this came to me in my… 30’s, maybe my late 30’s. I was studying the mystical form of Judaism, called Kabbalah, and the need for impeccability in my actions and in my language. This is an enduring principle in spiritual disciplines of course. Buddhism, it’s included in right speech and right action.
And it came as a shock to me. The teacher gave an example that if you’re somewhere, in a store for instance, and the casher gives you too much money back, you stop and say, “Excuse me, I think you gave me too much money back.” Prior to that, if someone made an error in my favor … finders keepers. Or if I was in a conversation with someone and I blurted out a lie or an embellishment… if I caught myself I would correct myself right there. “Oh what I meant was….”
It’s a practice. And you gotta want it. Because in order to be kind and compassionate out there with others … you need to be kind and compassionate in here with yourself. And how can you think kindly of yourself if you see yourself lying and cheating?
Yes, and about cannabis. Cannabis, when used wisely and judiciously, amplifies our awareness so we can see our self more clearly. It heightens our sensitivity to our actions and sensibilities. So if you’re committed to the process of increasing your integrity – make no mistake about it – it’s a process, cannabis can be an agent of personal change. And if we’re committed to a path of MASS awakening, it starts with our personal self.
I had a mentor once who in a retreat, lead us thru a guided meditation of being a guest at our own funeral … seeing the people there and hearing what they said about us. And the question on the table was, what would they be saying about you. AND what would you want them to say about you? I know I’d like to hear that “Becca lived true to her values and did her best to live of life of integrity and on purpose.” What do you want them to say about you? Wherever you’re watching this, drop down to the comments section and let me know, let all of us know, and if you have thoughts on what integrity looks like in your life… and any tips on how you stay true to yourself.
I’m Becca Williams, and I want you to lead a marvelous life, and I want to help you do that.