Trapped in a Lie
The Union Path Podcast
Trapped in a Lie
[0:00:20] John Coleman: We've all heard the saying, we've all heard the quote, we've all heard the idea that the truth shall set you free. This is a really powerful idea. This really is an idea we're spending some time really thinking about, really pondering, really looking at the areas of our life we find ourselves particularly captured, particularly captive, particularly in bondage, and look for the untruth, the dishonesty, the lies that have created these situations and keep us bound to it. This isn't easy work, this isn't work for the fain of heart. Truly pursuing and endeavoring after the truth can be hard. Work can be difficult, work can be trying, work can be upsetting, work can be frustrating work. But it's also work that's absolutely vital if we truly crave, if we truly want to achieve our own liberation and freedom. Because when we think of this idea that the truth shall set us free and then we think of the opposite, that it's our lives, our dishonesty that hold us captive, we can really learn a lot about ourselves, we can really learn a lot about our lives, we can really learn a lot about the way things are. And it can really help make a lot of things make a lot of sense. Then we encounter these ideas, these axioms, these quotes, these proverbs, whatever they are, that contain within them a very powerful truth. These can be really handy tools to deciphering our own experience, to making sense of why things are the way they are, why things aren't the way they're not, why life feels the way it does, why our experience seems to go the way it does. And so when we encounter these truths, we encounter these helpful tools, these helpful ideas. It can be really useful to not only recognize them, but to really hold them, to really ponder them, to really take the time to extract their full meaning, to use them on a consistent basis that once we found they contain a bit of truth for one aspect or one area of our life. See what other aspects and areas of our life that they can show us something real and truthful also. Because the fact of the matter is there is no good life led in dishonesty.
[0:03:05] John Coleman: There is no good outcome built on a lie. If we want to live good, full lives, we want to live lives that not only make sense to us and feel good, but also deliver a sense of meaning, a sense of purpose, a sense of fulfillment, a sense of enjoyment that's deeply felt our lives must be rooted in the truth. And when we start looking for the dishonesty in our life, the deception, the lies, we start to look far beyond what we normally think when we ponder these words. A lot of times what we normally think is usually speech, usually something we hear or we see from someone else. And although king into the truth and our external interactions and our external relationships is extremely valuable. It's been my experience, it's my belief that the real value comes when we start looking through this lens internally. We start really looking at ourselves when we start really building our own self awareness and holding it up to this idea of truth this idea of how we've been living truthfully and how we've been living dishonestly, how we've been living with true ideas and how we've been living with and perpetuating lies. And again, this goes far beyond speech. This goes into how we actually live our lives, how we present ourselves, how we think about ourselves. It gets down beneath the language and communication layer of things, more down to the idea of beliefs, either the beliefs about ourselves or the beliefs about ourselves that we're trying to project on other people that we're trying to influence other people to believe about us. And as one simple example of living a lie that many of us unfortunately can find ourselves in can be seen through our work. That is when we are doing a job, we're getting up every morning doing whatever we have to do to put on the uniform and countenance that's expected for whatever job we're doing to go to whatever place that job. Happens to do whatever things that job entails and in doing so have to adopt pretty much a completely different persona just to exist, just to survive, just to attempt to thrive. That we find our work self and our real self to be pretty fundamentally different. With enough awareness we can even notice us doing things that kind of cause us to look at a bit of scance, to look at it's like kind of say who are you?
[0:05:53] John Coleman: What are you doing? Why are you doing this? This isn't really you. Or we can also find ourselves feeling like we have to perpetuate a lie because the truth is just too risky. We're far too vulnerable to the truth. And again in a work situation we can find ourselves exaggerating. We can find ourselves obfuscating what's actually happening. We can get so lost and caught up in our own self promotion of some idealized vision of a worker in this role that we can lose touch with what we're actually doing. We can definitely lose touch with why we're actually doing it. We can be so focused on presenting a certain exterior, on creating certain results, on fostering certain outcomes that we can lose touch with ourselves. We can lose contact with who we really are because we believe that being ourselves, that we believe telling the truth in this environment simply isn't worth the risk is simply dangerous. We can find the same dynamic in relationships, especially intimate and significant relationships, but even more superficial relationships. We can find ourselves saying things we don't actually believe. We can find ourselves doing things we don't actually want to do. We can pretend that what we're doing is good and actually feels good when the opposite is actually true.
[0:07:32] John Coleman: All in an effort to maintain the relationship. And of course in any relationship, in any situation there has to be compromise. We all adapt to relationships and situations and situations and relationships adapt to us. This isn't about us demanding that everything has to be exactly how we want it and we're just going to rattle off every unfiltered thought and opinion that we have. And if people don't like it that's their problem. Now that's obviously not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about this idea of the truth, this idea of being honest and most importantly being honest with ourselves. Of being able to look at our life in spot to areas where we're trapped in a lie where we're living in some untruthful way again not just through a language, not just through a speech but internally. We're not telling lies so much as we're living lies. Because when we're being dishonest, when we're acting in a way that isn't really our truth, isn't really us, this automatically sets up an internal conflict and we can feel it. Sure we might work really hard to numb it and suppress it and ignore it but that conflict is still there. It's still there and it can manifest itself in myriad ways. It can really set us up for not so much living a life that's about thinking and doing from a place of truth, from a place of fundamental truth, from a place of expression of who and what we really are. It can really be more about constantly trying to maintain and project some idea of ourselves that we're trying to get others to believe. And we feel the conflict because we know these ideas at least on some level at least somewhere within us, aren't actually true.
[0:09:41] John Coleman: We can find ourselves in situations where in our life we're kind of playing a game of cops and robbers. We're through our dishonesty, through our deception, through our attempted manipulation of others and the way that they see us and view us and value us. We've adopted the persona of the robber but we know the cops are out there. We know at any moment we could get found out. At any moment the jig could be up. And so we can find ourselves in these patterns of just working to maintain these deceptions, these untruths which can take a lot of time and effort, can take a lot of focus. And when our focus is on maintaining these deceptions it's very easy to lose focus of our true selves of what we actually want, what our life is actually like. That when we're too focused on perpetuating an idea and a story about who we are and what we do. We can lose the truth of these things. We can lose the reality of who we are and what we do. We can slip into times honestly we just don't really have a lot of selfawareness because we're so focused on the external. We're so focused on maintaining and perpetuating these ideas, this image that we lose touch with ourselves, with our real selves, with our true selves. Simply put, living with any type of deception or dishonesty is a stumbling block, is an obstacle to our ultimate full selfexpression and it's a stumbling block. And it's an obstacle because we are modifying and adulterating and corrupting our own expression to make it something that it's not. We're bending and shaping the energy that flows through us to create something that isn't actually real.
[0:11:50] John Coleman: If we spot these things in our lives, these can be really difficult truths to face. But our way to living truthfully, our way to the liberation that the truth can give us is first we have to learn to be honest with ourselves, learn to be honest with who we really are, what we've really been doing, what the effects of our doing have been, what the effects on others have been, what our life experiences really like, how it really feels, what we really want. To find our way to truth, we have to start by being truthful. We have to start by valuing the truth. And it's precisely this idea that the truth can and shall set us free that we can really begin to endeavor towards us. Who can really start to have a reason because when we find ourselves living trapped in a lie, we're not living this lie because we're somehow these damaged, flawed, broken, horrible, deplorable people. We have a reason. If we're going into our job being someone completely different than who we really are, saying things we don't actually believe, doing things we don't actually want to do, we have a very good reason. We might have several very good reasons. And so this isn't something that is easy even though the idea on its face is simple. It's this binary idea of it's either the truth or it's not. It can be pretty complicated, pretty challenging to really apply. Living a life of truth, although conceptually is pretty simple, practically can be quite challenging. But it's worth it. It's worth it because ultimately what do we actually want when we think about our lives and about how we want to actually live?
[0:13:57] John Coleman: What kind of person do we actually want to be? What kind of experiences do we really want to have? What kind of relationships do we really want to create and develop? If we put all of those under one umbrella, I think a lot of times, if not most of the time, the reason why we want these things is because we actually want freedom. We crave our own freedom because ultimately many of us, if not all of us, want to be free to experience what we actually want. We want to be free to actually be ourselves. We want to be free to actually do the things that we want to do because those things are a reflection and expression of who we really are and exploring a little bit deeper. When the other areas can make these lies we find ourselves trapped in even more pernicious, even more durable is that we can find we're the ones actually trapping ourselves when we're going to situations not being ourselves when we're going to situations not telling the truth, not living the truth. Sometimes the reason why we're doing this is because we assume that the truth is just too dangerous. It's just too hard, would just be too uncomfortable, would create too much conflict. But I think if we're honest with ourselves that on any level if we're living out a lie aren't all of those things already true? Isn't this already hard? Isn't this already uncomfortable? Isn't there already a lot of conflict? Sometimes to find our way out of living these lives we have to question these truths.
[0:15:47] John Coleman: We have to ask ourselves in these situations what would happen if I told the truth? Really entertain this idea, really sit with it, really ponder it and then ask ourselves the follow up question are we sure? Have we ever tried? Are these assumptions based on reality? And if we have, if we've been punished for our truth if we've felt the swift backhand of life coming to strike us after we've told the truth then we can ask ourselves well, is that universally true or is that a product of this particular circumstance, of this particular environment? Have I found myself in a situation where I have to live out these lies because the culture or the circumstance I find myself in makes the truth dangerous? The important thing is that we need to realize that in order to have the life we really want truly, deeply in our heart and soul on the inside that life has to be rooted in truth. And sometimes we can reconnect to the truth for our own behavior through deciding to tell the truth, to deciding to live the truth. And sometimes when we find ourselves in environments or cultures or circumstances or situations where the truth just really isn't a valid option, then we need to find our way to separate ourselves from these circumstances or environments that it goes both ways. That we need to be able to tell the truth and we need to put ourselves in environments and situations where the truth is not only safe, but it's honored. It's appreciated. It doesn't come back to bite us. It doesn't create some sort of punishment some sort of negative reinforcement. And this is really hard. This is really hard to find the balance of what can we actually do to tell more of the truth?
[0:17:51] John Coleman: And how can we actually put ourselves in situations where that's actually a good thing? I think this is one of the things where growing up in a dysfunctional family can make this really difficult because it's been my experience anyway in my particular situation that I grew up in big part of maintaining that dysfunction. A big part of maintaining any sense of peace or comfort or just to avoid being attacked is to maintain secrets and lies that as long as no one ever really told the truth, that as long as secrets were kept, everything would be fine. And the truth is, everything wasn't fine. But it definitely seemed like not keeping secrets, by not telling lies, things would get far worse. The volatility and the anger and the punishment that would be unleashed through daring to tell the truth, through daring to not keep secrets seemed overwhelming, seemed embominable, because of course I did. I was just a kid. I was going along to get along. I just wanted to be accepted. I just wanted to be included. I just wanted to be part of something while at the same time didn't want to be punished, didn't want to be made to feel worse. And as an adult, as an adult, in midlife, especially boy, of these patterns played out for a really long time. Boy have I found myself in situations where I was the one keeping secrets, where I was the one telling lies in order to maintain the relationship, in order to try to be safe, in order to try to keep the bad things from happening. And so again, I'm not trying to say any of this is easy. What I am trying to say is that in order to live a true full life, this is absolutely vital.
[0:20:09] John Coleman: The truth shall set you free. That is the truth. And this can be a process this can be a process we work towards, especially if we find ourselves living and being and speaking and even thinking in ways that aren't really us. These habits can take a while to change because it's not only our own internal habits, our own ruts in our minds, in our thinking and our behavior, but it's also the expectations of others. If we all of a sudden change, if we all of a sudden start saying things we weren't saying before, we start doing things we weren't doing before, this can really upset the order, can really frustrate expectations, can really create a lot of conflict on its own. But when we work this as a process, when we work to every day live a little more truthfully than we did the prior day and do that over and over and over again, then we'll find our way. We can find a way to test some of these assumptions to see if telling the truth is really as dangerous as we think it is. We can try and see if living the truth really makes us as vulnerable as we think it does. We can try letting go of things we don't actually want, that aren't actually us. We can try to pursue the things that actually are. We can set ourselves free by connecting with and orienting towards the truth and working to build this, working to resolve these conflicts. Because if we're the ones who attract ourselves in whatever lie we're living then we're also the ones who can set ourselves free. We're the ones who can resolve this internal conflict that we feel because we're the ones who can reorient our life and our behavior around the truth. Because ultimately with truth there is no deep internal conflict. Of course telling the truth can be scary.
[0:22:31] John Coleman: Of course telling the truth, especially to people who really don't want to hear it and really don't want you to say it, can be risky, negative consequences can happen. But we can figure out a way to tell the truth. There's finesse here, there's nuance here. There's a building process here that we can start from wherever we are and tell a little more truth today than we did yesterday and just keep going, just see what happens. See what happens if we don't try so hard to maintain this image and this idea of ourselves that isn't really true and focused a little bit more on expressing our own truth, on being who and what we actually are and trusting the image others have of us will be of that. Because when we're connected and focused on being and expressing who we really are, we don't actually have to worry about our image that much because our image will be based on whatever we're being. And if we're being ourselves, our image will be of ourselves. And if our image is of ourselves then there's no internal conflict to resolve, there's no deception that has to be maintained. In a lot of ways, one of the reasons truth is so liberating is just so much simpler. We don't have to remember all the stories we've told people. We don't have to remember all the expectations that we've oftentimes projected on others that we have to meet. We can just be we don't have to think so much, we don't have to try so hard. We can really be rooted and grounded much more in being. Rather than spending so much thought and time and effort on trying to be someone we're actually not and where we find ourselves in our lives trapped in lies, we're the only ones who can resolve this. And sometimes this is really hard work.
[0:24:43] John Coleman: Sometimes this means taking a little bit of short term damage. Sometimes this means taking some short term setbacks. Sometimes this means making other people upset. Sometimes this means defying other people as expectations. Sometimes this means loss in one way or the other. But ultimately we're the ones who have to choose we're the ones who have to choose whether it's worth it or not. We're the ones who have to choose how important truth really is. We're the ones who have to choose how important our liberation and our freedom actually are. And it's a personal choice. There is no right or wrong answer. But if we've decided to pursue, to really pursue with the intent of achieving our own freedom, then the only path is the path of truth. The only unity we'll find with our own freedom is in unity with the truth. Is in telling the truth, thinking the truth, knowing the truth, being the truth. And when we find these deceptions and these lies in our life, especially the ones we feel trapped by, we're the ones who can resolve them. And we can start by setting the intent to resolve them.
[0:26:09] John Coleman: We can start by setting the intent to be truthful. We can start by setting the intent to know the truth. We can start by setting the intent of being the truth. Because again, if we want our freedom, we want our true liberation. We really have no other choice if it's freedom or after. Truth really is the only game in town. And so the question for all of us is are we willing to play? Are we willing to play this game of truth? Are we willing to try and see to see where it takes us, to see what it gets us? To see how our life changes when it's based on the truth? This isn't an easy game, but it's been my experience at least it's my belief based on what I've experienced, is that it's absolutely worth it. By not fully committing to the truth, we install and maintain a pretty low ceiling in our life. And if we've found ourselves butting it up against that ceiling, the only way to remove it, the only way to rise above it, is to do so in truth.
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