Sunday Sermon (8/12/07)



I’ve been busy and I wasn’t able to write anything this morning, so I’m re-posting this piece on honesty and spirituality.

* * *

“Whenever we’re being phony, Machiavellian, manipulating other people by withholding… you end up cheating yourself of contact with that person. The reason for telling the truth is to have authentic contact or intimate experience in your life.”
Brad Blanton


The root word for spirituality comes from a Latin word that means to breathe. This is important in the sense that it can lend a basic definition of spirituality that goes beyond dogma and religion: what connects us all is our breath. We all need to breathe and we all share the same supply available on this planet. If I were to come up with a broad definition of spirituality it would be that it is about connection. It is about connection to one another, to the Universal, to our ecology, to everything.

Modern physics teaches us that the basic way we see reality is flawed. We are all connected in ways we thought were impossible. Chaos Theory teaches us that perhaps the flutter of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can set in motion forces that result in a hurricane in Florida. Underlying our reality is an essential connection that should teach us that we are more integrated and connected than we think and that our actions, even our thoughts, influence our surroundings, loved ones, and even strangers in ways that we’re only just beginning to grasp.

Our normal habit of relating, however, is influenced by what I call our “Mini Me”: the ego-centered aspect which compels us to experience ourselves as separate, and we therefore speak and act strategically. This is as true for women as it is for men. As long as we operate within the grip of the mini me, even when we’re trying to do the right thing, we are still doing it from the stance of me: how can I get this person fulfill my needs, what am I feeling, how can Imy truths. express

This stance is, in fact, the cause of the underlying feeling of separation that causes us to suffer in relationships, more than anything else, more than who said what to whom. From the perspective of our egos, we unconsciously try to fit the other into “our” world and, without even trying, we become manipulative. Jeeez! The stakes are too fawkin’ high, the unmet needs and fears too great, to allow us to do otherwise. What happens is that we create these unspoken agreements to support each other in a melodramatic dance of need: “I’ll go along with your story, if you’ll go along with mine.”

People, let me be clear here: a relationship — any relationship — based on need is co-dependently dysfunctional. What is really happening in such a relationship is that both participants are trying to fill a need that only exists as a false belief system of I need to be completed.

In mutual dependency, the tension gets so high that we become willing to lie or avoid talking (another form of lying) about a situation in order to keep the relationship manageable. If you doubt me, just pick up any one of the “The Rules” book featured in the self-help section of bookstores and talk shows and tell me if that isn’t a blueprint for manipulation and dishonesty. In this way, our relating becomes a way to reinforce our basic feeling of being separate, small, and lacking. Secrets and lies are what we know.

The sense of being small and separate forces us to see every problem and feeling of discomfort as external. Shyt, if I don’t feel good, it is because you made me feel that way.

Think about that statement.

I mean really think about it: is it a true statement, or a belief?

When we relate to each other from the limiting perspective of separate, isolated individual, we act as if the other person is on the far side of an abyss. Sure, we can shout and wave, feel empathy, and then call that skillful communication. But even then, that deep feeling of isolation has not been mollified.

It is here where the experience of spirituality can guide to wholeness, to the experience of the profound connection that underlies our reality. Then and only then, can you come to the realization that the love you seek from another is already here.




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