"If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything." - Mark TwainAs 2013 comes to a close, I look back at the year and can clearly pick out the most important realization I experienced in the 22/23rd year of my life: unflinching and relentless honesty with yourself and those around you brings clarity into your life and everyone you encounter.
Growing up in suburbia America, on a small middle-class WASPy island in the Puget Sound, I found it easy to get away with telling half-truths, exaggerations of reality, and relating to others who also "turned a burp into a fart" to make for funnier conversation, awe, ego-stroking, or any number of reasons one would want to spice up a story.
This exaggeration became so natural, I began to confuse myself with what actually happened and what I imagined happened, leaving much of my childhood hazy and difficult to remember with any sense of certainty.
Having now understood this seemingly harmless state of being to be, in my personal experience, completely destructive, I'd decided to be a truth-teller so-as to more clearly live my life and provide honest insight from my experiences as one who seeks what is Real.
I like to think about telling the truth like this: as you live your life, you are constantly "building the foundations" for your home (your life). When you lie, exaggerate, steal, cheat, or are dishonest in anyway, you are essentially laying a damaged/lower-quality foundation from which everything else will be built upon.
If you build a house with a shaky foundation, that house will fall, and it seems that telling the truth and being honest with yourself allows one to build the foundation of their character much stronger than someone who is constantly fluffing their and others' lives up with distorted perceptions with ulterior motives.
Total honesty is a hard place to get to, especially if one has, like myself, lived completely immersed in their own self-delusion.
STAY FOCUSED! You may find, as I did, that most of what you take to be "real" about yourself is actually made up and that looking deep brings up pain, long-forgotten past experiences, and/or negative belief patterns embedded in your psych. These findings, whether positive or negative, are apart of YOU and are important factors in who you are today.
When was the last time you asked yourself, "why do I believe xyz?" If you take a thought, any thought, ("I like this," "I shouldn't have done that," "that is cool,") and follow it back through your mind, you will find, as one of my teachers Adyashanti did, that each thought that surfaces in your mind has a whole belief system tied behind it, driving the thought forward.
As one begins to unravel the inner-workings of their mind, and makes the vow to be honest with what they find, these unraveling reveal a deeper-sense of self from discovering why one thinks the way they do.
From Tiny Buddha,
"Only you know if you’ve been lying to yourself. Other people may think they know what’s going on in your head and what’s right for you. But only you know what you need to do and whether or not you’re doing it.
"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." - Carl Bard