We have all heard the playground taunt “Liar, liar pants on fire.” It seems that the accusation, regardless of who made it or to whom it was directed was probably true. We are all experiencing the “Pinocchio Syndrome” each day whether we are children or adults. We are all infected with the habit of lying. In fact, some say it is necessary for our survival or at least necessary to function successfully in our society. Is this the truth or an outrageous accusation? Let’s take a look!
Those of us who have chosen to abandon the old story in favor of Simple Reality have done so, in part, because we had the insight that to remain in a story so overwhelmed with fear no longer made any sense. We found the motivation, the intention, and the commitment to choose another direction for our lives.
In this essay we continue our examination of P-B in hopes of revealing more of the madness that characterizes the dominant, fear-driven narrative that could bring about the collapse of global civilization as we know it. Ironically, the survival strategy that seems to give humanity a sense of “everything will eventually be OK” is one gigantic self-deception—one big lie.
We engage in lying, denial and the keeping of secrets precisely because we want to repress the reality of P-B. Our intuition, gently whispering the truth, is always available to us when we choose to let compassion be the source of our energy that we can access when we want to live an authentic life, one in harmony with our true self.
We deny the truth, and it is pushed below the level of consciousness; we tell ourselves lies about where we are and the truth is pushed further down; and we keep secrets about our behaviors and how they disturb us and the truth sinks deep into the darkness, into the subterranean caverns below our awareness. We then have lost the ability to distinguish between what is true and what is an illusion.
With Simple Reality we are engaged in digging out the truth, mining the one true commodity that has value. When we find the courage to sift through the ore we have brought to the surface of our awareness by selecting response over reaction again and again, we see truth and beauty gleaming amongst the worthless tailings of our emotional reactions. Our meditation becomes a mining technique that allows us to experience “reality as it really is” in the words of Buddha. But that requires us to get to work with our picks and shovels. It requires that we take a courageous look at our own behaviors—all of them!
As we have said, lying is a common human behavior because it is a key aspect of the survival strategy of the false self. According to Leonard Saxe, a psychology professor at BrandeisUniversity, “lying has long been a part of everyday life. We couldn’t get through the day without being deceptive.”
In a study involving 147 people who kept a weekly journal, researcher Bella De Paulo, PhD found that: “Both men and women lie in approximately a fifth of their social exchanges lasting ten or more minutes; over the course of a week they deceive about 30% of those with whom they interact one-on-one.”
Notice how identity figures into the act of lying, especially the sensation energy center concerned with our image, our pseudo-identity, i.e. how we appear to others (or at least how we think we appear to others). Researchers De Paulo and Deborah Kashy, PhD of Texas A&M University found that “frequent liars tend to be manipulative…not to mention overly concerned with the impression they make on others.”
We have all assumed that lying is bad but remember as part of our survival strategy telling the truth in P-B may be a luxury that we cannot afford. “Researchers cite findings that a certain amount of self-delusion—basically, lying to oneself, is a useful tool to good mental health. For example, in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman and Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, lies are self-sustaining. The heroes become tragic figures when the lies are stripped away.”
A liar is always lavish of oaths.
The French playwright Pierre Corneille (1609-1684) wrote a play called The Liar in 1643 in which the protagonist Dorante is a compulsive liar. “Most importantly for Dorante, telling the truth is awkward and uncomfortable; deception feels like the right thing to do. For Dorante lying has become second nature, addictive and difficult to stop.”
Lying in the context of P-B has indeed become difficult to stop, probably impossible to stop since we believe it is necessary. The truth is that even “little white lies” deemed harmless or necessary are an outgrowth of P-B. Lies are inevitable when deemed necessary by the beliefs, attitudes and values of the dominant worldview which we all inherit at birth. The only solution is to abandon the old paradigm and start afresh beyond the grasp of the old conditioning. When brought to the surface, truth and beauty will shine forth from within as the only image worth projecting because it will be the true self.
References and notes are available for this essay.
For a much more in-depth discussion on Simple Reality, read Simple Reality: The Key to Serenity and Survival, by Roy Charles Henry, published in 2011.