The Truth will set you free. But free from what?
What are you trapped in? Illusions and stories made of lies are what the trap is made from.
The truth shall set you free from lies. Lies are the force powering the narrative stories and monkey mind of thoughts.
You can’t pour water into a full glass.
Adopt a narrative of gratitude, and you feel grateful. (See lesson 1 of the Self Mastery Intro Course)
What are you most grateful for? How does it make you feel?
Direct your attention to that narrative, and you create pleasant emotions of gratitude. Just do that all day, and you will feel good all day. That seems like an excellent simple solution.
How come it doesn’t work?
Consciously choosing a narrative like gratitude and sticking with it all day doesn’t work. Your mind is already filled with dozens or hundreds of other beliefs that automatically create their own emotions. You can’t pour water into a full cup. To allow room for a good feeling narrative like gratitude, you probably have to make space in your mind for it first.
What causes suffering?
We suffer because we live in an inner world of narrative stories driving our emotions into fear, anger, envy, jealousy, sadness, shame, guilt, etc. The mind is out of control with thoughts and larger narratives that cycle us into these emotions. The lies in our beliefs drive those thoughts and feelings. At the source of suffering are lies.
How many thoughts a day do you have about:
What my body looks like?
Getting everything I have to do done
Paying my taxes
Getting enough exercise.
Doing good at my job.
Satisfying my boss, partner, making my kids happy, and meeting family commitments…
Taking care of my elderly parent.
I’m not getting what I want in my relationship.
Jealousy, breakup, loneliness, being liked, loved, and feeling secure with a partner.
It’s kind of a tricky question since most of these thoughts go unnoticed. But it is in the hundreds and thousands. And safe to say that we repeat the worst ones many times.
These thought narratives have their emotional qualities, usually fearful, and typically create suffering. It is good to consider all these issues, but in the right amount, with the proper emotions, and the proper number of times. We don’t need to revisit the same fearful scenario multiple times a day, day after day, with intense worry and fear.
Pain is from Reality, and Suffering is from a story.
There are real experiences in life that can be painful. A disconnection with someone you love can bring stress and hurt. A breakup can bring pain to our hearts. The death of someone close causes grief. These are natural emotions to real-life events.
Thinking of these things before they happen or revisiting a memory repeatedly are journeys of a narrative story. It brings all the same emotions but from the imagined event. The narrative story is fearful, painful, emotionally dramatic, and yet it is all from imagination. I call them illusions and dreams, and they are from lies. Things in our minds are not really happening other than as a dream. Lies are what cause the constant thoughts of the monkey mind and emotional suffering. Actual events may be emotionally painful, but only when they happen for real. It’s the lies of narrative stories about stuff that isn’t happening that create suffering.
The Truth is what sets you free from Lies.
When you are present with the Truth, the mind is silent. You do not need to repeat the facts. You know directly with awareness what is and what isn’t. You no longer need the sticky repeating narrative because it doesn’t inform you of anything you don’t already know.
Telling you the truth is not easy.
As soon as I put something in words, I have encoded it into a language made of symbols and abstractions of knowledge. Gaining knowledge does not mean one is becoming more aware. People can read many self-help and spiritual books and still be suffering. They have more knowledge, but they have not emptied their mind of lies.
To get out of lies means becoming aware. One way to wake up from a dream is to become aware you are dreaming. One way to wake up from a lie your mind tells you is to become aware that you are inside a story you are projecting.
Identify the lies in the narrative stories we tell ourselves and be clear about the pain they cause is telling the truth and develops awareness. This is the power of Confession that the early Christians and other spiritual traditions utilized. When you are aware you are creating emotional pain from “make-believe,” you intrinsically change how your mind tells the story.
Anger at someone tends to direct our attention to that external person. If we are jealous with anger, we focus on our partner’s behavior. This directs our attention away from the source of the stories. The unconscious story about the fear they will leave and will abandon us is playing inside us. The painful rejection we feel is from something that hasn’t happened. When you see how much emotion you create with your story, you have more clarity about the source of your feelings. One of the keys is to direct your attention inward at the story for a solution, not at our partner. See lesson three on the Attention for more guidance.
Even if they were to leave us, we might not have as much pain. I know that I don’t want to be with a person that wants to be with somebody else. I want to be with a person that wants to be with me. I’d be grateful to have found that out and have them move on. That’s a very different narrative of the same event and creates very different emotions.
Two paths to the Truth
Be honest with yourself about the story you are currently telling.
Begin telling a different story and see if it is an option. The alternative story can expose the limits of your current belief paradigm.
Honesty is a path to the Truth that will set you free.
Christ came with the Big Three Transformation Tools. Truth, Forgiveness, and Love. One form of telling the Truth was Confession. I wouldn’t say I liked Confession when I was growing up Catholic. It had shameful aspects of feeling like I’d done something bad and was supposed to be punished. That brought up guilt and shame. I was doing the confession process all wrong.
Years later, I learned that Confession was expressing honesty that could shed the lies and stories creating suffering. Confession is a means to the Truth.
When I was a child, I didn’t know the narratives I believed produced the guilt and shame were lies. It took until my adulthood to learn how to differentiate the truth from lies.
A simple lie might be that I had “impure thoughts.” Yes, I had sexual thoughts, but they weren’t wrong, bad, or dirty. I just had a narrative that they were. They were very natural sexual desires my mind was forming and typical for a healthy teenage male. Believing that they were “impure” was the lie. Believing that I was wrong or perverted in some way was a lie. Believing these judgments that created guilt and shame was a lie. Believing that I had to atone in some way was a lie.
To be more truthful, I would say the Guilt and Shame narratives weren’t even mine. They were from beliefs in my mind, and I wasn’t my mind. My mind was telling stories of me being bad and needing to atone. My mind was lying about me to me. That is more accurate, and therefore more truthful.
Further in clarity improves honesty.
It isn’t my whole mind that is lying. Most of my mind is just fine and works great. The parts that work great are so good that I don’t even notice them. It’s the stories in my mind that are lying and cause suffering that I notice. They are the loudest. I call them the Judge and Victim aspects. It might feel like my “whole” mind if I only listen to their story. But if I look elsewhere or create other narratives like gratitude, these parts aren’t so big anymore.
The Judge character in my mind is lying about me. It points to the unworthy shameful image of the Victim character and says that the mental image is ”me.” The two parts of the mind have a conspiracy going in how they jointly hold the lies together. I can honestly declare that these parts of my mind are lying. I perceive the guilt and shame they are creating, but it is from a belief in lies. These mental lies of self-judgment are some of the most widespread conspiracies in humanity.
In this declarative confession, self-awareness and Truth grow. It distances me from participating in these lies. It helps immunize me from emotional suffering. It gives me an observer gap, so I’m not identifying with the Victim or Judge images in these narrative stories.
You move towards the Truth by practicing being honest. You can accelerate the transformation by being honest about your lies.
Through your honesty, you put yourself on the path of Truth to set yourself free. If you want to free your mind and yourself of the narrative stories, you can utilize the Self Mastery Course tools to do so.