Spiritual Teachings on Dishonesty
There is a signature pattern of the human soul as intended by God. The more one strives to fulfill this pattern, the more empowered you become. If we examine the physical aspect of this pattern, we will quickly understand what this teaching means spiritually.
The body is designed to receive food in certain proportions, chew it using the teeth, swallow it coated in saliva so it enters into the digestive system. The organs are designed to function without conscious intervention of thought to discern the usable nutrients as fuel and building material. The waste is directed to the elimination system and later evacuated.
A body fulfilling the right pattern will sleep adequately, be active either through exercise or work exertion and minimize the intake of toxins. When this pattern is followed, the body remains healthy and is able to be a strong reliable vehicle for the soul to inhabit and flourish. Most of us can agree with the basis of this teaching.
Those on the spiritual path are trying to do the same with the soul. We want to maintain good physical health but not become obsessed with the body. Life will flourish when the soul is the priority, not the body.
Let’s now discuss the signature pattern of the soul as it pertains to truth. The soul thrives on truth. It craves that high pleasant vibration of knowing what is Right according to the Being who created us. When our focus in life is disconnected from the soul, there is a lot of room for falsity to creep in. The mind, the ego and the body are trying to figure out how to seize a salvageable life amidst the godlessness and negativity on this planet. Trying to find meaning within this limited understanding will result in disappointment. A person might say, “Life sucks and then you die. Might as well live fast, get whatever pleasure you can and check out early but happy.” This statement is a lie in so many ways, the premise of which is that life sucks or life takes everything out of you. And that if you gobble up as much pleasure that you can, you will be happy even if you die young.
That idea is cultivated within the closed system of the ego, mind and body obsession. The ego in its prideful posturing denies the existence of the unseen soul and shuts out the truth. Then when it hits obstacles because its premise of life is off, it is forced to lie in order to preserve and protect itself. When you realize that you and almost every living being on the planet is trapped in this limited consciousness, you begin to have greater compassion for why people act dishonestly.
Consider people growing up in a part of the world where food is scarce. In the US, getting food is one of the easiest things to do. On nearly any commercial block, you enter the store, select what you want and pay for it. Seconds later you eat. In other parts of the world, no such infrastructure exists and the urgency to find enough food each day becomes an obsession. For us, our reality is different. These other people are on the verge of starvation on any given week and thus their sense of reality is quite different. They will do what is necessary to get the food required to stay alive even it means stealing it..
Let’s apply this analogy when it comes to lying. People living in the ego/mind/body paradigm are starving because from their perspective, everything is limited. The consciousness that excludes God is ravenously looking outside of itself for the ‘food’ it needs to make it day to day. The food we think we need takes the form of pleasure, adulation, material wealth, sexual conquest, indulgence in a myriad of unhealthy habits and on and on. The lie that ‘life sucks’ propels the person to try and take as much as they can, and since this goes against the correct pattern of the soul, eventually the being will be faced with the need to lie in order to keep it all going. Dishonesty is a symptom of living out of accord with the signature pattern of the soul. Having this understanding can help immensely in reducing the anger that gets stirred up when being lied to.
It is absolutely wrong to lie and it is totally disrespectful to another soul when you lie to them. It makes sense that when you know you are being lied to that you feel angry because the other person has judged you as being unable to deal with the truth.
There is a famous moment in the 1992 movie A Few Good Men where Tom Cruise as an attorney in a military trial questions Jack Nicholson. He wants to know if Nicholson ordered a ‘Code Red’ that resulted in a soldier’s death. Nicholson has been unwilling to disclose the truth of what order he gave.
Cruise demands to know the truth and Nicholson delivers the famous line “You can’t handle the truth!” What follows is Nicholson’s testimony as to how valuable an officer he is and how his actions, though not understandable and not legal were the necessary actions in order to do his job effectively. This is the voice of pride and ego. For Nicholson the truth is that sometimes, in order to save the lives of many, one life has to be sacrificed. When pushed, he admits he gave the order for the Code Red and adds ‘You’re God d**m right I did!’.
You can be certain that Nicholson’s character was not directed by the Higher Self to order the Code Red. He made the decision based on emotion (mostly fear and anger) and ego, mostly pride. But beware the mind is tricky and it is very clever at how it justifies its dishonesty in order to get or do what it wants.
As a result of understanding the difference between the fear-based ego/mind/body pattern and the love-based Soul/Self (or Soul/Christ) pattern, we should all take a step back and recognize we are still sustaining some level of dishonesty in our day to day lives. We are likely cycling between these signature patterns based on how secure we feel and the cravings of the ego and emotions at any given moment. This humility will aid you in not getting overly righteous when you are met with the dishonesty of another. While it can seem despicable when you experience another individual blatantly lying in order to get what they want, getting angry and confronting them is generally not the most productive solution.
There are times when this IS the solution that God deems best. Jesus severely admonished the Pharisees publicly in Matthew 23. Consider Jesus’ thundering sermon as the voice of God condemning the dishonesty of man, especially those who claimed to be servants of God supposedly leading seekers back to heaven. Thus, at times, God may instruct your soul to speak in such a manner when facing dishonesty but generally this kind of Guidance is reserved for those who have gained a considerable control over their own personal anger.
So what about the rest of us? How do we deal with the lies of our friends, families, co-workers, politicians and authority figures? We begin by relaxing and accepting that people are mostly living the pattern of their ego and not their soul. Because we have largely lived the same way yet are trying to evolve out of it, we assume a certain compassion, not for the action of lying but for the short-sightedness that gives rise to this corruption. Remember that as Jesus was being crucified he said, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). For as much pain as their actions caused Him, he did not respond in anger.
In Luke 8:17, Jesus teaches “For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to Light.” In other words, God will manage the exposure of the lies at the correct time. Just as Jesus warned us to listen to the teachings of the Pharisees but not follow their actions, we must be wise when sensing the dishonesty of others.
Above all, teach yourself to manage your anger when you feel or know you someone is lying or acting hypocritical. Allowing that anger to drive your action won’t be fruitful. Primarily what you want is to create an atmosphere through discussion and action that allows for the individual to speak the truth. By cultivating an accepting attitude which originates from the understanding that people are confined by the ego pattern and not yet awake to the soul pattern means you can assume the Christ-like perspective of forgiveness.
The hatred of the Truth rubbed the egos of the Pharisees so intensely that they murdered Jesus. Jesus didn’t get mad. If anyone had a right to be upset, if was Jesus and yet he chose not to. It worked for Him because he knew he was fulfilling God’s Righteousness. He had faith that His death was part of the Mission of redemption.
Often times, the dishonesty we experience will not feel quite as significant. It may be as a result of karmic patterns we initiated by lying ourselves at some point and now it’s coming back to us. It might be because we allowed ourselves to invest in relationships with people who are not honest despite the red flags we saw early on. And sometimes, it’s simply a numbers game meaning most people are living a certain percentage of lies and ultimately you have to interact with them so you will encounter dishonesty. Accept this.
The more you aspire to fulfill the signature pattern of Soul and Christ, the more your spiritual senses develop and you can feel the vibration of dishonesty. You will know faster and with greater certainty when someone is lying or acting hypocritically. Your challenge is to communicate what you are reading in a way that doesn’t humiliate or seek to angrily expose the one lying. This will lead to a battle of wills as the accused seeks to either disprove your accusation or else find equal flaws with you such that your credibility is diminished. It’s all ego and a supreme waste of time.
Come from a place of compassion. Earlier we talked about an analogy where food was scarce and people were willing to do whatever they needed in order to have enough to eat. If caught stealing, of course it would be wrong but you can also understand more compassionately the reasons they acted this way. Going without food will lead to death. People are blinded by the pattern of the ego and are just as frightened of losing what they deem the very essence of their survival. They lie in order to make sure they have what they want. It can feel like life and death.
If you begin with this premise, it will afford you the patience and the clarity to handle dishonesty with maturity. Try to dialogue in a way that communicates there is no judgment, only the desire for the truth to be known, that if a person admits they lied, you won’t jump all over them and condemn them. You present an attitude of maturity and forgiveness and hope the other party comes forth.
On the other side, people have to sense that you can read their dishonesty and hopefully this encourages them to respect you and not lie. But if they continue to lie, you will want to limit your involvement in the relationship. Wisdom dictates avoiding deep involvement with dishonest people. Remember that God will provide what you need if you have faith and exert a good effort.
In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says, “Stop lying. Do not do which is against your love.” This implies that lying is an act contrary to love and thus an act of fear. Trust is developed through shared experiences. Strong trust in relationships requires honesty (speaking the truth), integrity (acting in accord with the truth), dependability (repeatedly following through on one’s promises) and love (a feeling that one’s best interest is considered and valued).
Focus your efforts on learning to trust the truth as the ultimate liberator. Jesus said in John 8:32 …”the truth shall set you free.” Develop the skill of speaking truth in a way that is helpful, necessary, kind and well timed. Do not cater to the ego of others in fearing their reaction to the truth. If you practice in this way, you will experience minimal dishonesty.
If you do find yourself facing dishonesty, it is recommended before taking any action that you retreat into meditation and examine thoughts and feelings around the given situation. Coming forth in an emotional state and accusing someone of lying is rarely going to accomplish anything positive. Backing someone into a corner and pressuring them tends to make people angry and defensive. Of course, it can be uncomfortable to discuss with another person that you believe they aren’t being truthful so you will have to find courage to bring it up.
While in meditation, determine what your intention is in confronting the other person. People generally hate to admit when they have lied. The best thing is to try and create a non-threatening environment where speaking the truth is easy. Most people would prefer to tell the truth because it’s just easier and feels better. Demonstrating that you can accept the truth without becoming overly emotional will facilitate creating this environment. If you get attached to the idea that the person must admit their lies and take responsibility for them, you are giving away a lot of power. In reality, you don’t need that. Sure it would be nice if someone admitted they were lying, apologized and tried to do better. But such an outcome is not something we hold out for.