Monday, November 26, 2018

A Buddhist Approach to Lies

I dislike being lied to by people I think I trust. We all go through a good friend or family member who lied to us and we feel a loss, but wait! Maybe I have gained more compassion and perhaps a pathway to more patience and tolerance. Still, when we discover we were lied to,  we can feel sad and hurt, or even angry and that is okay for a few moments. I guess the question is why do people lie? So I decided to take a Buddhist approach. First, one must know lies hurt. When people lie, even if they think others will never find out, it create a barrier in your relationship with that person.  Lying destroys people because it takes them into a vicious cycle that is extremely difficult to get free from.

Once someone tells a lie, they usually have to lie again to cover up the first lie, and they feel even worse, if they have the ability to feel guilt. In my case, this particular person really does not feel any sort of guilt. Still, lies grow, they never stand alone, and they need more lies to support the first lie. Thus the cycle of habitual lying starts. In Buddhism this is not the path to love truthfulness and compassion, and is clearly not a karmic path I would want to follow.

Trying to understand the physical aspect of lying is important. When people lie, it stimulates three main sections of the brain. Lying activates the frontal lobe for its role in the truth-suppressing process, the limbic system due to the anxiety that comes with deception, and the temporal lobe because it's responsible for retrieving memories and creating mental imagery. Here is something else, the more you lie, the more the internal conflict of lying diminishes. People stop feeling so bad about lying. They no longer worry or feel guilty about lying. That's not so great really because if the liar no longer feels like lying is a big deal this affects their karma and their spiritual growth.

We need to have compassion because we have to understand that people lie for reasons. So why do people lie? It is hard to give just one reason. One has to look at a variety of reasons. Some people lie because telling the truth feels like giving up control. Some lie because the truth can be inconvenient. Fear seems to be the number one reason why people lie. They are afraid to upset someone, lose their job, and because they are fearful of losing the respect of those around them. They want you to like them so much they lie to get the likes. People lie to have acceptance, to get approval and attention. Sometimes they lie to be appreciated.

Unlike Christianity, there is no rule/commandment in Buddhism about lying however, the Buddha believed in order to find enlightenment, to walk in peace, we need to abstain from falsehood. In Buddhism, being truthful goes beyond simply not telling lies. It means speaking truthfully and honestly, and it also means using speech to benefit others, and not to use it to benefit only ourselves.

For me as someone who practices the philosophies of Buddhism or at least work daily on practicing, I ask myself what to do about someone who lies constantly. I get and understand we need to have compassion. Nobody likes being lied to, and the natural reaction is to call the liar out, but that’s not always the smartest thing to do. I tend to be surrounded with people who lie. I think it is a past life thing really. However, in this lifetime I get that lies can be harmful, and I try to have compassion for those who lie.

So I pretty much get that the person lying is not willing to have enlightenment, and that they are living a hurtful life to themselves and others, so when I see it in that way, and meditate and make sure I see it like that, I can have compassion and move on no matter how big the lie. I get to understand it is part of their brain structure and personality and for that compassion needs to be a must. Please remember compassion when loved ones are dishonest.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Stay In the Now

A client comes to me very upset and having severe anxiety about something. I calm her down by having her take a deep breath. I say to her;
"Where are you right now?
"In your office"
"Are you safe?"
"Think about the anxiety you had yesterday. Do you feel anxiety?"
"Think about what you just said about next week, does it make you anxious?"
"Come back to right now. You are sitting with me, in my office breathing and you feel comfortable correct?"
"Look at me, do you feel peace when you see me?"
"So why do you make a choice to go to the future?"
"I don't know I just do it."
"What if you just didn't do it?"
"That would be hard."
"Is it because you said so."
"Yeah I guess so."
"Is it because you automatically go there?"
"I did not think of that but yeah."
"Good, you just won half the battle."
"What's the other half?"
"Stay in the now!"
Did you know that 95% subconscious mind is on autopilot? We do almost everything by habit and unconscious habit at that. How do we break that? Recognizing it is part of the battle, the other part, simple, be present. By staying in the now, being mindful,  we are creating a healthy habit. When we bounce over to the future or roll back onto the past we start a habit. Practicing how to stay present in the now is just creating a new habit. Of course it is easier said than done. The quickest way to get you to pay attention to the now is to simply breathe and pay attention to your breath. The wonderful thing about breathing is it will always lead you home to the now.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Walk in Peace

My tag-line on my radio show is walk in peace. In fact, it is on all my business cards and my work logo. I love what peace symbolizes and the history of it. People ask me what I mean by walking in peace and more important, how I found that peace.
First of all, when I talk about walking in peace I am referring to walking in a conscious balanced state of mind. That means awake and present. To be able to feel a sense of calmness and stability in all that you do. You feel balanced with your relationship with your loved ones as well as your work, your play, your belief systems, your higher power, and most importantly with yourself.
It is important to realize that peace requires a little work on our end. The first thing to understand is that you can’t always choose what happens to you, but you can always choose how you feel about it and what you do about it. You don’t have to be defined by the things you did or didn’t do, that is just regret and I don’t know about you, but I try to live my life with no regrets. So one way to find peace is to let go of regret and just move forward with peace in your heart and soul.
Staying in the now, which is this very moment, is the most direct pathway to walking in peace. The Buddha tells us that life is available, but only in the present moment. It is in the here and the now where we can take our first steps towards peace. If we are to walk in peace we have to remember that we have an appointment with life. The time of that appointment is not in the past nor will you find it on your schedule for the future. Your appointment is now!
Walking in peace means we accept pain in our life. Pain is inevitable; pain is a part of life, and life’s pain comes in a variety of ways: death, loss, break ups, upsets, and injury. If you accept pain is part of life, you enter a painful situation with peace. You know the pain is temporary and you will get to where you need to be if you have peace in tow with you. If you stop yourself from walking in anger, fear and resentment, you will discover that you are simply walking in the present and that will direct you to peace. It takes practice and stability to walk in the peace. We need time, patience and healing to create the transformation of walking in peace. We should not be attached to the energy of what causes us harm.
What if you chose to mindfully walk in the now? Take a second and go there with me right now. Sit down, and take a deep breath. Look around you. Where are you? I am sitting at my desk in front of my computer. There is no one around. The sun just came up, the air is fresh because of a rain a few hours ago. I can hear the chickens squawking, which means they are laying eggs. There is no one in front of me nor in back of me and right now in this current second, I’m safe. People who have caused me harm in the past are not around me and because I am sitting and calm, physical pain is not bothering me. I feel peace as I focus on my breath and the stillness around me. When I am mindful and I practice this exercise, I am able to walk in such a way that peace fills my body. It takes over every cell of my entire being. Every breath I take reminds me I am safe, and I am in the here and now, and I am well and once I get this and create a habit, I’m able to walk in peace.