This is a guest blog from Tim my beloved life partner, who plays an essential part in Secret Garden both in the background between groups and supporting me and co-facilitating during them. Tim wanted to contribute on this subject that, as you will see, is close to his heart. Read more about Tim at Being Tim Your comments and questions very welcome below and will be responded to
Being Honest and Honesty traps
I’ve valued honesty and ‘saying it like it is ‘ in myself and others since adolescence. When I was in the 6th form someone came in to give a talk and was to me extremely boring. The energy was low, I remember looking around and seeing everyone surviving .. just… till the end of the lecture. The guy made the well-intentioned mistake at the end of asking how the talk was / did we have any questions and I said “actually I found it quite boring”. He was clearly disturbed by this but handled it quite well to his credit. I remember people congratulating me after the class and realizing the power of honesty to make me more popular, as well as touching something inside that felt good.
There were many more experiments with voicing my feelings as this insecure young man found a voice and identity, and through painful experience and the feedback of rejection from often horrified men and women, learnt the crucial lesson – to temper honesty with kindness and sensitivity.
In life and learning, balance is everything and I’ve certainly experienced not being honest enough (for example with a builder) and being too careful with my words out of fear of causing offence, so in general relating these days I endeavour to bring appropriate honesty without shying away from difficult places and while trying to be ‘true to myself’ by saying I disagree with something said or expressing how I feel to someone if it is appropriate to do so.
Dying for Truth, Dying for Belief
Even with the maturing and softening from age there has always been something wonderfully cleansing about speaking what I see, or feel, with little reference to social norms and niceness, the words are experienced to come from the belly (hara) and power is experienced. I can see why people are willing to die for their beliefs – they feel ‘connected’ and plugged in to something greater.
Of course we can only be honest to the truth we see about something, and I suggest that often there are undiscovered deeper truths at play, invisible to us. An example is that people have often died rather than renounce their religion, yet all religions are mythical expressions of simple and natural truths which do not need to be fought over.
Honesty in Relationship
This is the litmus test. Post ‘honeymoon’ we love but are no longer in infatuated love – and the real work of relating around ordinary everyday challenges and the things we find difficult in the other begins. In love we are drawn to our opposite, post honeymoon our opposite shows us what they like least about us and ideally invites us with kindness to grow through it.
We are also invited to release our own projections and expectations. This brings up a natural resistance to the dirty laundry – why can’t we still be the knight or damsel we once were in their eyes? Why are they not seeing things the same way as me? The great temptation is to cover over the cracks and pretend through some form of dishonesty, rather than use the struggles to bring out and wash our dirty laundry.
We might start with great intentions for honest enquiry but baulk at the pain it seems to bring, and settle instead for .. to be honest.. some sort of mediocre pact. Does this work?.. it might for a while, but the ‘for a while’ trap, the seeming delay between action and effect, just gets in the way of seeing what is happening and coming back to our vulnerable truth.
I know from men’s circles and from friends and my own life that all too often in relationships there is actually dishonesty – about what we are feeling or more basically about what we have felt or done. Who recognises the self-talk “Well he/she did not directly ask me about X so I have not actually lied…” be honest with yourself (do you dare to (that is a serious question.. do you.. even to yourself?)) , that kind of bargaining with self is dishonest.
The trouble with just 1 little porky is that it leads to another, and there can all too easily become a list of things we half remember we’ve not been straight about – and a desire to protect our ever growing hill of lies by not opening up with our genuine vulnerable honesty about anything, for fear theother lies will come out. So where this is happening, man and woman live in a pact, not being honest enough with themselves to acknowledge why the electric polarity and heart connection with their chosen partner is no longer there.
What the dishonest party does not dare to find out is that breaking down or through to the self-respect and generosity of giving your partner what they deserve (your honesty) brings untold blessings, however uncomfortable it is and whatever the consequence. I suggest that, within the appearance, for the separate self, knowing you are real is worth perhaps MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE.
Being honest to the deepest truth of what is right for us in relationship, when it conflicts with our partner, is a different angle on honesty in relationship – being honest with ourselves – chipping away at our need to please the other, growing our authority and self-acceptance rather than our love of pleasing the other. Too often one person will not appropriately follow their deepest spiritual longing out of a need for the safety of the known ‘mummy’ or ’daddy’, resulting again in stuckness.
Honesty is the scalpel of spiritual enquiry
Despite valuing honesty, I’ve often been frightened by it, and wanted to believe that being in the presence of a spiritual teacher I’d somehow get the goodies through transmission without having to open up to the dark places “…please god let me turning up be enough – I can’t bear to actually wash my dirty linen here too…”. I can say from experience that while turning up is good, and things can be learnt, the turning up to be with a spiritual teacher is the 2CV in comparison with the Formula 1 car of honesty. It is absolutely like peeling an onion – by being honest to the darkness emerging into conscious awareness the previously unseen deeper truth (or story, actually!) is revealed and released into pure life force.
Honesty is key to happy, awake relating
The backwards and forwards of honest exchange has the potential for deep alchemical healing. Learning honesty is more than learning to be honest yourself. As people grow in consciousness, freedom and heart (and in Secret Garden circles), people also learn to receive honesty – to feel the pain that might come from the honesty of someone we care about responsibly. We also learn the crucial skill and deep freedom of learning not to go into drama and blame when we don’t like what someone has said.
The end of Honesty?
With great insight at the core of the onion, ‘a profoundly honest man/woman’ is born, most likely living much more at peace with themselves than when they ‘started to practice’. So what?! Honesty cleans and makes comfortable the cage but it does not of itself free us from duality and suffering. In terms of volitional action, it takes us as ‘far’ as any vehicle can, which is pretty good! Seeing the limitation of honesty does not mean it is suddenly better to be dishonest, just that we can be honest about its limitations.
In the appearance, there is choice and there is duality or me/you and the other. For each of us, finding our way (again – not that there actually is a choice) to realness and vulnerable honesty is I suggest the greatest key to a successful life in all senses and aspects. Being around or in relationship with people who are learning or have learned not to blame you for their current feelings or old pain makes honesty much easier – we learn this most significant ‘good life’ skill through unconscious modelling and positive feedback, and most powerfully through the energetic experience of giving or receiving honesty – most obviously in Secret Garden ongoing circles.
A note for men
Hello to men who read Secret Garden newsletters and blog posts that I’ve not yet met – I want to meet you!
A very warm Hello again to all the men I’ve worked with in Secret Garden circles, whether it’s been within a single weekend or for a number of you, countless times over many groups including dedicated men’s weekends.
I acknowledge each and every one of you for the courage and humility it takes to take part in Secret Garden – where Joy is leading you and you are opening yourself to her influence and to the depths of being. It takes a real man to be able to do this.
Joy is both archetypal feminine and an embodiment of freedom from the myth of separation and the pain that keeps it in place. She facilitates with spellbinding, agenda-free clarity. For me, relating with Joy is different to relating with people I’m not in relationship with, of course! – there is an altogether different level of aliveness. Sharing my own home space with Joy is exciting, tender and sometimes scary!
For man there is a temptation to separate from intimate relationship to stay in a loneliness that feels ‘safe’ – there are many safer actions available to us men – they appear as choices with usually unhelpful consequences. Women (and the feminine in all of use) tend to see through our games and short term we can feel better in splendid isolation than the ‘mess’ – yet in his human depths man alone knows he is not living his fullness, and no amount of distraction through gadgets, games, porn, sport, intellect, music, shakes off the ‘something is missingness’.
Woman, when she is in pain and hasn’t done her own growing into vulnerable honesty, can be manipulative and controlling. One of man’s crucial offerings to woman is to show her her irresponsibility and blame and any way she is acting out unresolved pain from her past. It is tempting to collude for an easy life, but this is a disservice to your woman and also to your deepest truest self. This doesn’t work without practising how to combine vulnerability with honesty and deep listening.
Any agenda, blame and pride – man can be cruel if he isn’t living his heart – gets in the way. So if your woman isn’t receiving your attempt to communicate like this, that’s possibly great feedback!
Joy has written other posts in this blog about transparency and honesty.
Read Living Beyond Blame/ and The power and beauty of vulnerability/ and The Alchemical Power of Honesty in Awakened Relationship There are also short videos here https://secretgarden.co.uk/cheltenham-talk-3-shift-into-sensitivity-transparency/ and here https://secretgarden.co.uk/transparency-introverts-the-importance-of-transparency/
The upcoming Being ongoing group is filling fast now. http://being.secretgarden.co.uk