Self-deception is a constant problem as we progress along a spiritual path – Chögyam Trungpa
- Lying to ourselves is something we all do, but it impacts our spiritual progress. To make progress towards healing and connection, we have to learn to tell ourselves the truth. To do that, we need to interrogate the reason we lie. There are several reasons we lie to ourselves.
- We lie because lying was modelled to us. We lie because we see our parents, teachers, and other authority figures lie. Our bodies are programmed to model others and so we learn to lie when we see others doing it.
- We learn to lie because it is safer. Telling the truth can put us in jeopardy, from adults and others who do not want to hear the truth. Telling the truth can get us verbally, emotionally, and even physically assaulted by others who are in profound and deep denial. This is especially true when we are children and have no ability to defend ourselves or escape from toxic adults.
- We lie in order to avoid painful guilt and shame. Actions that are unaligned cause disjuncture. Actions that go against our Highest Self causes painful guilt and shame. In order to avoid the painful, we repress awareness of the true nature of our actions and lie to ourselves about our actions.
- We lie because we are “truth entitled.” We lie because we have been taught that the truth is relative, and meaningless. I have my truth and you have your truth, and we’re both entitled to our “truths.” When we become truth-entitled, we no longer think critically about our “truths” and we accept lies just because we want to, because they prop us up, or because they comfort us emotionally.
- We lie because it allows us to avoid all the hard work. Real change, real transformation, real healing, and real connection, take real individual and collective work. Much easier to lie about our accomplishments, feign completion, and pretend everything is OK in our lives and with our family, rather than do the hard work necessary to make the required changes.
- We lie because it allows us to preserve our privilege and the status quo (i.e. it preserves The System). CEOs lie about the dangers of smoking because they generate profit from cigarettes. Fast food managers lie about the dangers of fast-food because when you eat it, they profit. We lie to ourselves about how our phones are made (i.e. by exploiting labour) because it this way we can buy the guilt free.
- Jeon Hyeonjin and Lee Seung-Hwan, “From Neurons to Social Beings: Short Review of the Mirror Neuron System Research and Its Socio-Psychological and Psychiatric Implications,” Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience.1 (2018).