June 19, 2014
March 14, 2011
Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
Speak the truth to each other and render true and sound judgments in your courts.
Linda Papov is a Canadian who started something called The Virtues Project, a global initiative which is now used in over 90 countries to inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life. She scanned the major religions of the world and came up with 100 virtues that are found universally. Virtues are described as qualities of the Divine and also attributes of the human spirit. A colleague of mine, Maxine Deutschendorf of Infinite Yoga, and I have recently run two workshops to explore several of these virtues.
Saturday we led a quiet day at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, SC. We contemplated these three virtues: truthfulness, moderation, and integrity. Today I’d like to write about truthfulness. For the next two weeks I will continue with moderation and integrity.
Truthfulness is one of the foundational virtues. Without truthfulness, all of the other virtues become skewed. It is like the foundation of a house; if the footings aren’t deep enough, or if the concrete isn’t dense enough, the house will be tilted or in danger of sinking. Knowing the truth, speaking the truth, and living the truth are foundational to anything else that goes on in our lives.
This brings so many questions to mind. Do I tell myself the truth about myself? Do I share that with others? Do I let myself know the truth about others? What do I do with what I know? What is the difference between truth and opinion? Between truth and facts? Can I speak the truth, and can I speak it with kindness and compassion? Can I discern when it is necessary to speak the truth? Can I speak truth to power? What is keeping me from stepping into the truth of who I am and of living that out with radical integrity?
As we shared our reflections from the day, several people commented on how hard it is to live intentionally with truthfulness. “It takes a lot of courage,” one woman shared at the end. Ahhhh…yes….it does take courage. And we are given the gift of courage when we need it. “I could spend the rest of Lent just reflecting on how to be more truthful with myself,” another shared. Heads nodded in agreement. Truthfulness is more complicated than it seems.
I am a Christian who observes different seasons of the church year. Advent, the season of waiting and preparing to receive the gift of the Divine; Christmas, the birth of the Holy One into the world and into my heart; Epiphany, the season of the manifestation of the Light of the World; Lent, a time to observe 40 days and nights of our relationship with God and with ourselves, to understand the meaning of challenge and suffering, to remember the death of the Holy One and our own mortality; Easter, a season to celebrate that death does not have the final word and that the cycle of life and of nature is life, death, life; Pentecost, a season to observe how the Breath of Life fills and guides us and allows us to live and work in community and to be useful vessels in the world.
We are now in the season of Lent. For me, Lent is mainly about relationships and is a season that allows us to truthfully reflect upon the important relationships in our lives: our relationship with the Holy, our relationship with ourselves, with those closest to us, with our community, and with the world at large. It seems to me that the virtue of truthfulness must penetrate and infiltrate all of our reflections regarding relationship. Can you have any kind of real relationship with God, yourself, or another, without truthfulness?
Papov’s virtue card for truthfulness has the following practice on it:
I speak only the truth.
I have no need to impress or deceive others.
I use discernment to make good decisions.
I tell the truth with kindness and tact.
I investigate the truth for myself.
I know I am enough.
Perhaps we could all practice the virtue of truthfulness for the next 40 days and 40 nights. Whether or not you observe Lent, it is a transformative practice to be intentional about the truth.
If you are interested in the virtues project, the link is www.virtuesproject.com
Also, the link to Infinite Yoga is www.infiniteyogasc.com
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