Truth is an Inside Job

The other day I mentioned that meditation is a fantastic way of detaching from the opinions (often called truths) of those around us: family, church, work, media, health care, and peers.

At a family reunion on the weekend, I saw my oldest brother for the first time in years. He escaped the “opinions” of his parents by moving across the country thirty years ago. We laugh at that, but it’s true.

In the church I grew up in, we were born sinners.

In my sister’s workplace, you’re not really working unless you answer email until 11pm. You’re not really working unless you’re overworking.

The media tells me that loving self-esteem at my age means injecting my forehead, whitening my teeth and hoovering the fat from my thighs and rear end.

Easy enough to laugh at these provided you aren’t buying any of the above.

But many, many people are.

And lots of us buy milder versions: we colour our hair, we donate to causes we don’t believe in because we’re afraid the cashier will think we’re shmucks, we pour attention into ridiculous things – grammar, hyper-antibiotic cleanliness, the car, the labels on my clothes, what our spouses say and do in public, the front lawn, our toenails, the kids’ extra-curricular activities, the dog’s food. And on and on and on.

Why? Well, it’s possible these are expressions of who I truly am. It’s possible.

More often, I suspect they’re camouflage designed to make sure the world finds me desirable.

Only I know the difference. (The hair colour is camouflage for the most part.)

So what does meditating do? It gives me quality time with myself. It helps me peel away the layers of not me.

It brings me closer to the certainty of my truth in my gut, rather than my spouse’s truth, Oprah’s truth, my doctor’s truth, the newspaper’s truth, science’s truth, etc.

It may be the only time during my day when my truth is the focus.

In order to be sane, stable, and deeply happy, we have to detach from outside opinions/truths/perspectives and find our own.

Have you done that? Are there layers and layers to discover? Is it easy or difficult? Are there consequences when you find your own truth? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for the conversation,

kristin

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4 Responses to Truth is an Inside Job

  1. Karen says:

    I’ve been studying “Interior Castle,” by Teresa of Avila and “Entering the Castle,” by Carolina Myss and I have to say “YES!” Layers and layers! I don’t think any of us will ever be done exploring ourselves and our souls and our relationship to God in our lifetime. It definitely keeps me coming back to my cushion.

  2. Margarita says:

    I do absolutely love to meditate. Sometimes it can be like plunging into a pool of the most serene water. Sometimes it can feel a little like standing in the middle of a traffic circle in Calcutta–that is, not so serene. I do find that it smooths out the wrinkles, though, of my every day life. I’m less quick to anger, and when I do, I see right away that the anger is just one of many reactions that I could have chosen. Which one is the expression of the real me? Habits. Habits and stories, that’s what we are–until we start to look a little closer. I’m thankful to my meditation for showing me that.

  3. Claire says:

    Wise words as usual. Discovered your writings through yoga journal and have been quoting your words on FB! I love what you say in this post!

  4. Elly says:

    Hair color, botox, toenails, dog food, front lawn, labels in clothes, car (hyper-antibiotic cleanliness, not!)??? These occupy way too much of my brain-space. Kristin, how is it you can read my mind? Is it an age-cohort thing?

    I blame my workplace (“I’m required to look good”) and I blame my previous choices. Last night I complained to my sister about my finances. “Well you know what to do about THAT”, she said. I waited, expecting “Re-visit your budget and stick to it” – but instead she blurted cheerfully “Eat a lot of chocolate and be very, very upset!’

    This is the same sister who, when I wring my hands and tell her what a BAAAD person I am, tells me “Of course you are! That’s the way your brain is wired to think.”

    Sisters are brutal, but sometimes very wise.

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