This quotation is from a much longer article. The full article is well worth reading, as is the other material on the blog.
This item, from someone's blog, might be helpful.
"The question for this post remains:
How can I, personally, just for me, decide whether I am deluding myself (or am being led to delude myself)?
I think part of the answer lies in `unease'.
Accepting some form of unease for a prolonged period of time might well lead me to a serious form of self-delusion. (You might call this the heart-approach)
Another part lies in: `face the facts'. Making a factual list of the important issues, I might be able to pierce through the cognitive dissonance avoidance mechanism. (You might call this the mind-approach)."
Earlier the author writes how many groups (he was in Sahaj Marg/Sri Ramachandra Mission (SRCM) use a partial truth approach, especially when recruiting newcomers.
(quote)skip to main | skip to sidebar pitfalls of spirituality
a personal blog about spirituality, spiritual methods and movements.
Why do I write about pitfalls of spirituality?
My purpose with this blog is to crystallize and share my thoughts and experiences, in the hope that you and I may benefit from them. From 1993-2005 I practiced a so-called spiritual method (Sahaj Marg). Ultimately I realized that this method - and especially the organization around it (Shri Ram Chandra Mission or SRCM)- was contrary to some deep spiritual layer in myself. I came to some clear conclusions, and also to some still developing insights.
One still developing insight is that almost everybody is looking for some form of spirituality in their life. Therefore there are many spiritual methods and movements, often with similar pitfalls to the ones I experienced.
Many people follow a well-trodden path which is defined by the group in their immediate vicinity. Others are prompted by their heart and/or head to look for spirituality that makes sense on a personal level. Spirituality gives fulfillment -humanity as one, universal love growing, one with the buddha- as well as direction through life's tough questions.
I write about the pitfalls of spirituality because so many others seem to write mostly about the bliss of their own approach to spirituality. This bliss to me actually seems a pitfall.
Understanding the pitfalls I deem essential to gain more spiritual insight. For me this actually translates into a lighter and more loving heart. I do not believe that understanding is the key issue in spirituality. But I do believe that misunderstanding can block key issues (although to which degree probably varies with each person).
Please bear with my frequent use of I feel, seems to me, in my not so humble opinion and so on. It is to emphasize that I do not consider any of my opinions to be more than that. I cannot bring you universal truth. In my not so humble opinion [imnsho] universal truth is a major pitfall in spirituality.
Dear reader, I hope you find something worthwhile on these pages. Friendly reactions, which may be as critical as you like, are always welcome.
Tips how to read this blog
* Please start with the closing remarks (click on the link), they should provide a balanced perspective on this blog.
* There is a list of 20 pitfalls in the sidebar. Clicking on a pitfall will provide a number of posts in which that pitfall is discussed to some extent.
* If you have time, consider starting with the oldest post, and simply going through to each next post. This probably gives the most faithful ;-) reading...
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query "partial truth". Sort by date Show all posts Showing posts sorted by relevance for query "partial truth". Sort by date Show all posts
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Partial truth, secrets & things unsaid
OK. From my last comment on the previous post, one more pitfall strikes me as occurring commonly enough to mention separately.
In many spiritual movements (religions included), there are things unsaid and unrevealed, especially to `newcomers'. For instance, one may start out innocently in our Spiritual Movement, and slowly notice that all the top executive functions in the Pyramid and even almost all the midlevel executive functions are filled by men. So then one asks: `how come?'. And only then it turns out that in the philosophy of the Movement, the spiritual essence of `woman' is seen as different from the spiritual essence of `man', leading to the conclusion that men and women need to be separate at meditation and that the Guru can never be a woman, and all sorts of other consequences.
Truly Interested Seeker (TIS): `But you said spirituality unites? You said we are all humans, and we should not distinguish between race, age, poor, rich, man, woman,...yet here you are, drawing this thou-shalt-not-cross-line down the middle?'
Orthodox reply (OR): ` As one progresses on the Spiritual Path, insight grows. In the beginning, our Leader kindly takes the hand of the seeker, and slowly reveals the Truth according to the capacity and condition in the practicant. Do not doubt, doubt poisons the heart and weakens the will. Although man and woman are equally important, they are not spiritually equal, it is a given of Nature. As your heart sheds its old beliefs and false western preconceptions of emancipation, you will progress to the next stage.'
Of course such examples of enlightenment-in-degrees set the stage for a glorious role of Partial Truth.
Partial Truth is where one can claim: I never lied to you, I just didn't tell you everything. A nice example of this (I think):
I push your car in the canal at night. You come back the following day, and think it stolen. I say: `One never knows, perhaps someone pushed it into the canal'. Did I lie?
Partial truth is the perfect strategy to avoid confrontation, and yet still maintain a facade of truthfulness. It is an essential ingredient of manipulation. To be continued. (unquote)
(quote)I'm talking about the large majority of cases where telling partial truth -leaving important things unsaid, hidden- or even lying is simply an instrument to avoid confrontation, or for personal gains. In a large majority of cases, I think we know what the truth is, or we know so enough, but we choose to tell only a part of it.
All a part of la condition humaine, I suppose. Still, for me it is a spiritual tenet to strive for truth, honesty, transparency / openness. The fact that we're not on that level yet doesn't mean for me that it would not be better if people were more honest with each other.
I believe this tenet to be advocated by most spiritual movements. Be truthful. Don't deceive. Yet many spiritual movements practice a graded truth in their Pyramid. And many spiritual movements keep things hidden, unsaid, unknown but to the Inner Circle. Examples of things kept hidden:
Financial holdings & dealings for instance, to be sure! But also controversies, power struggles, power abuse, sexual indulgence, other not so holy-looking behaviour, well the list of cover-ups is probably endless.
Marketing strategies for new books (what and when to release, what price to ask). Proselytization strategies (where to hold gatherings, which countries to visit, what message to give to newcomers, how to ensure retention of (new) practicants).
Also, and not as infrequently as one would think!, secrets and secret rites, initiations, secret organizational groups, secret meetings.
Parts of the spiritual theory (to be revealed when a practicant is singled out as a trainer or priest-like functionary)
Less-than-shiny details of its History
Criticism of the Movement by serious well-meaning people
Suppose our generic Spiritual Movement consistently shows any or many signs of the above. In all honesty I do not see how one can rhyme this with `be truthful'. Apart from other unwanted effects, it also comes down to separating humanity once again: `Us in the know' and `Them not in the know'.
As I wrote earlier, uniting humanity to me seems a worthy spiritual endeavour although we are surely a far cry from such unification. To me, many of the pitfalls that are discussed on this blog actually hamper us in becoming united.
For me, to respect you and to feel connected, I cannot willingly deceive you. The same, but more difficult perhaps, holds for me deceiving myself as well. If I am honest to myself, only then can I be honest to you. Making mistakes, holding less-than-desirable thoughts, reacting `badly', it's all part of the game. To play the game sportingly, with respect and with others as my equals, this to me means that conscious deception of any form is out of bounds - ball to the other side...;-) so no moral pressure but you get my drift.
The owner of this blog has essays on several topics. Pour yourself a tall beverage and read.
20 Pitfalls of spirituality
1: Spiritual guidance
2: Universal truth & absolute truth
3: Bliss & happiness, pain & sorrow
4: Morality & moral pressure
5: Before & after life
6: Wonders & miracles
9: Belonging & fulfillment
10: Group dynamics
11: Us & them
12: Woman & man (gender, sexuality, homosexuality)
13: Ego & selflessness
14: Mind & heart, logic & feeling
15: Fear & temptation
16: Spiritual energy, holy energy, transformation power
17: Positive thinking & groupthink
19: Partial truth, secrets & things unsaid
20: Cognitive dissonance avoidance & boundary control