I don’t know why, but truth is quiet.
I have discovered quiet steps towards truth, but it was my recent bout of less-truthful and not-so-quiet, righteous indignation that prompted this post.
This righteousness had a false note to it, but like junk food, the packaging looked really appealing.
Tastes better! More Flavor!
I get to be right and everyone else is wrong!”
This feeling sells itself as Truth, but is more concerned with being right. And who doesn’t like to feel right? It will go through Wily E. Coyote, Brier Rabbit, and A Trial Lawyer’s bag of tricks to position itself in the right. And when this Indignation is successful, usually someone else is very wrong. This can be a spouse, a friend or the guy at the corner mart. It is so busy screaming how right it is, it cannot even hear what other side has to say. It is so caught up in blame, that there can be no other perspective. It is narrow, fierce and committed. Righteous Indignation is vindictive. It can’t come to the table for an honest discussion.
Furthermore, it is everywhere. It is inside me, it is probably inside you, it’s in our national forum and politics.
So how do you know if you are speaking from Truth or from the part that just wants to be right at all costs?
Truth doesn’t yell, throw a fit, or scream. It doesn’t make someone else wrong. Truth is a knowing that exists in a place that is bigger than being right or being wronged. Truth is also impersonal. It doesn’t care about me, my pride, or my desires. So when, as happened to me recently, I feel turmoil, charged emotions and a loud, insistent voice, perhaps even sanctimonious (who me? Never), I knew there is a good chance that my Righteous Indignation was posturing as Truth. My best clue as to what was happening was my initial unwillingness to step into the other person’s shoes at all. I wanted to be right. I wanted to stay on my high horse, far away from any pain I might have caused.
Why does this false counterpart to Truth rear its head? It is a cover-up. Maybe there is a bit a blame that we need to own, but don’t want to, maybe we have hurt someone and we don’t want to acknowledge it. Often there are uncomfortable feelings lying underneath our righteousness that we don’t want to see, and as long as we can place the blame elsewhere, we don’t have to look at or feel this discomfort.
This is the place where change can happen. When we are willing to look at these places of discomfort and find Truth on the other side. These are the places I had to go and where I go with my clients. Having the courage and willingness to see through the comfortable disillusions is what leads to unvarnished, raw, but still shining truths.
And without the courage to see it though, it is easy to cycle into blame or self-judgement. And what about my own recent flailing? I could crawl into a hole and flog myself, but again, the truth is, it was only in witnessing and acknowledging my own righteous failing that I could see the path back towards that quiet truth.