In Lies We Believe
Many of the lies we tell ourselves have been there since childhood and we have listened to these lies for so long that they seem to be true.
Psychological study – (ref; De Paulo)
For most of us lying is a part of everyday life, rather than an extraordinary event.
Self-centered lies are lies told to protect or enhance the liars psychologically, or to protect or promote the liar’s interests.
Other-oriented lies are the complement of self-centered lies. They are also told for reasons of psychological protection or advantage, but the person protected or advantaged is not the liar.
People who tell many lies are in fact more manipulative and irresponsible than people who tell few lies. They also care deeply about what other people think of them, and they are more extraverted.
The lies regarded as the most serious ones were often told to conceal matters if revealed, could also endanger the liar’s reputation and livelihood.
People lie about their
(1) feelings and opinions;
(2)actions, plans, and whereabouts;
(3)knowledge, achievements, and failings;
(4) explanations for their behaviors; and
(5) facts and personal possessions.
See the story of Michael Boorda.
"Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda: “The nation's top Navy officer, Adm. Jeremy Michael Boorda, died Thursday from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound hours after learning Newsweek magazine was raising questions about the legitimacy of some of his combat medals.” ---- May 16, 1996 \ (WASHINGTON) CNN
Admiral Boorda rose from the level of enlisted Navy man to that of the Admiral and then to the level of Chief of Naval Operations. On May 1996 he committed suicide. Lies killed Admiral Boorda. The lies he told himself.
Truth is accessible to all of us and real life is available to anyone who is willing to dedicate himself to truth. Just because we’ve believed a lie for a long time, doesn’t make it true. Just because we’re in the habit of believing the lie, doesn’t make it true. Simply because the lie is second nature to us, doesn’t make it true.
Let us see what Dr.Chris Thurman says in his “The Lies we believe”.
We believe so many lies about ourselves. We believe we’re hopeless, that we can never change, that things will never change, that nothing we do matters, that we don’t deserve love or goodness or justice or dignity or a million other things. We are trapped by the lies we tell ourselves and the lies that others tell us.
“Nothing is so easy as to deceive one’s self; for what we wish we readily believe.” – Demosthenes.
Some of the personal & public lies which we believe I have listed here. But for detailed study please read his book.
1. I must be Perfect.
2. I must have everyone’s Love and Approval.
3. It is easier to avoid problems than face them.
4. I can’t be happy unless things go my way.
5. My unhappiness is somebody else’s fault.
How trust worthy are the messages we receive today, most of them are dangerous and may destroy our lies. We are being brainwashed through advertisements and through other media. It is similar to “frog and water”. If you drop a frog into hot water it will immediately jump out; on the other hand if you put the frog into water at normal temperature and slowly heat it over a period of time, the frog will remain in water and die. It will adjust to the incremental changes in temperature. We are being fed with lies like that.
1. You can have it all.
2. My worth is determined by my performance.
3. Life should be easy.
4. Life should be fair.
5. You should not have to wait for what you want.
6. People are basically good.
Researchers at The University of Western Australia — who noted several instances of misinformation, such as childhood vaccines cause autism, global warming is a hoax— say that rejecting information requires more cognitive effort than simply accepting that the message is true.
The new study, led by psychologists Drs. Stephan Lewandowsky and Ullrich Ecker, highlights the cognitive factors that make certain pieces of misinformation “stick” and identifies several strategies for “setting the record straight.” Misinformation is especially likely to stick when it conforms to our pre-existing political, religious, or social point of view, according to the researchers. Because of this, ideology and personal worldviews can be especially difficult obstacles to overcome. The report notes that efforts to retract misinformation often backfire and actually lead to the strengthening of an erroneous belief.
The Sufi Story – The Heart Donkey
There was a man in Turkey who was travelling with his favourite donkey, a faithful companion for years and an animal very close to his heart. At the end of a hard day on the road he came to an inn and decided to rest there for the night. No sooner than he had taken off the saddle bags than a youth working for the inn came out to greet him.
“Salaam Aleikum, sir, welcome to our humble shelter! Please, come inside and get some warm soup and sit beside the fire.”
“Of course, I’d love to but first I must make sure my donkey is well cared for.” The man said, patting his donkey on the back. The youth smiled generously.
“Please, sir, allow me to attend to such details, you are an honoured guest here.”
“But it’s just that he’s an old donkey and needs a nice bed of hay to lie in.”
“Sir, we guarantee you the best care possible.”
“But you will sweep the floor first to make sure there are no stones? He gets in a terrible mood if he doesn’t sleep well.”
“Please, sir, just trust me, we are professionals here.”
“But you will add some water to his straw – his teeth are getting shakey and he likes just a little fresh grass to begin with.”
“Sir, you are embarrassing me!
“And you will give him a little rubdown along the spine – he goes crazy for that!”
“Sir, please just leave everything to me.”
So finally the man gave in and entered the establishment to enjoy a fine dinner by the fire and a comfortable bed. Meanwhile the youth rolled his eyes and… then went out to play cards in a nearby den.
The man could not sleep somehow, despite the silk sheets, as he kept having nightmares of his donkey chained up without water or food, lying on the cold stone. The vision wouldn’t leave him and so he got up in his dressing gown, walked down the steps to the stable and there! His donkey was in exactly the condition he’d imagined – cold, hungry and dying of thirst.
[Rumi then sums up by saying: the world is full of those who say whatever is necessary to get their way. When it comes to looking after your heart donkey, it’s entirely up to us. We are the only real keepers of our feelings and no one knows better than us what we really need, hence the value of trusting our intuition and taking care of our hearts as though it really were an old, faithful companion.]
Zen Story - Unholy Lies.
The abbot in the monastery liked particular type of sweets. He wanted to keep the sweets for himself only. He often purchases and keeps the sweets for himself. Fearing that the young disciples will eat the sweets he hid them in the jar in his cupboard. He called all his young disciples that the particular sweets are to be eaten by adults only and not by kids, if the kids eat it will harm them and may even kill them. All the young disciples listened to the abbot sincerely and believed him. But there was one disciple named Ikkiyu who was clever and cunning. He called his friends and told them I have never heard a sweet that is harmful to the kids and good for adults so this must be a lie, let us try it out. He took out the jar when the abbot was not there and ate the sweet, it was very good. He shared the sweets with his friends. Then he planned a way to deceive the master. He broke an expensive vase kept in the abbots room. When the abbot came he told him, “Master I was cleaning your room and when mistakenly I have broken the vase while cleaning. In remorse I decided to end my life and ate the sweets which you told were poisonous for the kids. I ate one sweet and nothing happened, so I ate them all so that I will die. I am sorry about the vase.” The master could not do anything but pardon Ikkiyu.
“And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.”
“You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth.”
2. The Lies We Believe By Dr.Chris Thurman
3. Zen Wisdom Stories for Everyday Living.
5. The Many Faces of Lies - Bella M. DePaulo, PhD
8. The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks.