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The path to greater Self-Awareness is a perilous journey that requires complete sincerity from the traveler. This path is strewn with many obstacles or challenges to test the mettle of the seeker. One of the greatest of these is our lack of sincerity, our reluctance to see things as they are without distorting them.

Our tendency to lie is not intentional, nor are we even aware of it most of the time. It is something that we acquired as part of our conditioning, our psychological training. Notice, for example, how, in our desire to please other people we don’t express our true feelings or opinions. We rather attempt to determine how the other person feels and then respond “appropriately”. When we consider that each person is doing the same, each person to some degree is holding back the truth out of fear of loss of approval, we begin to see that all our interactions are based on lies, that no one is telling, or is capable of telling, the truth.

Remember the story of the emperor’s new clothes? Every person in the kingdom was afraid to express the truth for fear of losing the approval of each other and the emperor. Instead, they formed a consensus reality which began with the emperor himself. He denied the truth so as to not look bad in the eyes of the tailors. Each person he encountered thereafter agreed to lie to not embarrass the emperor, and soon the entire kingdom was believing the lie. each person was lying, adding lies to lies, and moving ever further from the  truth. It took the innocence of a child to express that truth.

Our lives are exactly the same. We fear expressing the truth out of our concern for losing the approval of others, or looking bad. We build lie upon lie, until we completely lose sight of the beginning of the chain, and our personal truth ends up having no foundation in reality.

The story of the emperor’s new clothes was about expressing feelings, opinions, and perceptions. How can we expect to be able to explore and master our inner world under these conditions. Obviously, if we continue the unconscious habit of lying, of deceiving ourselves, all our efforts in other areas of awareness development will come to nothing. Everything we think we now know about ourselves is, in some way, built on a lie. We must start from the assumption that we know nothing about ourselves, and that everything we think we know is a lie. This exercise will cause us to question everything, every premise, every underlying assumption.

Personal evolution is a stripping away process. To find the truth we must be willing to give up the lies that form the foundation of our consensus reality, the reality founded upon mutually agree upon deceptions. Gradually, organically, we remove layers of falsehood, progressing by degrees toward a more truthful perception of our own existence. We learn to let go of our need to be accepted by others and develop the courage required to express our personal truth of the moment. As we acquire more self-respect through truthful expression, we in turn, attract people who respect us for our truthfulness, other people like ourselves who are engaged in the battle with deception. The people who require lies will disappear from our reality.

Remember, the recurrent theme of inner development is penetration of the moment. Experiencing the moment at ever deeper levels requires that we experience truth at ever deeper levels. The Eternal Moment is only realizable through a direct experience of the truth. Thus, as we work to increase sincerity, we’re also working to create Presence.