Friday, April 24

Truth and Transparency in Free Love




“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.”
Aldeus Huxley

At core, we all want to be loved. We want to be seen and accepted for who we really are. All humans (unless they are psychopaths) have an innate drive to be liked. We, naturally tribal pack animals. We yearn for love and belongingness. Yet each individual has a unique personality, identity or perspective that makes them different from the rest. This diversity strengthens the tribe. Deep within our individual ego is the innate sense of separation. Most of us carry around the fear that we do not belong, or that somehow we are not loveable. Our greatest fear is of being completely vulnerable because if we were to let others see who we really are, they might run away in horror. Non acceptance, rejection, ex-communication are fates worse than death. So from an early age, we are afraid to be real and thus begin the pattern of people pleasing.

We start by lying to others. Trying to be more like everyone else, we even lie to ourselves. We all want to look good and fit in so badly that we’re willing to wear costumes that don’t even fit us…especially if that’s what everyone else is wearing. We masquerade behind masks and veils and become so accustomed to pretending to be some made up persona that we forget who we really are. The paradox is that if someone falls in love with this projected illusion we feel unsatisfied, wrestles and hungry for true love.

Being real is about taking off the masks, letting go of looking good and getting naked. Being real is essential if you’re going to attempt to create and sustain any type of alternative relationship. When we don’t speak our truth, it is automatically assumed that we consent to the rules that our society has set out for us. Like Automatons, we are all unconsciously wired with deep social programming that if we don’t consciously object would have us fall in love, buy a house, have 1.5 kids, a dog and a white picket fence...And then one day we wake up and say…this is not my life. And go through a potentially painful “midlife crises.” Instead of paying the high emotional (and legal) price of breaking up the home and family, the goal is to speak our truth from the beginning so we can build our relationships on a strong foundation. If we orient our lives around our truth we’re less likely to wake up one day and have our entire worlds crumbling down around us.

Anyone in a fulfilling alternative relationship will gladly tell you that the key to their success is honesty. It’s the first immutable law of free love. Whether they call it honesty, communication, openness, transparency or just being real. True freedom in relationship can only be experience to the degree that the individuals are free to express their true feelings, needs, wants and desires. Success in free love can be attained through a fierce commitment to truth through transparency.

Transparency does not mean that you are so thin that light passes through you. Nor does it mean that you speak every single thing that comes across your mind as if you had Turrets syndrome. It means that you are committed to being in your authentic truth, even when it is uncomfortable or unpopular. Even when you don’t know exactly how you feel or what it all means, you are still willing to whatever it takes to be expressed. To not withhold. As opposed to saying what you think people want to hear. Transparency means getting in touch with true desires and being willing to communicate and act on their behalf. It’s a way of being. Like driving down the path of life with a bumper sticker that reads: truth or bust.

It’s like dear old Polonius says to his son in his dying breath: “And this above all, unto thine own self be true and it shall follow as the day the night - thou can'st not then be false to any man.” –William Shakesphere

Yet being true to ones self is not as easy as it sounds. Being real requires unraveling years of acquired habits and patterns that encourage deception. Our entire society is built on social norms that unconsciously perpetuate lying at the systemic level. Political campaigns, sensational stories on the news, skewed statistics and false advertising are all examples of how our society perpetuates lies. With the competition in the job market we are encouraged to use euphemisms on resumes, and/or withhold during job interviews. There are hundreds of books and courses on how to impress a woman or manipulate a man. Common sayings such as: “what they don’t know won’t hurt them”; “they’re just little white lies.” “Ignorance is bliss” sink into our psyche and help us justify lying. We are taught that looking good, winning or staying together is better than being real.

There are various degrees to being real. At any given point we may take a stance on the wide continuum of relative truth. Let’s take the example of a lesbian who’s coming out of the closet. Let’s say she takes a good look around and clearly doesn’t identify with the traditional role models and the social scripting. She may admit to herself that having a husband, kids and a white picket fence doesn’t do it for her. But is she able to articulate it when she is offered a diamond ring? Perhaps she musters the inner resolve to say no. But does she give herself permission to peruse what she really wants? And if she allows herself to become expressed within the lesbian community, is she able to be real with her friends, her co-workers, and parents?

When Kamala Devi came out in college, she found a tremendous amount of peer pressure by lesbians against dating men. At the time being bi was considered a betrayal to the gay community. When a queer woman dated a man she was seen to be capitalizing on “heterosexual privilege,” which means that she could pretend to be ‘normal’ when the opportunity arose. And this perpetuates the misunderstandings, glass ceilings and judgments our society has towards gay women. The peer pressure made it hard for Kamala to be real about her genuine attraction towards men. It took a degree of transparency for Kamala to come out, but she had to continue being real if she didn’t want to fall into the sub-cultural scripting of the lesbian community. Kamala followed her truth when she made the unpopular decision to move to Hawaii with a boyfriend. And when she began to explore polyamory, her grandfather pleaded her to just settle down. Why do you need to rock the boat? Ironically, Kamala’s truth led her into a house with a child and a husband who satisfies more than 75 percent of her needs. If she wanted to be more socially acceptable, she could chose to be monogamous. She would, after all be mostly happy. But what about the other 25 percent of her heart? Being real means seeking her full expression and that means that she is willing to risk social acceptance to be in an open marriage and be free to follow her truth.

Even when people manage to come clean with their lovers and co-workers, they may not want to risk losing the acceptance of their blood family. There is even a Zen teaching that if you think you’re enlightened at a retreat or intensive the real test is to go home for a Thanksgiving dinner and be enlightened around your old fashioned parents. You’ve heard the phrase: Blood pulls? Well, blood pulls us to regress back to who we were. Not who we are now. A lot of times our families think they have our best interest in mind. They say they want what’s best for us, but really they often have an agenda for how they think we should be or if we are a certain way it will affect their own self image. Many people justify lying to their family because they don’t want to be ungrateful and fly in the face of everything they were taught. Or worse, what if they give their parents a heart attack? It is after all, easier to just lie and pretend to be monogamous. What’s it going to hurt?
Well, newsflash: Lying is not only unethical, but unclean and unhealthy. Untruths create psychic dissonance, weakness in muscle strength, tax the immune system and have been correlated to disease and even cancer. When we lie, we create unconscious stress and disconnection. Our self concept becomes incongruent. We feel guilty, even if it’s at deep subconscious levels this guilt eats away at our health and vitality. Lying creates delusion, confusion and mistrust in relationship…even when you think the person you are lying to will never find out.

One of the many reasons it is so hard to be real all the time is that many of us don’t actually remember who we are. Or even what we want. We’ve grown so accustom to subtle layers of deception, for so long, that we’ve forgotten how to listen to the deep true impulse. The pre-requisite to being real is self enquiry. Know thy self first and unto that be true. Self inquiry can be a deep spiritual practice. It could involve mediation, contemplation, journaling, dream work and other advanced yogic practices. Or it could simply look like an intention to be real. The important thing in your quest to becoming more authentic is that you do it authentically. If yoga’s not your thing then don’t do it. Some people find themselves in a spontaneous instant when they decide to be real and some people spend years in pilgrimage traveling the world looking for themselves. Ultimately, it’s up to you. And regardless what path you chose, the inquiry is always the same: Who am I? In any situation, just tell the truth. This is the formula for authenticity, transparency and ultimately self realization.

Stay tunned for more exerpts from Free Love: Can you Really Afford it? By Kamala Devi and REiD Mihalko For upcomming Events in San Diego check out: http://www.partnerplayshop.com/calendar.html

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