10. Grace and Truth

The essential elements of our belonging are grace and truth. We can not belong if we face cruelty, or if we live in lies. Our childhood probably did not contain much grace and truth. In order to survive, we found our means of survival in an unsafe and dishonest environment - we became restless and compulsive, living with a system of defenses that saved us. We found at least one element of life, which was our own and in which we found relief. In our secret world there was no cruelty, but we came across pretending, isolation and lies. We could not belong, and we have become prisoners of our own isolation. Our addictions are the product of our dysfunctional homes, and they doomed us in isolation and self-contempt, since we keep recreating the environment in which we lived. The world still is a painful and cruel place for us, and we can not quit unless we find our peace and belonging. We find them in grace and truth. The following table illustrates the conditions in which we may have lived, and the resulting effects of different combinations of untruth/truth and harshness/grace.

 

Untruth

Truth

Harshness

Isolation in sadism

Isolation in cruelty

Grace

Isolation in sentimentality

Belonging

We are addicts, and probably we have lived in the worst combination - in untruth and harshness. Yet, all other combinations except grace and truth lead us into isolation, and they can be equally harmful. Truth without grace is cruel, and grace without truth leads to sentimental pretending and to living a fallacious life. Without grace we do not dare to see the truth, and without truth we can not belong. Every lie, every pretending, however small, leads us towards isolation and we will be afraid that others discover the truth. Without truth we can not belong, and without grace, or acceptance, we do not dare to see the truth.

Grace comes first, and truth follows it. We do not live our life only in the intellectual realm. We know that we can not merely choose a new way of life, and our Higher Power knows it much better than we do. We pretend not because we want to, but because we have no other option. We carry much pain, shame, many wounds, and many fears. It would be unsafe to lay aside all of our denial at once, since we don't know how to face the pain within. Our Higher Power loves us with grace. He accepts us exactly as we are, without shaming and without punishment. He has given our life and our circumstances to us. We are exactly where we should be, and our history has shaped us into what we are. We have learned to know hatred, and we have learned to know what lack of love means. We are people who have much to say to the world. Actually, because of our former life we understand the meaning of grace and love in ways most people do not. We will learn to love ourselves and our brothers and sisters in a new way that leads to belonging - in grace and truth.

We have lost our spontaneity, and we have raised tall walls to protect ourselves. In the inside we learned to live in a rigid system, although many of us have become flexible people-pleasers. This flexibility is not true learning, but it is based on the idea that in order to survive, we can not be ourselves. We have lost our curiosity towards the world, and we have lost much of our ability to learn. It is not that we are not willing to learn - many of us are extremely intelligent. We may have learned to substitute our feelings with reason, and many of us have finished our studies with extraordinary grades. Yet, our internal world is rigid, and there is not much creativity or spontaneity in it. When we let go of the rigid rules behind our survival, our whole personality will become spontaneous, curious, and open to learning - not only on the intellectual level. We begin to experience ourselves as complete persons, and we will be open for change. Learning is not only collecting new intellectual information, but also adapting ourselves to reality, in grace and truth. When the reality can reach the innermost places in us without defenses, we will be open to learning in a completely new way.

The truth is that we pretend, and that we wear masks. Grace calls us to accept the truth, and not to avoid it. The truth is also that we have very good reasons to lie and to pretend. We are afraid, and we carry terrible wounds. There is no way we could stop pretending - or actually protecting - ourselves at once. The truth is that we need healing, and grace lets us rest in the truth. Grace allows us to accept our addictions and compulsions, and to live knowing we need them until we arrive at healthy ways of releasing our pain. We already know that we can not quit at once using our willpower. Grace and truth do not require us to try to change ourselves at once when we see something 'bad' in ourselves. Grace leads us to acceptance, and to the realization that our Higher Power loves us right now, right as we are. In him we can rest. He rejoices of us. He is happy to hear our voice, and he has no hidden agendas. He loves us, and he wants to heal us. He wants to lead us to belonging, and the way to belonging leads to rest.

All elements of healing love (chapter 4) stem from grace and truth. Without grace there would be no acceptance or forgiveness. Without truth there would be no encouragement or durable dreams. Without truth there would be no forgiveness either, since there would be nothing to forgive, or wrong issues would be forgiven. Only issues that contain elements of wrongdoing need to be forgiven, and wrongdoings would not exist without truth - or they would be defined whimsically. The whimsical definition of truth - actually truths - is often present in dysfunctional and/or selfish relationships - and without grace. Safe people are those who demonstrate grace and truth. Without grace there would be no rest, and without truth there would be no hope.

Grace is not a substitute of truth, and truth is not a substitute of grace. Truth is graceful, and grace is a facet of truth. Truth is loving, and love is truthful. We may have learned and experienced that moments of truth are frightful, but it is because we have been treated with hatred - with or without truth. People who should have loved us gave us hatred instead, and they defined the truth according to their purposes or according to their wounds. When we were small and powerless, they were the truth for us. For us, truth was terrible, and often unpredictable. Our reality was painful, and in order to avoid additional pain we learned to pretend, in order to isolate ourselves from the 'truth'. When we heal, we will find another kind of truth. We will find a world full of wounded souls needing grace and truth. We will see ourselves as victims of missing grace and truth. We will see that everything that happened to us was necessary for us to find grace and truth - on our own. They were not demonstrated to us, but eventually Life led us to them. In the end, grace and truth were stronger than our history and our circumstances. Eventually we will find our belonging in grace and truth:

We will understand that we know only a very small aspect of truth. We understand that our opinions are our opinions, and other people may have different opinions. Other people are free to keep their opinions, we are free to keep ours, and we do not have to force them or ourselves in the same reasoning. We will be willing to learn, but we do not feel our existence threatened because of differences. We live our own life, and we let others live theirs. We will begin to enjoy the richness of the world even in simple things. When we own our belonging, we will notice that life is rich. Belonging does not mean that we know ourselves, other people, or the world fully. Rather, we own our place in an interesting world that we are only now beginning to let flow freely. Belonging means that we are in harmony with the world, and we are learning to know the harmony, and our rest in it. I have experienced a new kind of listening and looking around. I have become curious and adaptable, and I dare to experiment increasingly like a child. It takes much less energy to accommodate myself to new circumstances than to try to isolate myself behind fixed beliefs about 'reality'.

Ourselves

Only now I have understood how tall walls I had built around me. I lived in a rigid system, and I protected myself in such a way that I was not open to learning. I knew many things, but only on the intellectual level. I knew I was an addict, but I did not let myself know it. Many times I tried to change myself, but I did not know myself. I did not know that I had good reasons to be an addict, and I was not able to merely learn to behave like a non-addict. When my healing started, I became open to learn to know myself. I became open to learn to know the reality, and not merely what I thought it should be. I became open to learn what is, and not what I should become to. Unless we can face what is in grace and truth, we can not transform it into what we would like it to be. When grace is present, we have freedom to learn to know what is, and we allow ourselves to learn to know it well. We accept what we see in ourselves, and we become open to let our internal world surface. Our value does not decrease when we see our wounds. When we realize how badly we have been wounded, and how we have wounded ourselves, we learn much of human personality. We will learn in a deep way that everyone is worth of much grace, and how severely harshness and untruth affect people.

Our self-respect lives and grows in grace and truth. We accept ourselves and our compulsive minds as good. We know that they were necessary for us to survive, and we know that we can not break free unless our wounds heal and we learn to release our pain in healthy ways. This is grace. We also know that addiction harms us and increases our isolation. We know that we pretend, not because we want to, but because of our wounds. We can not stop pretending unless we become healed. This is graceful truth. Our love towards ourselves grows through grace and acceptance, and we understand in a deep way that we are good wherever we are. Our self-respect grows when we strive towards truth, and when we begin to own our responsibility to love ourselves in healthy ways. Our grace towards ourselves grows when we fail to do so, and then we forgive ourselves without blaming or shaming. Our self-respect grows when we realize we can forgive ourselves and be at rest. If we forget grace or truth, our journey will stop. When they are with us on the journey, we dare to be ourselves, and we keep moving in rest. Our journey will become rest, and our rest will become our journey. We will also understand that our grace is always imperfect, and so is our concept of truth. We become willing to learn to know ourselves, and the universe in which we live.

An essential element of grace is liberating joy. We are free to feel joy and enjoy life as much as we can - even with our wounds. We are free to own our joy wherever we find it, and we can be glad for every issue that makes us glad. Joy is a marvelous form of self-realization, and a powerful ingredient of self-respect. We can forget our wounds for a while, and enjoy life as we can. The central message of grace is that we are not bound by our wrongdoings or by wrongdoings of others. We are not bound by our history. We learn to say 'I am' and ‘you are’, and in saying so we own our existence as distinct individuals whose worth does not depend on being accepted or rejected. Rejection may hurt us much, and it may take time before we process our loss, but it does not define our value or our attitude towards ourselves. When we are rejected, it is a decision of other people and not ours. We may or may not have contributed to it. In the end, rejection strengthens our dreams or shows that they were not sound. We learn to know ourselves and our dreams through the events of life, but they do not define us. They can set us on a new course, which is a manifestation of learning. Our existence is a value of its own, and it is our true value. Truth is that we need many things, but they do not define our value. What we do or don't do, does not define our value. What we do or don't do, reflects our value and our personality. As we heal, our personality will expose our value, and we will own our belonging in rest. We will become persons of grace and truth. We become also doers of grace and truth, but only when we know them by ourselves. Doing the works of grace and truth will then be an extension of our being, and it emerges naturally and at rest.

Grace and truth involve honesty. We can not belong if we have something to hide, even if nobody knows it. When we eventually begin to experience the bliss of belonging, we want to stay in it. We enter a new state of existence, and we will experience the separating power of even tiny white lies. It is then when we begin to strive for absolute honesty, and we will realize how much joy choosing honesty and belonging brings about. When we have no shadow issues, we can own our belonging in all aspects of life. This does not mean that we have no shadows, but that we have no need to hide them, and then they are not shadows, because we bring them to the light. They do not prevent us from belonging, but they are a part of our belonging. Nobody is perfect, and we learn to allow ourselves and other people to fail. We will reflect grace wherever we are. We will own the curiosity and openness of our inner child. If we don't want to be honest, or if we fail to be honest, we accept it with grace, and we learn that we have wounds that give rise to desire to hide and to separate. Honesty can not be forced, and it is not merely an act of will. It is an act of will, but it is an act of a free will that is not driven by fear, shame or wounds. It is an act of will that is free to choose love. This requires healing, and we are honest when we admit it. Honesty does not require complete healing, but it requires healing to such an extent that we are not afraid of our shadows. Then we can deal with ourselves in grace and truth, and with patience. Then we will not only understand, but also experience, that the whole universe in on our side, and there is nothing between us and our place. We will belong, and then we only want to experience more belonging. In the end, we can belong fully only when we know we don't have to hide anything, and then our belonging is delightful rest.

Every decision to do something is also a definition of our existence. Our choices stem from what we are, and every choice defines what we are. Whenever we decide to do something in secret, something we have to hide from someone, we define ourselves as persons who do not belong. In this case we can regain our belonging through grace and truth. In the long run we can not do what we are not. We can live against our feelings for some time, but in the end it exhausts us. If we try to stop our addiction without healing, we will remain addicts, and our addiction will find another expression. We can own our belonging when we belong openly, and when we own it through grace and truth. Then we can rest, and we can own our place as healing beings. Then we love ourselves as we are, we allow others to love us as we are, and we allow ourselves to become healed.

In my healing there was a time when temptations towards selfish behavior changed remarkably. I began to feel moments of escape as loss of my belonging and self-respect. At the moment temptations may rise, and they rise almost every day. However, very soon I realize that I do not want to do anything that would lessen my belonging. I feel great joy when I can choose to belong, and to live an open life. I do not want to do anything that I should hide. If, and when, I fail to do so, I can restore my place through grace. Then I know I can face every situation without defenses, and I am open to learn to love.

Other People

There are no white lies. Every lie, however insignificant, robs us of our belonging. The same concerns pretending. We can not belong if we isolate ourselves. However, we can not stop pretending or protecting ourselves at once, since we may feel ourselves too vulnerable. Then we can own our belonging as wounded souls on their way to healing, and belong in the universe and to other people as such. Grace allows us to own our belonging even when we are too wounded to be open and honest. We are as open and honest as we can be when we accept our deceitfulness. Then we can experience forgiveness and belonging as ourselves. We can rest, and be happy of our existence. Our Higher Power delights of us when we acknowledge the truth, and then we can learn. He loves us wherever we are, and he wants to heal us in such a way that we can own our belonging fully. But we can not own our belonging if we pretend. We heal slowly, and we can not force ourselves to unsafe honesty. Our God will show us the way. His purpose is not to make us behave honestly, but make us open people - concerning also our feelings, memories and thoughts. He is not a moralist, but a gracious healer. He does not want to make us moralists, but lovers. Lying and pretending are not acts of love. Grace is, and truth is, but not without each other.

Honesty does not mean that we should say everything. It means that what we say is true. When grace and truth are evident in our behavior, we deal with people with healing love. As Melody Beattie writes: "It feels safe to be around direct, honest people. Be one." The more we are healed, the more we belong and rest, and we learn to trust our intuition on what is good to say, and how to say it. The more we understand that other people are our brothers and sisters in spirit, the more we will respect them. Lying and pretending are not acts of respect, but acts of contempt. Lying involves a belief that they deserve something less than the truth. When we pretend, we assume that other people do not need belonging. We reject them, and we do not believe in their growth, or in the growth of our relationship with them.

We need the grace of other people, and we need to hear truthful words. Our life becomes a mere survival if we do not find them. We need someone we can trust, and someone to open our soul to. At times it may be difficult to let other people give us grace and truth. We may not trust them, and at times they fail, just like we do. We may not believe that their acts of grace are sincere, and at times we do not want to see the truth. Sometimes their acts may contain hidden agendas, and at times they may lie - in a specific moment. If they do not want to belong, we can not force them to belong. We may have to detach - in grace and truth, if possible. We understand that we belong in the world of wounded souls, including ourselves. We belong in a fallen world, where everyone needs healing, and we need healing. Yet, the very same people often deal with us in grace and truth. We will not put labels on people, since everyone is our sister or brother in spirit. They change, and we change. They may love, and they may hate. Everyone is worth of healing love, including us. We learn to receive acts of grace without feeling a need to compensate, and we can rest in the love they give us. People have their reasons to do whatever they do. Everyone is looking for the fulfillment of his life, and is searching for it in the best way he knows. It is what we do, too.

When we own our belonging to other people in grace and truth, we will be open to learning. For us, reality was too painful to let it flow freely. We may have defended ourselves by trying to control other people, assuming that we knew what was right for them and for us. How we understood the reality was the only correct way, and other people had better to accept it. Alternatively, we may have tried to please other people, picking up their expectations on how they wished us to behave. This, too, prevents learning to know the reality, since we are preoccupied by our imagination and guessing of other people's motives, feelings and goals. When we can let go of controlling the reality, trying to adjust ourselves to 'false' expectations, and defending ourselves, we become willing to learn to know the reality and other people. We begin to be watchful to learn to know ourselves, other people, and the world in which we live. Our ego becomes flexible, and we will listen to our senses in a new way. When we do not need rigid systems to survive, we do not feel ourselves threatened when the reality collides with our perceptions. We can recognize the disagreement, and we can face change. In fact, reality becomes an adventure, and we learn to walk silently in it, respecting and admiring everything we see. We will find a rich world of people around us, and we realize that we did not know those around us. We feel an opening of our senses, and we understand how rich world we live in. We grasp that we really don't know the people around us, and that they are much more beautiful than we ever thought.

Our Higher Power

If I had to describe my relationship with my Higher Power with one word, it would be rest. My relationship with God has changed significantly. The central elements now are silence, surrender and humility. Before healing my relationship was anxious, and I expected him to take care of my life according to my plans. I was so restless that I was not able to stop and be quiet in front of him. It was a kind of codependent clinging. I tried to meditate and to pray, but I was too nervous. My head hummed most of the time, and try as I might, I was not able to be in peace. Now I am at rest, and many times my prayers are mere moments of silence with him. I have come to trust his good will so much that I know I don't even have to ask him to give me something. He knows much better than I what I need, and when I need it.

When my healing began, I was full of despair. I asked him to fix the errors I had made, to heal the people I had wounded, and to give me hope and desire to live. I was nervous, and I was not able to pause. At times I raged at him for allowing me to live a stupid life, and to make all kinds of stupid things. At times I was so desperate that I could only pray: "Do something! Get me out of here! Send me to another town or to another country!" He did not send me away, and I am happy for it. I did not escape my life, but I faced it. He showed me the truth about myself, and it hurt much. Yet, it was an act of grace. Earlier I used to teach God about what I need, but now I have become more willing to learn. Sometimes I still say to him "Can't you fix this! Can't you see that I need this!" He does not need our 'grace'. What he delights in, is openness and surrender. When we feel rage towards him, we can vent it all out, and he accepts it. He never blames us about what we say to him, but he may blame us about what we try to hide. Yet, he knows and understands that sometimes we want to cling to our selfish desires for whatever reasons - fear, shame, anger, or pure selfishness. With him we can find absolute openness, in grace and truth.

I know I have much to learn, and many matters in which to grow. Some of them I know, but my Higher Power knows them all. At times when I begin to pray, I merely say "Here I am", and then rest quietly in his presence. I rest in the presence of Grace and Truth. I have become like a little child who rests in the lap of his dad. He is a wise dad who tells stories of life, and in his wisdom I learn to know many new things. During the quiet times in front of him, we will own our place, and we will find true learning and willingness to learn. We will find a world that is rich, and a life that is an adventure.

When we own our place in grace and truth, we can lower our defenses. A new awareness arises, and a part of it is learning: "What can I learn of myself, of you, and of the world". When pain or secrets do not preoccupy our mind, our internal messages become rich, and we will find great joy in them. Our mind is with us in the present moment, and nowhere else. We will vividly experience the reality, and we let its richness flow into our consciousness. Then we understand in a deep way that our secrets are meaningless. We lower all defenses, and own our place as ourselves, and in rest. The world then becomes vibrant, and we experience growing of the grass, movement of the clouds in the sky, shaking of the leaves of the trees, everything. We realize that we did not know them before, but now we know them as we were one of them. We find joy in its fullest, and there is nothing comparable to this pleasure.

When we walk along a path, we do not only understand, but also experience, that it is Life who walks there in the disguise of our body, and we feel ourselves as a part of everything around us. When we hear the sounds of sand under our feet, we realize that it is Life who originates the sound. We feel that our every cell is full of life, and deeply connected to every living cell around us. We want to love everything around us, and to take good care of it. This existence is a bliss. When we are in the middle of people, we feel the richness of Life around us. At the same time we are aware of their pains, fears and sorrows. In compassion we deeply empathize with their separation, and simultaneously we understand that the only thing we can do is to love an individual. Our eyes are open to the tremendous amount of pain confronting them, and from this compassion springs a fresh desire to love. Yet we know there is not much we can do, except to be kind to everyone we happen to meet. We notice that people are afraid also of us, and it sets us in humility. We will find ourselves respecting everything and everyone around us. We will comprehend that everything and everyone deserves to be nursed in grace and truth. For us, this is a start of a new life, a life full of wonders and joy.

With Love,
Healing Eagle

Out of Pain

[an error occurred while processing this directive]