Being honest with ourselves becomes especially difficult when we subscribe to a personal philosophy that is shrouded in pretty and inspirational phrases, poetic images, empty gestures and banal ritual. These things do nothing to justify our sometimes unworthy actions or our dishonesty with ourselves and others. Nor does it even begin to address the very real issues that those patterns of behaviour signify. It may ring beautifully in tones that are sonorous and inspirational. We may comfort ourselves – and convince others – that our motives are good because the many real and worthy objectives that these pithy phrases reference are certainly true and eternal. But if we appropriate and use them for our own manipulative and selfish ends to avoid facing the worst in ourselves then our intentions are dishonest.
This is the most regrettable act of all; to not admit honestly what our actions say about ourselves, and what those actions mean about us and the challenges we face. A bust of the Buddha may be divine but you should go and look in the mirror. There you will see the actor, and the dark shadows in the corners of the room which is a barren stage behind him. We are acting a role, trying to convince ourselves that we are right, that we are righteous, and that we really do know what we are doing. We want to believe in ourselves always, and we want to believe that the Emperor is wearing fine clothes, but he is not. It is only the brave and honest child that says so.