“Post Truth” – Why We Can Do Better

So, 2016 was the year when “post truth politics” emerged. I find this term make me highly uncomfortable. It is, in itself, deceitful. Why not just say “lies”? The fact that we are living in a society that has come to adopt such a phrase seems to me disturbing and a sign of obvious decay. By adopting “post truth” as a useable and acceptable phrase we have let ourselves tolerate deceit to a new level.

On the other hand, there seems to be a greater amount of truth about historical sexual abuse. It just keeps on emerging as yet more areas of our society yield the truth that sexual abuse has taken place and more and more individuals have the courage to step forward and tell their story. I find this extremely encouraging.

Telling the truth around abuse can be extremely challenging. My own experience is that it was buried for years and I had absolutely no inkling that it had taken place. Even now, I have no conscious memory of it. What brought it to light was repeatedly applying breathwork sessions to improve my life and noticing what was brought to the surface by way of my body’s response. What we can’t see with the mind directly our bodies will show us as the events are cleared from our subconscious and transformed into something useful. It takes a lot of energy to keep these experiences held out of sight. When we allow the truth to emerge, there is a lot more energy available for creating what we want in our lives.

My own relationship to truth was not always so clear. There was a time in my life when I chose to lie and that played a big part in creating a lot of internal conflict. I wasn’t even clear at the time if it was better to tell the truth or not. Was it safe to tell the truth? Growing up in a family where you got punished for telling the truth I believed it was safer to lie. This seems to be a strong motif for many people. To tell the truth is dangerous. Breaking through this can take continuous effort and a lot of faith.

I started telling the truth in 2009. It always works. It is still scary. It has cost me relationships and it has gained me relationships. It has definitely been challenging. I have a much better life.

I was given direction on truth during a breathwork session. It came in the form of a key. I received the insight that the key was truth and I could use this. No matter what else was happening in my life I had the key and I would use it. It was a great gift.

Telling the truth means dealing with reality. There is absolutely no possibility of transforming a situation unless we tell the truth about it. That might mean saying to someone “I am not willing to tell the truth about that just now”. Being clear about how things actually are, not how we would like them to be. It might mean telling the truth about how you feel, or about what you want. Being able to say Yes, No or “I am not clear”. These are words that can be challenging to use if we are out of practice with our relationship to truth.

One of the benefits of breathwork is that we can use the traumas of our past to fuel our spiritual development. What do I mean by this? Well, I put forward the premise that without the trauma to instigate the search for healing and wholeness we might never discover our greatest gifts. It seems to me that our greatest gifts lie within that which we have buried and have to discover, insight by insight as we bring to light parts of ourselves that have been buried deep within the psyche. The search for the truth can take as many places.

When I started my first breathwork training course I remember asking in a session for “the truth”. I imagined that in the session I would see the truth about sexual abuse in my past, or that in my life the truth would present itself and I would know what had happened. What actually happened however, is that I now had to tell the truth. More and more, it seemed the requirement for truth in my life was greater and the ability to be less than truthful very much lessened. It’s like a wonderful divine joke. I ask the universe for more truth and lo and behold, I have to be more truthful. It still makes me smile. This is the possibility for us who have experienced sexual abuse – to bring truth forward and to be utterly uncompromising with it. See it as an opportunity to heal the cultural wounds so many people have experienced.

In a world of “post truth” politics, you can be radical. All you need to do is tell the truth.

John Paul Mason

Breathing Journeys

January 2017

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