How Honesty Relates To A Free Heart, Identification, Faith, and Boundaries
A Free Heart
The Buddha's advice to cultivate non-harmful conduct (honesty being one aspect of conduct) was not borne out of a moralistic stance. It was borne out of the wisdom that harmful acts create dis-ease in the heart. And a heart in dis-ease cannot settle into awareness. It is jumpy and erratic and unsure.
The instinct to be dishonest is understandable. There are consequences to being honest. It might make someone mad at us. It might reveal that we need to take responsibility for something we don't want to take responsibility for. It might reveal something in us that we perceive as a weakness and we're afraid to expose that. Most of the time, when we are afraid or reluctant to be honest, we can find a thread that is related to attachment and identification with a defendable self. We project that lying will protect some imagined self image. It's hard for the defended self to believe that being honest can be freeing. It's hard for the defended self to believe that the risk is worth it and that a released heart can come out on the other side.
This is where faith comes in. Not blind faith. Not the kind of faith that makes us take a stance without investigation. But faith borne of evidence and experience. When we bring awareness to before, during and after our words, we slowly become familiar with the felt-sense of the results. How does it feel in planning to lie, while lying, and after a lie? The feeling alone, accompanied by presence-awareness and a gentle heart, will start to inform the system of the actual effects of our speech, rather than any imagined ideas or protections. Based on this experience, sometimes confidence will naturally be there as new circumstances and opportunities present themselves. Other times, when we are not sure and we are wrestling with whether or not to be honest, we can risk honesty (based on some faith) and follow the sequence of outcomes. (Again, this does not mean to go about spouting every thought in your head, or calling people out bluntly on their actions. It is about asking what can and needs to be said. Finding skill in this is a practice in itself.)
Honesty is directly related to boundaries. We might find something honest to say that establishes boundaries with someone or a situation. We might be honest with ourselves about our own internal process, which leads to an awareness that we need to take responsibility for something. This action of taking responsibility automatically reveals where we have placed expectation or blame on someone or something else. Honesty is straight seeing. It is independent of an identified self. That has an energetic strength to it. That is an energetic boundary.