A while back, I did a piece called The Four Pillars of Sacred Sovereignty. I had been teaching frameworks & practices for sovereignty for over a decade, and, as I began to see sovereignty as a concept hit the mainstream, I wanted to clarify & expand on a lot of the oversimplification I was seeing in the larger cultural conversations.  What I didn’t realize until a couple of years after I originally laid out the framework for The Four Pillars of Sacred Sovereignty, was that I had overlooked the fifth, and possibly most essential, pillar – Honesty (With Self). Honesty – first & foremost with oneself, is so fundamental to all of my teachings & so essential to the core of how I live my life, that I had overlooked it! It is often true that we can overlook what is most essential, because it is literally the water we are swimming in.

But before I dive in, head over and read the first four pillars here:  The Four Pillars of Sacred Sovereignty.

The fifth pillar of Sacred Sovereignty: Honesty. 

All the other pillars of Sacred Sovereignty depend on honesty, and frankly, it’s so integrated into everything I do, teach and believe that I didn’t even realize it needed to be a pillar. Today, I’m going to talk specifically about honesty with self, because that’s where I believe all honesty begins. One of the fundamental parts of my teaching is always to be honest with ourselves. Whether we choose to share what we find with other people or take action on it is secondary. Of primary importance is simply telling ourselves the truth. 

Honesty is describing what is already so. 

It’s so important and foundational to be honest with ourselves because when we’re not, it’s like we’re in the Grand Canyon, pretending we’re in the mountains of Idaho. How we relate to our environment, the choices we make, the tools we need, the help we ask for—everything is ill informed if we are not deeply honest with ourselves. The problem is, many of us haven’t developed the capacity to be honest with ourselves about what we feel, where we’re at, what we want, think, desire etc, because we assume that by living inside of our lives, that means we already are being honest. This is not true & leads to all kinds of problems.

We often think we’re being honest when we aren’t. 

Part of the reason that we don’t put attention on building the capacity to be honest with ourselves is that we tend to think we are. Most people think they see things clearly, and yet, very few of us actually do. We all feel inklings in our lives. Maybe there’s a habit dynamic in our relationship that we think we should be over, or we’re afraid it means something, or we have an intuition about some place we want our life to be headed, and we are afraid that if we really looked at it directly, we’d have to do something about it, and maybe that would change everything. So we lie to ourselves.  We leave the inkling as an inkling, and tell ourselves everything is fine. When we really stop to look around, there’s usually a multitude of truths we aren’t telling ourselves. 

Nothing can be addressed until it’s really looked at.

As James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

We all have inklings, and are afraid of what might happen if we looked at those inklings directly. Even if we’re always aware of our inklings, at the same time what we’re often doing is pushing them away or denying them; seeing them out of the corner of our eye, rather than directly. Or, we might look at it directly, but we do so with our hands covering our eyes, peeking through our fingers & squinting our eyes. Anything we are unwilling to tell the truth about to ourselves, is actually in the driver’s seat of our lives. Whatever we are not looking directly at, has a huge amount of power over us.

Honesty doesn’t include blame, shame, or judgement. 

We often fear taking honest stock of ourselves, our lives, and what we want, because when we do, we feel self-blame, shame or judge ourselves for what we see. But these are all secondary to honesty; rather than simply looking at what is so, we add an idea that it should be different. Honesty is simply & literally describing what is already so. Because we’re so afraid to feel these things, we end up putting off looking directly at our lives until some future time when we think we will have more capacity to look at it directly. While it’s definitely important to get the support you need, for the most part, what I’ve discovered is that it is the avoidance that causes us the most pain & suffering, and humans are almost always capable of being with what is honestly already so. 

There is a great quote by Eugene T. Gendlin “What is true is already so. Owning up to it doesn’t make it worse. Not being open about it doesn’t make it go away. And because it’s true, it is what is there to be interacted with. Anything untrue isn’t there to be lived. People can stand what is true, for they are already enduring it.”  I have found this to be deeply true.

The fifth pillar of honesty is foundational to the other four pillars.

All the other pillars of Sacred Sovereignty require honesty. We have to tell the truth about our external circumstances, our internal circumstances, and the choices we are already making in order to take the seat of sovereignty in our own lives. There will always be some hidden, unacknowledged thing in the shadows but when we become aware of it and look at it head on, we become so much more empowered in our lives.

Want more? Watch the full video here:

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