I think learning to be honest--with ourselves and with others--is a life-long journey, but currently I'm getting reeeeeal schooled in it.
I learned a little factoid recently that told me someone I work with had sold me on a pretty big lie. I had believed it for a long time. Unfortunately, I didn't learn this factoid until the person left, and I probably won't be in contact with her for a few months. So, upon learning this, I sat, stunned and steaming in anger, trying to think of ways to let this person know how she'd lied to me and how pissed off I was about it.
There is really nothing I can do, though. She is gone, and even if she were here, what would my confronting her do about the situation? I fantasize that my lecture would turn her into the upright citizen I want her to be, but it's doubtful my words would do that ;-) Only she can do that.
Since I can't inform her that she's a liar and what to do about it, I've been sitting down with myself and asking the same question. What did I lie to her about? Turns out, plenty. I had (and still have, I suppose) a lot of professional respect for this person. She is good at her job, so any suggestion she had about my work or personal life, I figured I should immediately put it into practice. I put winning her approval first so I might feel like I was the professional I always wanted to be. Rarely was I honest about how I really felt. So I lied to her pretty much all the time, too.
Jeez. When I let myself go there in anger, I have plenty to get pissed off about, but really, is there anything I can do but go sweat it out? Or healing that anger by being more straight with the people I come in contact with from now on? (Are ya throwing up by now? ;-)
I don't know much of anything, really, but this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver deals with how the world around us is really our teacher. I hope you good scholars see that "untrimmable light" everywhere you go!
From "Mindfulness" by Mary Oliver
Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these - the untrimmable light of the world, the ocean's shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?
Other random factoid: speaking of nature, did you know that seals are known by environmentalists as "charismatic megafauna" due to their sweet, big eyes? I can't get over that.