Honesty is the most important too in writing a Rule of Life. It seems obvious and yet in a book about wiring a Rule of Life I need to say a word about honesty. I am not dishonest. I would even go so far as to say I am honest. On the Enneagram I am a Loyalist – a six- which means I am honest and loyal to the end. But honesty is essential and if I see dishonesty I will act, fast, powerfully, ably.
Ponticus Pilate actually held and spoke the best question in our scriptures “What is Truth?“Now, I admit, his question may not have been capitalized – I did that as poetic license. But I think that is what was going on and still is. What is Truth. Sometimes even, what is TRUTH?
There are two cancers of the spiritual life: nostalgia and fantasy. Nostalgia is the lies of the past. Fantasy is the lies of the present and the future. These cancers can be found in people, in marriages, in families and in churches and they will kill. But before they kill they will, like most cancers, eat away at flesh and drag down health end energy.
If one were not careful, a Rule of life can become, for anyone, an exercise in self-directed manipulation. If one is not careful when wiring one’s Rule of Life, the document can be a program, a massive PR scam by you to you for you. It is so tricky. The document is, by its nature, a document which is meant to remind us of who we want to be when we are being our best selves. And that is good. It is very good which is why I am wiring this book. A Rule of Life is astounding technology for living a life of integrity and whole-heartedness as Brene Brown might say. But beware. Because the scales can so easily tip and you can find yourself writing nostalgia or fantasy – words which present a past which is a lie or pretend a future which is a lie. Yes, the Rule of Life must be aspirational. But it also must be honest. Brutally honest. Or, like anything in the spiritual life, it can convert from medicine to poison.
Next we will design and draft a chapter on “work.” As a work-addict, this terrifies me because I can feel the lies forming in my mind as I think about the chapter. I hate that this is t rue but it is true. I can see them lurking i the shadows of my psyche like little gremlins, small, pale, pasty, with sharp little filed teeth and yes circled in darkness and rich, red lips and sharp fingernails. This demons which live around us in this noisy world hide in the noise, not the darkness. They hide in the words, not the silent dark basements of horror movies. And they lie. And they whisper lie-suggestions. And they collaborate on lies. And they seduce.
Satan is called The Father of Lies. There is a reason for that. And there is a reason that terminology for both Satan and God in our scriptures is based in legal terminology of defender and prosecutor – it is because of lies. It is because we must remain in the courtroom sometimes for examination nd cross examination to determine lies. And that is good, spiritual work. It is also essential to mindfulness.
Mindfulness does not work if you ignore the lies you tell yourself so that you can tell them to the planet. And to God.
“I am not an alcoholic….I just enjoy three glasses of wine to help me sleep.” “I am not a bad father, I just need to work so we have lots of stuff and my work keeps me form spending time with my children.” I am not a manipulator, I am just a leader.” “Our family is happy, we just have some problems.” “Our church is healthy, we just accidentally have hemorrhaged members for 15 years and now have lost half the congregation.” “Our marriage is fine, we just don’t spend much time together because we are busy.”
Pray and think and draft notes about your chapter on work:
Chapter XIV – Work
A Rule of Life
The Rev. Canon Charles LaFond
(Under construction and in the process of being stripped of lies.)