middot truth daily living hocus pocus or truth?

hocus pocus or truth?

Written by  rebbetzin malkah

art-trickThe Torah and the teachings of the rabbis give us all the guidance we need, but to follow the path that lies before us still calls for a discerning heart. This is the ultimate instrument for recognizing what is true and for guiding our speech and actions. It’s the heart that calls you to go looking for guidance from tradition when that’s available. And it is the wise heart that will show the way in the myriad situations for which there are no black-and-white answers. -- Alan Morinis, Everyday Holiness, pg. 171

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. --Hebrews 13:18

The middah of truth is complex. It is not just letting flow off your lips that which is true, or known to be true to you. It is also about the internal ideas of truth you have within you, or think you have within you, and translating that into righteous and honest action. And sometimes, truth is weeding out that which is inside you that feigns truth, but is in reality nothing more than a desired mirage.

the magician within all of us

As everyone knows, what makes a truly spectacular and convincing magician is someone who can make a trick look completely plausible, deceptively true. It is through amazing slight of hand, distraction or visual tricks by which this is carried out. We are almost convinced that through some mysterious actions something disappears or is transformed on the stage. But make no mistake: deep down you know that it was a trick no matter how much the crowds are wowed.

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. --Alexander Solzhenitsyn

In our lives, we are faced with the same kinds of deceptions. Sometimes we exaggerate the actual status of relationships, self-importance, status, and wealth. While we might have notions about how we would like these transformed or maybe to even have them disappear, our disillusioned behavior and actions can many times cause harm to ourselves and others, sometimes at a great expense.

Imagine for a moment that a neighbor has unrealistic ideas about personal finances and continues to spend as if the sky is the limit. This lack of truth will probably not only cause debt but other consequences down the line. Everything from hardship to bankruptcy could erupt from such impaired thinking. Though a person would like to live a certain lifestyle or live within a particular neighborhood, this false thinking can only lead to ruin. Rather, understanding and accepting the truth about his own reality can only bring benefit; instead of living outside of his means, he comes to a frugal assessment of what he has and can make honest and realistic projections for what he can and can’t do. Maybe someday he can achieve his dreams and have greater financial freedom, but at the moment, only true and honest accounting translated into action will be his saving grace.

But let’s not speak of only situations of money. How many times do we have ideas about relationships that we would like to see flourish, but where there is no decisive action on account of the other person? If one continues to live within an imagined bubble where there is conjured up ideas that another person feels the same way or relates, literally all other possibilities that might come a person’s way might be thwarted just because there is this feeling of being beholden to someone else (who might or might not truly care). This works where there is friendship and/or romantic interests. Where there is are no defined parameters set to guide the relationship, it is like just aimlessly getting in a car and driving nowhere just for the sake of feeling what it is like to be in a car. Lack of intention, boundaries and truthful purpose just leave us wandering and wasting our time with people and their time as well. Magically imagining relationships to be does not necessarily make them so.

revealing all your tricks

The Wizard of Oz was great only until he was discovered behind the curtain. If we live according to operating behind a curtain of sorts, it is only a matter of time before someone discovers our secret or our secret undermines us. If we want to be more honest with ourselves and translate the truth that have within each of us into more truthful living, then all the tricks have to be revealed. We need to dig very deeply down and pull out all the tricks we use regarding each situation where we cover up, make excuses and act deceptively. We need to be truthful within and translate that to the outer: look at your relationships with others and insert appropriate honesty.

Do you let people drive all over you because you want to appear as the most amiable friend or spouse, parent or child? Do you have open and truthful dialogue so as to have healthy relationships? Do you have an honest assessment of who you are in social settings (job, community)? Do you engage in self-aggrandizement rather than self-improvement on a daily basis? Do you cloak how you jeopardize your own well-being financially or physically? Do you make excuses for your mistakes, failings or deficiencies? Do you purport to have it all together and then when someone gets close to you they see that you have played the greatest magician of all time?

When we become more candid with ourselves and what we think we are, then we can implement this in our lives through our interactions with others in a more sincere light.  While truth is important in speech, it is equally important in what we do daily. Actions speak louder than words—close down your magic show and opt for more transparent and straightforward living.


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