But… “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.”
It is said the truth invites, it never commands. If that is correct, and I trust that it is, then God has apparently created truth as a “take it or leave it” option. An invitation, after all, is something we can either accept or decline.
But what happens when we give it a pass?
I suspect we know very well. Over the course of lifetimes, we have learned the hard way that some invitations prove costly when they are neglected. Yet, worldwide, we see a lack of that understanding. We see people in all walks of life, from ordinary citizens to heads of state, attempting to ignore the truth with disturbing regularity, the consequences of which are often deplorable.
Why is this still going on? Why is truth so often viewed as thwarting or inconvenient?
It doesn’t take a mathematician to calculate the answer. Wherever we go, we are joined by someone else, a self-appointed sidekick who is ready at all times to sweep us away in pursuit of his agenda: pleasure, power, and possessions. That sidekick is the ego, a master of persuasion, and truth is not his priority – or “her” priority, if yours is a she – so much as the possibility of an advantage. Thus, although his aim is not to cause trouble, he tends to be long on promise and short on production, leaving us frequently in some form of debt, disappointment, or despair.
When God created the ego, along with the law of duality that governs its field of play, mischief and mayhem were guaranteed to ensue. Adherence to truth became the only avenue of escape, but since the ego is not one to bow to a truth that impedes its pet ideas, the battle for the soul was placed in perpetual motion. It has been “game on” ever since.
Experience confirms that the ego’s designs are not only serial in nature, they invariably run out of steam, requiring the next in its series of hopeful or dubious recommendations. When the outcome is unpleasant, as it often is, truth is apt to come under fire, for the ego is loathe to take the blame when its advice fails to pan out, especially if the result proves embarrassing. It may resort to pressing hard for alibis, excuses, or outright fabrications, perhaps in the form of “alternative facts.”
It is only natural, of course, that we like to make the best impression in every situation, and the ego is in its element when positing how to do this. Maybe we exaggerate, on a resume for example, or slightly alter a story to make ourselves look smarter or more skillful. I discovered in India that when a worker would fail to show up for a job, it was often because of a relative who had unexpectedly died. Nor was it uncommon for that person to resurrect a few days later, ready to be used again with a different employer when coming to work was less appealing than some other opportunity.
The ego is one crafty dude or dudette, and we pay a price when its coaching becomes our command. The question we have to ask is simply this: How much misguided counsel are we willing to endure before we shift our allegiance to a source of wisdom we can safely rely on?
Truth is not always at stake in the choices we make, but the principles on which it rests are the cornerstones of a life that is highly effective on every level, inside and out. It is worth giving it “first right of refusal” in every decision to be made.
In Sanskrit there is an axiom – Yato dharma, tato jaya – which translates to “Where there is right action, there is victory.” Here, too, is a teaching that does not lead astray or leave us looking for ways to cover our tracks.
Need another good reason to choose the truthful path? Whether you do or don’t, whatever you do is recorded on your karmic ledger. For every egoic transgression, large or small, a tax is levied against it for crossing the line. Truth may only invite us to keep its counsel, but it is the law that governs all that moves and the functioning of cause and effect.
As Jesus said, “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Soweth the ways of truth. You won’t regret it.