Posts filed under The Landmarks of Truth

Reliability

"What is true anywhere is true everywhere."-Ralph Waldo Emerson  

The fourth Landmark of Truth is reliability.

 

Reliability means "consistently good in quality and performance." This implies that we can trust and depend on something or someone.

 

It also implies that this aspect of reliability is not time-based. It is perennial.

 

This is why so much of the principles and values that guide moral and ethical behavior are common across cultures. They have stood the test of time and maintain their relevance despite the time and place in which they appear and are applied.

 

These ethical, perennial truths are embedded in theology, philosophy, governance and law, and in codes of conduct and ethical behavior. They include sanctions against murder, theft, sexual abuse, human rights abuses, torture, exploitation of children, rape, etc.

 

Civil society depends upon the reliability of shared interests, purposes and values for sustainability. Without such standards, there is little hope for the establishment or survival of democracy, and no means by which to ensure basic rights and freedoms.

 

This is environment is vital to Visionmaking - that we are free to follow our personal and collective destiny within a rule-based system of rights and freedoms that are democratically established and governed. It provides Visionmaking with the perfect conditions for dreaming and pursuing what has heart and meaning.

 

The second aspect of reliability is behavioral. Visionmakers are trustworthy, ethical and principled in their conduct with others. This makes them reliable. When a Visionmaker makes a commitment, he or she delivers. It is a matter of personal honor.

 

Many of us equate making commitments with being imprisoned. It betrays a profound misunderstanding of the power of a commitment.

 

A commitment is the language of intent. Intent is the engagement of the heart, mind, and will to action. Intent generates the power and timing to mobilize a purposeful act and permanently alter the status quo. Recognizing that commitments carry generative power, a Visionmaker uses this sacred gift with integrity and personal responsibility.

 

A commitment is a pledge to do or refrain from doing something. It is a generative act that opens up a path of action through full engagement of all our resources.

 

To Visionmakers, a commitment is a pledge of reliability. It is a solemn vow that a Visionmaker makes to the integrity of his or her blood. As such, we can measure our performance against our words.

 

There is a resonant field that builds around one who consistently delivers on their commitments and promises. We see these people as "true blue."

 

Visionmakers are reliable. They strive to be "consistently good in quality and performance." In this way, they leave a trail of excellence as a beacon and a legacy for the generations to come.

© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on April 26, 2009 and filed under The Landmarks of Truth.

Honesty

Though the whole world grumble, I will speak my mind." -Cicero

 

The third Landmark of Truth is honesty.

 

Honesty requires that we are fair, just and morally upright. This demands that Visionmakers act with personal integrity at all times to ensure that our very being is an expression of truth.

 

Three standards apply to the practice of honesty.  The first is that we do not lie, steal or act in a deceitful way. Second, we tell the truth, and respect what belongs to others or to the common trust. Third, we do not conceal or misrepresent the truth.

 

To act in accordance with these principles supports the development of self-respect and leads to honor. Honor is the respect that comes from other people in response to honesty and integrity. This is the Visionmaker's way. 

 

Today, we are living through an economic crisis that has been brought on largely by a failure to act in accordance with honesty and integrity. Greed, self-interest and personal gain have led us to a dangerous instability in the world economy.

 

Why? 

 

We have placed a higher cultural value on wealth and power than we have on character. Vision has been co-opted by the pursuit of money, sex and power, the three measures of success in our current mythology.

 

We have entered an age where the addiction to wealth and power and the status that they convey has gained a currency and intensity not seen since the 1980's.

 

Remember the character Gordon Gecko, played by Michael Douglas, in the film Wall Street?  He appears to be alive and well. 

 

Greed can never rest; it couples a ravenous appetite for more with the increasing inability to feel satisfaction. Hence the closed-loop that keeps the addiction going.

 

Truth and honesty require that we adhere to a higher value than personal gain. In our parents time, honesty and integrity in your personal and professional life were the badges of honor. You conducted yourself in accordance with timeless principles, values and ethics. These practices led to social currency, meaning your place in civil society was secured by the honesty of your character.

 

We have lost sight of this standard.

 

In the Four-Fold Way, Angeles Arrien provides simple and effective guidelines for honesty and integrity:

 

• saying what you mean

• doing what you say

• saying what's so when it's so

 

Many times I have been confronted by those that wish to argue that the only way to make one's way in a corrupt world is to be corrupt. It is strategies and defenses such as these that have led us to the brink of financial collapse. 

 

Visionmakers see the development and maintenance of honesty and integrity as central to acquiring enough personal power to act with purpose.

 

Energy that goes into sorcery-deceit, greed, and manipulation of others and the circumstances–is a misuse of that power. 

 

Ultimately, it is an act of self-betrayal and self-sabotage. The path of Visionmaking leads us in the opposite direction towards self-trust and self-esteem.

 

© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on April 23, 2009 and filed under The Landmarks of Truth.

Factuality

"Truth is what stands the test of experience." -Albert Einstein

 

The second Landmark of Truth is factuality, which means "conforming to reality." Factuality provides a balance point to the truth of the heart, or the inner reality, with the external state or conditions. A Visionmaker balances the heart's truth and direct observation of the external reality to ensure they are in alignment. 

 

When the heart's truth and objective observation line up, Visionmakers have access to seeing with depth and clarity. If they do not, we have an important clue that something is amiss and that there is a need for due diligence.

 

The external reality is the domain of objective observation. So much of vision is clouded by opinions, assumptions and assessments that it can be difficult to discern truth from falsehood. It is important to move past these perceptual barriers. Curiosity, objectivity and testing are three practices that help Visionmakers see truth.

 

Curiosity is "the strong desire to know or learn something." It is the means by which we probe and explore the frontiers of knowledge. Curiosity is especially important in the discernment of truth because it allows us to penetrate what is veiled or superficial. Questions are the vehicle on which our curiosity travels; questions carry us deeper and deeper into the heart of what matters.

 

Objectivity is the freedom to look at the facts without being unduly influenced by our desires or opinions. This is the terrain of every good scientist and jurist. Visionmakers learn to engage this capacity by holding the creative tension between belief and disbelief long enough for the truth to emerge to visibility. This is an act of mastery-to suspend one's automatic desire to believe or disbelieve. This capacity creates an aperture in which the truth can unfold.

 

Testing is a procedure taken to check the quality or reliability of a conclusion. To many times we accept something at face value without bringing our own critical faculties to bear on the matter. This is laziness and lacks intellectual curiosity on our part. Visionmakers do their homework. As the Buddha is reported to have said:

 

"Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true."

 

Factuality keeps vision grounded and realistic. We do not fall prey to what we want to see, believe we see, or are told to see. We use the gifts of curiosity, objectivity and testing to see what is so. In doing this Visionmakers catch a glimpse of the unseen. 

 

© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Posted on April 17, 2009 and filed under The Landmarks of Truth.

Authenticity

"What is true is invisible to the eye. It is only with the heart that one can see clearly."

-  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

The first Landmark of Truth is authenticity. Authenticity means real, genuine and truly from the heart. It is this last quality that catches a Visionmaker's eye.

 

Authenticity is the capacity to speak and act from the heart. The heart's truth, the internal reality, is a standard by which a Visionmaker conducts his or her affairs.

 

When our allegiance is to the Full, Open, Clear and Strong Heart, we come into alignment with the core of who we are. It also binds us together with every other person in a fabric of wholeness and community. 

 

Perennial values, principles and ethics are encoded in the human heart. It is also the home of Destiny's plan for each person, a singular and authentic journey of meaning that each of us was born to make.

 

For this reason, the training in Visionmaking places a heavy emphasis on the work of the heart. Through this apprenticeship, we learn to be authentic. We also shed the "false-self system," the affectations, character flaws and bad habits that interfere with our ability to see clearly and act impeccably.  

 

"Do not worry about what others are doing!" instructs Mahatma Gandhi. " Each of us should turn the searchlight inward and purify his or her own heart as much as possible."

 

Wise words and important work if we are to see what is in alignment with Truth and what remains false to fact. Truth is a beacon that shines on a road of meaning, leading us forward, each step in alignment with the heart. 

 

When the heart is involved in seeing, we gain an acuity of vision that penetrates the mysteries of living. We gain a rare clarity that reflects the fact that our own energy is no longer entangled in illusions about the self, other people, or the world around us.  

 

This is an act of wisdom that liberates a Visionmaker to pursue only that which is in accordance with his or her nature, and which furthers the path of the heart.

 

In my next post, I will cover the second Landmark of Truth-factuality.

 

© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on April 14, 2009 and filed under The Landmarks of Truth.

The Landmarks of Truth

"For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth." -Jesus of Nazareth  

It is Good Friday and an excellent time to reflect on truth, the allegiance to authenticity, factuality, honesty and reliability. No matter what faith tradition we practice-or whether we are agnostic or atheist–truth is a central principle of civil society.

 

A Visionmaker strives to uphold truth telling in all his or her relations, but especially in facing personal truth. He or she chooses to see things as they are, not as one hopes them to be. By remaining loyal to truth, a Visionmaker ensures that vision is not sacrificed to self-deception.

 

Truth seems like a value in decline, associated with an earlier, simpler time when character was a matter of honor and what you said and did was a matter of self-respect.

 

Daniel Boorstin, the American professor and writer, warns us of the consequences of the decline of truth in modern society: “’Truth’ has been displaced by ‘believability’ as the test of the statements which dominate our lives.”

 

 More recently, the American comedian, Stephen Colbert coined the satirical term “truthiness”– the conscious avoidance of facts, logic, evidence and rational analysis – to describe the same condition.

 

 “What is truth,” asked Pontius Pilate at the trial of Jesus? It is easy to imagine a combination of skepticism, mockery, resignation, and weariness in Pilate’s tone as he asks one of the most famous questions in history. Washing his hands of the pursuit of truth and his responsibility to uphold it, Pilate becomes the archetype of the weak, closed and doubting-hearted politician. His profession has yet to recover. 

 

Jean-Paul Sartre sees a distinction that every Visionmaker would do well to remember in wisdom work: “Like all dreamers, I confused disenchantment with truth.”

           

Like Pilate, many of us struggle to recognize and acknowledge the truth even when it stares us in the face. Seeing what is true can be disheartening. Sometimes it may seem easier not to see at all. But to avoid looking at what is true is cowardice and comes back to wreak havoc.

 

Those who prefer fantasy or the posture of an ostrich, head firmly planted in the sand, rather than looking at people and circumstances for what they are, participate in their own betrayal. One has no one to blame but oneself.

           

There can be no wisdom without truth – and any betrayal of truth is a betrayal of the heart. But how does a Visionmaker recognize truth?

           

There are four qualities, known as the Landmarks of Truth, which assist the Visionmaker with seeing what is in alignment with the heart, and discerning truth from falsehood. The Landmarks of Truth include authenticity, factuality, honesty and reliability. 

 

In upcoming posts, I will address each distinction.

 

Happy Easter and Passover.  Thank you for visiting Visions. 

© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on April 10, 2009 and filed under The Landmarks of Truth.