What is transparency? Transparency means making visible that which is invisible, which it’s important for others to know. The most obvious and important example is making visible how we feel.
Our ideas about things relate to information, facts, materiality. They’re intellectual knowledge – useful but limited in reach, power, and relevance.
Our feelings are the first level of beingness that’s experiential. Experiential knowledge has more immediacy, impact, and relevance.
How we feel about something (and “I feel like” or “I feel that” is not a feeling) is the vital piece of information that people need to know about us to assess whether they’ll act in the situation at hand or not.
Remember I said a few weeks ago that realizing I was out of touch with my feelings was a stunning discovery I made halfway through a three-month encounter group many moons ago. After that, I blasted my way through to being in touch with myself as a feeling being. Admittedly, I’ve lost some of that over the years.
(Transformative love is arising in me as I write.)
People will feel comfortable taking steps on our behalf once they know how we feel. So transparency requires us to freely offer that information about ourselves; in other words, to be vulnerable.
Realized knowledge is tricky because, unlike experiential knowledge, which most people are familiar with, if we come from a state of being or from a state of certainty that others don’t share, they appear to feel uncomfortable. I tend to stay away from communicating realized knowledge and remain with experiential, unless I have a specific agreement with an individual.
Transparency with me goes almost as far as my audience can stand, but not farther. It’s incumbent on me to show discretion in that area.
Authenticity means that the outer is aligned with the inner. Our external words, gestures, looks, and tone all accurately mirror our internal thoughts, feelings, and intentions. There’s not a disconnect between the two.
This has implications. For one thing, who we say we are and who we are must be the same thing. Another way of saying that is that we need to be our word for authenticity to be served. We need to keep our promises and agreements. There’s no misalignment between what we say and what we do, the talk and the walk.
What are the benefits of transparency and authenticity? We’ve discussed many times that we shining beings exist under an overburden of existential detritus.
Imagine that we’re buried under an avalanche and we have to get out to live. When we finally do emerge, we give a big sigh of relief.
The issues we continue to carry with us, the memories of our upsets, the resentments we have against people, all the unfinished business of life is what that avalanche is. I should know about this. My rapidly-disappearing cancer is apparently about disappointment – seeds of bitterness – which I’ve responded to over time by increasing my distance from people. (Don’t worry. I’m OK. No emails please.)
The shining self that we are is digging its way out from under this avalanche by means of the clearing that we’ve all been doing for the last any number of years. We’ve been removing layer after layer of detritus, by many means.
We exist in fine form and entirely happy, underneath the avalanche. But the ego self that goes along with this human package is not at all happy. It’s ironic that the ego self that requires us to rise up out of the avalanche is the very thing that disappears upon our emergence.
Transparency and authenticity are two approaches to making that overburden, that detritius or avalanche disappear.
The most central teaching of spirituality for me, the most valuable piece of advice I’ve ever heard, was Jesus saying: “The truth will set you free.”
We’re here to realize, not just intellectually or emotionally, who we truly are. We’re here to realize the truth of our being and realizing that truth will set us free us from birth and death.
Transparency is revealing our truth to people. It’s a truth practice. Authenticity is being the truth on the outside and the inside at the same time. In my view, they’re both important Ascension practices.
But getting back to relationship, being transparent and being authentic are just the best ways to be, according to me. To actually know that the person standing before me is who she says she is, that she’ll let me know her, that our lives could be an adventure, an exploration, instead of some brawling match that goes on until it dies, is supremely promising to me.
I’ve been interested in transparency and authenticity for decades. Ever since my baptism by fire at Cold Mountain Institute in 1976, accelerated by my time in the est Network till 1982, I’ve seen what dividends the two pay. I want to emerge from the overburden. I’m serious about it. I’m committed to it in word and action. That invites me to be transparent and authentic.