Symbols of the world's religions



Don E. Stevens

When Meher Baba reoriented the Sufis in 1952 he made each mureed again take a vow which included among other things a provision for trying to achieve strict honesty.

This was the most troublesome of the components of the new commitment, as each aspirant began to recognize the frequency of deception and dissimulation in his daily life. Nevertheless, we all accepted it, took the new engagement with the murshida and promised ourselves to try to fulfill it.

The first weeks were sheer hell. Imagine contemplating telling your wife you think she is a terrible cook because she burns the breakfast toast regularly; or your boss that he is incompetent because he hasn't even a beginning grasp of accountancy. And if you are a doctor, what do you say when the pretty young housewife sitting before you with a baby on her lap has inoperable cancer?

Worse still for me, a new experimental roofing product I had just developed had flopped miserably on the Orange County Fair Grounds reroofing project. Did I tell the customer the truth and offer to pay the $100,000 for labor and materials already used?

In fact I did, and we experimented and found a way to solve the worst of the appearance problem. The customer was so astounded by such honesty that he only asked us to furnish free of charge the extra material he used to cover over the first botched application.

Incidentally, when I told my superior originally that I wanted to tell the customer the truth, he looked long and hard at me. I thought he was going to fire me. Finally, slowly, he said, "Don, I support you."

After the first weeks of battering, life began to settle down again. All of us had gone through some pretty shaking episodes, but we were still alive and no blood had been shed. We began to congratulate ourselves on surviving the first round. Then I began to note an unexpected internal shift. I felt light, alive. What was going on? A miracle?

During the ensuing weeks the answer became clear. None of us realize how much time and energy we use up nor how much unconscious tension we generate in fabricating and then remembering all the big and little stories and white lies we tell in our daily lives.

Once these are eliminated, a truly startling simplification of the details of living occurs and a startling amount of emotional energy is freed up. I would never have expected it.


1989 © D. E. Stevens


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