Whether we like it or not, most people have been being untruthful or dishonest every once in a while or regularly. It’s a habit that has been building up since childhood where the children are being brought up by their parents or elders with the habit of fictional and fantasized stories making and telling (untrue), joking (untrue), white lies (untrue), hypocrisy (untrue), boasting (not necessarily true), pleasing (most probably untrue), or acting (untrue) as something ‘normal’, ‘appropriate manners’ or ‘play safe’ to be interacting with other people in the family, in the relationships, in the society, in the social media, in the politics.
The children are being taught to be untruthful, dishonest and hypocrite by telling (white) lies, boasting, joking, pleasing or acting so that they do not upset or offend other people, or they should please other people, as one of the manners/politeness/appropriate behavior in their cultural and social practice.
A lot of time, untruthfulness and dishonesty is the by-product of fear.
Whenever the children are being aware of they might have done something they shouldn’t be doing that they think it would upset their parents or their friends, and most probably, out of fear of being criticized, or scolded, or punished, or unloved by their parents or their friends, and fear of losing the supportive treatments from their parents or their friends, children would tell lies to hide the truth, being untruthful or dishonest. And this untruthful and dishonest behavior becomes a natural habit to ‘play safe’ and to ‘please other people’ in their childhood and continue to follow them into their adulthood.
When the children have the initiative to tell the truth or admit to their parents that they might have done something that they think it might upset their parents, and if the parents react with anger and aggressiveness towards the children or the incident, or inflict punishment onto the children, the children will tend to be untruthful or dishonest from then on. Instead, if the parents react with calmness, acceptance, forgiveness and letting go, knowing that by getting upset and angry won’t undo what had happened, then the children will tend to be truthful and honest from then on. It also allows the children to learn to appreciate truthfulness and honesty, and learn about acceptance, forgiveness and letting go. Children making mistakes is a great learning process for both the parents and the children, to become responsible compassionate people, who accept and love themselves and other people as they are, even though they are not perfect.
Truthfulness and honesty is one of the important basic practice in yoga. Without it, numerous of other yoga practice are meaningless. But for many people who grew up under that kind of parenting or upbringing to behave ‘appropriately’ and ‘politely’ in their relationships with everyone, in the family, in the school, in the workplace, or in the society, being untruthful and dishonest is something ‘right’ and ‘good’, while being truthful and honest is something ‘wrong’ and ‘bad’. They think that it’s needless to abandon untruthfulness and dishonesty when they take up yoga practice, thinking that it’s the ‘normal’ and ‘correct’ way of living and interacting with everyone in the society in order to have ‘healthy’ and ‘happy’ relationships with everyone.
How many conversations between people don’t contain any untruthfulness or dishonesty?
Many people who are under the influence of the ego are either don’t like the truth or being afraid of the truth. As most of the time, the truth is something difficult or unpleasant or painful for the untrained minds.
When people try to tell the truth of a ‘good son’ to his parents that their ‘good son’ isn’t really good, the parents say, “No. Don’t tell us (the truth). We don’t want to know about it. Our son is all good. We brought him up to be good. He is a good boy.”
People can’t live and interact with other people ‘normally’ in this world without being untruthful or dishonest a little bit here and there.
While yoga is about the truth. No matter how difficult or unpleasant or painful is the truth, one has no fear of the truth.
And hence, those who truly practice yoga, they stay away from the society and observe seclusion and solitude, to avoid unnecessary untruthfulness and dishonesty.