I watched an interview online recently, and one person in the group described another, who was often critical of others, as being “real.” He meant this as a compliment, meaning the person was honest and spoke what was on his mind, rather than pretending not to notice other people’s faults. He also meant that the person did not hide his emotions. When he was angry, he made it very clear, rather than assuming a peaceful expression to hide his inner turmoil.

Especially when speaking publicly, keep your words kind and thoughtful. Others will remember the negative words you spoke about them long after you have forgotten.

Is that being “real” though? What is the true reality? Is it speaking the first thoughts that come to mind, even if they are rude? Is it “real” to share with everyone each passing emotion?

Swami Kriyananda, the founder of Ananda, said of truthfulness, “Truth is always beneficial. To make harmful statements, even if they are based on obvious, but superficial and temporary, facts, is in the deepest spiritual sense untruthful.”

When a person expresses any kind of negativity, even if those feelings are their present reality, they are only a very short term reality. Everyone’s faults will eventually become their strengths. That person’s temper will eventually calm down, and then they will no longer feel the words they spoke in anger.

Showing appreciation for people when they do you a service will help to affirm their true nature as well as yours, lifting up the subconscious mind to reflect the soul.

Kindness and peace, however, reflect the natural state of the soul. When a person refuses to speak negatively, even when pressured, they are expressing the higher consciousness that is the true reality. This means that even pretending to be relaxed when you are very busy can be truthful, if you are saying it in order to affirm your true nature.

For those who have been visiting Ananda.org regularly, you probably noticed that on the first of December we offered the audiobook and e-book versions of Autobiography of a Yogi for free as well as put on a live broadcast. This was a huge project that ended up being much more work than anyone had anticipated. Many people during this time asked me how I was, and I said I was doing very well.

This didn’t mean that I never felt stressed or overwhelmed, but I knew it would be over in a matter of weeks, so making a generalization based on such a short term project did not feel truthful to me. So instead I gave people the answer based on the longer rhythm of how this holiday season has been going for me. I have had lots of time to spend with family and friends, our cats haven’t destroyed our Christmas decorations, and I have managed for the most part to stay healthy and happy. So I would say that is doing quite well.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s always a good idea to ignore the “elephant in the room.” There are some issues that need to be dealt with, especially if they are persistent. Keep in mind though that this is only a temporary reality and that the soul is all-loving and perfect. We will live far longer than this passing problem, and most of our existence will be spent in ever-new joy. And that will be real.

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