Okay, so the words above are extreme, but we know (especially if you snickered) that there’s some truth there.
BE CONSEQUENT. These two words sparked a flame in me last week. When I heard it, I knew it to be the very phrase I’ve been looking for. It was spoken in the context of religion. Our priest was speaking to some parents who were considering having their children receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in our church and he was trying to give them a picture of what that meant. There is no dogma in my church–perhaps the only dogma is freedom of thought–so, we would certainly not prohibit people from other religions to participate in the Sacraments, but certainly it is only right that anyone who wants that would have to be awake to what he was doing. At the very least, one should be clear about the consequences of their choices.
The words were spoken again by a mentor of our school, in the context of teaching. As a teacher, one must be consequent. If you say something, mean it and follow through on it. This is major for me, because it presupposes an active inner education. To be consequent, one must be clear in thought and intention–in whatever you do or say, you are clear about why–and then you release it in the classroom and because you were clear about your intentions and were purposeful, you can be active and consequent.
Today I said it to someone because I spent a big chunk of my morning trading texts. One party said she had been approached and asked to support an initiative. The other party said it was jokingly said. Well, clearly, the joke was not taken as such. So I wanted to point out that it’s so very important to be consequent about what we say! Were you joking or were you hoping? If what you sincerely wanted was help and support, why would you joke about it? Consequently, how can you expect full support if the energy you used to seek it was cloaked in a joke?
Part of this, I know, is cultural. We are the kings and queens of passive-aggressive behavior. We love to make “parinig”, asking questions we don’t really need answers to when what we really want is to show people how knowledgeable we are, for example. Or we’ll not look at a person but talk about them anyway, cloaking the discussion in something or other, when what we really want to do is point out their weakness or fault. The truth is it’s so much healthier and more respectful (though, admittedly, not easier), to address the person and lay it out, preferably with warmth and empathy, so that the person on the receiving end can feel safe, especially in a situation of conflict.
I find that people are reluctant to step forward with their requests, wishes and intentions as well. They don’t want to be responsible for them. So they like to say they just “jokingly” mentioned something, but in truth they were asking for something. Their true hope was for the other party to read the request and fulfill it. I find that unfair to the person from whom they are soliciting help. Instead of taking full responsibility for your actions, you are transferring the burden to him. There’s nothing wrong with soliciting or asking for help, but one must be clear and able to really ask for it with full conviction, responsibility, transparency, honesty, uprightness and intention. Yes, all that. If you want something, ask for it and be fully behind what you ask for. It shows the person you are addressing that you value his help enough that you would stand before him forthrightly. That’s how much you believe in what you’re asking for. So show it.
There is so much murkiness in social relations today because of this. We are not clear when we say things. We might say we are just joking, but really we are not. We ask a question when what we want is to point a finger at someone. And this begins a chain of murkiness, at the end of which blooms cold conflict, because the premises are tangled up in unclear agenda. If we are consequent, or try to be, then we start from a place of clarity. We can only be consequent if, at first, we are clear.
Be clear. This is a lifelong task, I know, but if we remind ourselves and work on it, we can always be clearer than the last time and that is progress!! It takes a lot of inner listening and mirroring, and being honest with oneself about what our true purpose is for any undertaking. When we are clear, it is so much easier to be consequent.
Be clear. Be consequent. I just know this will change our lives and the world for the better.