Hypocrisy — and how it can be a good thing

Imagine you are standing at the podium of one of those 12-step programs. 

You say your name:

“Hi, I’m Evan.”

“HI EVAN!” the crowd muffle-roars back, more or less in unison (less). Only this is no average crowd, this mass of people encompasses the whole world.

You are at an HA meeting — Hypocrites Anonymous. We’re all there.

A hypocrite professes outwardly a moral behavior to which he himself doesn’t adhere. The non-adherence can be quite private until somebody else can’t take it anymore and outs the behavior.

Here’s the beautiful thing: We’re all hypocrites. Hypocrisy is the gap between our stated ideals and the way we actually live. 

It is only when we espouse an ideal for others — one that we don’t quite live up to — that it becomes problematic. 

(Yeah, we’re kinda looking your way preachers railing against the sin-filled world . . . and anybody else who’s shaken a finger in disgust at someone else.)

If you realize there will always be a gap between who you are and who you desire to be . . . then you can be understanding of your own and others’ lapses. 

Once you realize this you are free to evolve, without condemning others.

Have you noticed the fascist rigor of some of the ex-people? Ex-smokers, ex-drinkers, ex-druggies, ex-sexers, ex-meat eaters, ex-nosepickers? They quit, now the whole world must quit! 

We spiritually-oriented beings can be like that — we move up a tiny rung and feel Godlike in our awesomeness. We judge as Spirit would not do who is worthy, who is not. Who is more enlightened, who is not. Who is more saved, who is not. Who is more heathen (me!), who is not.

There are thousands of ladders in our advancement, one for each ideal — and we may have inched our way up, oh so slightly, on the Ladder of Treating Our Body Like A Temple when that happy drunk at the sports bar may be far above us on the Ladder of Affectionate Camaraderie For All Mankind. 

(Lemme buy errybuddy a derrink!)

There’s no way to know where another is. We can’t know where they’re ahead of us or behind us or beside us, not in every particular. This insight alone helps me still my too active tongue.

It’s a kind of freedom — to realize that there will ever be the inner hypocrite. We can pardon others before they must pardon us. 

Knowing there will always be a gap between what we state as ideal and who we are takes the pressure off. It softens our overt hypocrisy. 

We are all striving loosely or mightily to become that better self we see off in the distance. That self is not disgusted with us or condemning us but is cheering us on, urging us to try again upon missing the mark. That future self no more condemns us than I condemn my own toddler self for falling repeatedly while trying to get that walking thing down.

That’s how we could be for others who are not as far down the road as we think we are in some area . . . we could be cheering them on!

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The spiritually attuned are like lightning rods