Blinded by Our Culture

Cuenca on a dark rainy night

By Cathy Eck

 

Exposing Beliefs

Once we embark on the journey of initiation, our True Self exposes our beliefs.  If we follow our inspiration and commit to let go (not learn or escape), we’ll reach the destination.  Until we let go, however, places and situations can feel like impossible tests.  Ecuador continues to deliver exactly what I need.

I stay in a small B&B.  Since I’ve arrived, the hostess has been pleasant; but she constantly leaves out important details.  For example, a couple of weeks ago, she took me and two other guests to the mall, which is far from our home.  When we arrived, I asked her where and when we should meet her for the drive back.  She said, “Oh I can’t take you home.”  Fortunately, one member of our group knew the bus back to town.

When she picked me up at the airport, she was late.  This was disturbing because I no longer had phone service.  Then we went to get in her car — I thought.  Instead we got in a cab.  We stayed at a hotel, took a few more cabs, had a meal, and then took a transportation service that was right next to the airport.  I felt like my wallet was being raped.  What could have been a fourteen dollar ride to her house cost me about $80 in cabs, food, transport services, and hotel rooms.

Everyone in the house has had the same experience.  It would be easy to believe that we’re all just victims of her chaotic world.  As guests, we’re playing a feminine role in HER home.  This triggers our feelings of powerlessness.  It nearly always feels impossible to let go when we’re in a feminine role, but it isn’t.

 

No Victims

I’m never one to accept victimhood so I first let go of memories of lying by omission.  I’d often felt confused when people didn’t tell me the whole story, and I could only resolve my confusion when they finally told the truth.  That wasn’t good enough anymore.  I wanted letting go to take me to the place where people would always tell me everything I needed to know.

In every case, they didn’t think lying by omission was wrong.  In fact, they often felt they were sparing me pain.  There’s no “Thou shalt not lie or omit details,” in the Ten Commandments.

My mind kept telling me that I was stuck.  Lying or omission is a way to claim the false masculine role; the person lied too can’t get the upper hand because they’re fighting a ghost.

One morning, when my hostess once again forgot to mention a very important detail, I decided to speak with her.  Perhaps I could learn to understand her.  There was so much pain in the conversation that I had tears running down my eyes the whole time.

She was certain that she’d done nothing wrong.  “You chose to live in a typical Ecuadorian household; now you want to change me.”  I assured her that I didn’t.  “I’m a Christian woman; I don’t hurt people.”  I assured her that I understood her religion and realized she had good intentions.  This went on and on….

 

Culture

For some reason, my old business mind kicked in to save me.  “Let’s pull up your ad on the internet.  Let’s rewrite your ad as your guests see it.  This isn’t about your intention, your culture, or you; it’s about truthful marketing,” I said.  I spontaneously rewrote her ad giving her our painfully honest view of reality in her home.  Then, I said to her, “Is that ad really the ad of a Christian, typical Ecuadorian woman?”  I’d removed her mind from her cultural and religious beliefs; now she could see.

Her omission was the effect, not the cause.  She was constantly living from beliefs that she considered to be normal, cultural, or religious.  It is the old, “If everyone does it, it must be okay.”  Pride in her culture and religion kept her destructive beliefs in tact and even labeled her good for holding on to them.  Pride is one of the deadliest of tricks to keep us trapped in the illusion.

I reflected back to an earlier time when I confronted another person who lied by omission.  I also asked him why?  He said, “Everyone lies.  If you don’t, you won’t get what you want.”  Lying wasn’t bad to him either; it was necessary.  What he didn’t realize was that he was the only person I’d ever lied to.  I couldn’t help myself around him, but I hated myself for doing it.

My hostess saw herself as handling normal problems and circumstances that were typical for her religion and culture.  She knew nothing else.  For thousands of years, these traditions haven’t worked — they’ve only managed to veil our True Self.  The deeper the religion and culture in a family, organization, or country, the greater the chaos.  There are simply more beliefs to work around — think Middle East.

People will either live in apathy regarding their prison cell or decorate it and call it home.  It’s a rare one that escapes.

 

The Gift

Suddenly, I realized the gift of this experience.  My Spanish is poor.  When I talk to her, I’m thinking and listening very hard.  I’m focused on her words so I’m not feeling.  Being in a country where you can’t understand the language is a lot like being a child.  It takes us back to those moments when we didn’t know what people were saying or the rules of the world; but we did want the approval and love or our parents or other authorities.

So we innocently listened, trusted, and obeyed.  Sadly, some of those we trusted didn’t tell us the whole truth about life.  We fell into their world.  We accepted their beliefs as true, and we felt that we could not change their mind.  We believed that their religion or culture was true because we didn’t realize that they were blinded by it.