by Harry Palmer
The bamboo and the oak tree employ two different strategies to survive. The strategy of the oak is to grow very solid and strong to withstand the force of the wind. The strategy of the bamboo is to stay flexible and bend before the force of the wind. The wind, in this analogy, is really a symbol for the forces of change. The oak uses its solidity to resist change. The bamboo uses its flexibility to bend with change.
A few years ago, a great hurricane blew across southern Florida—Hurricane Andrew. Trees were uprooted. Houses were blown down. The news cameras panned over the area to show the devastation. Every palm, palmetto, and oak tree had been leveled, but the camera showed one small clump of bamboo that had survived. The oak trees, even with their massive strength, didn't survive. The bamboo did. The flexible strength survived; the inflexible strength perished. It is a lesson.
In a world where things are changing rapidly, flexibility is a better survival strategy than force.
Individual consciousness can take on either the qualities of the oak or the qualities of the bamboo. It can be empty and flexible, or it can be solid and unbending. In most cases, it starts out flexible and then hardens over time.
What is it that hardens consciousness into inflexible viewpoints? Some people will say it is the suffering caused by the world. But no matter how much you change the world, it does not make your consciousness any more flexible. So what is it that leads to inflexible viewpoints? Two things: Transgressions-Kept-Secret and hidden agendas.
Transgressions-Kept-Secret(*) are the damaging actions and non-actions that you would rather certain people not find out. A transgression is an instance of breaking a law, or breaking an agreement, or vioutf8g a social standard, or vioutf8g your own values. It is damaging something you have agreed to protect.
* If you've ever overheard a Star's Edge Trainer refer to someone as having ticks, they weren't referring to the blood-sucking insects. They were using the acronym TKS (pronounced ticks) for Transgressions-Kept-Secret.
Examples of TKS are robbing a bank, cheating on your marriage partner, spray painting graffiti on a public building, or acting in a manner that is contrary to your own conscience. There are lots of possible transgressions and, until you achieve sainthood, it is expected that you will commit transgressions occasionally —if only by accident. When your transgression is not kept secret, it is called a mistake.
If someone tells you that they have not committed any transgressions, realize you are talking to either a saint or a liar. Human beings make mistakes. They are supposed to. That's how they learn. Human knowledge is the product of mistakes. It is only when the mistakes are hidden or become intentional (as in a hidden agenda) that they lead to inflexible viewpoints.
A hidden agenda is really a strategy someone has for committing, or continuing to commit, a selfishly motivated transgression. It is an intentionally damaging action. This is the phenomenon that moralists call evil, or that the Buddhist would say is a karma incurring act.
A Transgression-Kept-Secret is kept secret because of shame or fear of disapproval or punishment. A hidden agenda is kept secret because the person intends to commit or repeat a transgression. There is little, if any, shame involved in a hidden agenda. To the contrary, there is often what could even be called a criminal pride. The major difference between Transgressions-Kept-Secret and hidden agendas is that in the latter, there is only a slow recognition of the damaging actions. Hidden agendas are often concealed behind pseudo-righteous identities pretending humanitarian motives.
Here are the principle elements that lead to an inflexibility of viewpoint, to a hardening of consciousness, to what one Wizard so aptly described as zombie-consciousness. How can they be healed?
Transgressions-Kept-Secret (TKS—pronounced "ticks")
When a person commits a transgression, the first question they are often asked is: "Why did you do it? Why? Why? Why?" This is a totally irrelevant question. Nobody can answer it truthfully. You are asking them to make up an explanation for why they are not source. Lie to me. I want to hear it.
The explanation won't change anything. The explanation won't teach anybody anything. And the explanation, no matter how good it sounds, won't prevent them from doing it again. You might as well answer "Why?" with, "Because my mother conceived."
Do you know the biggest reason why I think you keep your transgressions secret? You are afraid that someone is going to ask you, "Why did you do it?"
And you don't really, honestly have a clue. So if you are asked, you are going to have to commit a second transgression of lying to explain the first transgression.
Do you want to know what causes the amount of Transgressions-Kept-Secret in a society to rise? Because the society becomes focused on, "Why did you do it?" So you open the door to Why-Therapies(*).
* Why-Therapies are concerned with explanations of why one acts in a certain way. They are word-lessons that eventually drown one's free will in some predetermined drama of causes and effects.
The increase in hidden agendas, on the other hand, is a symptom of media and educational systems that are focused on indoctrination rather than on enlightenment. The root cause of a hidden agenda is always some form of social indoctrination that condones selfish, intolerant, or irresponsible behavior.
Are you ready for some relief? I don't care what you did or why you did it. Just fix it, and let's get on with it.
Which brings me to the most important point. If you block out everything else I've said, remember this: It is how you handle a transgression that is important, not why you did it.
The wrong way to handle a transgression is to hide it, or to justify it, or to deny it. These are the actions (hiding, justifying and denial) that harden consciousness into an inflexible identity. Hardened consciousness projects a reality that can be viewed only in one way. Listen to these primaries(*). Would you make them? "I don't know anything about it." "I didn't do it." "They made me do it."
* primary: a creation or communication invested with sufficient intention and effort to create reality.
Creating these beliefs is like pouring concrete into your mind.
So now you know who hardened your consciousness. You did—with the primaries that you made to keep your transgressions a secret. "I'm never going to tell!" Forever is a long time to install a limitation on your freedom of expression.
If you hide, justify, or deny a transgression, you seldom learn anything useful, but handling transgressions can lead to the most important world-lessons of life—courage, discretion, tolerance, compassion and forgiveness, i.e., wisdom. The lessons you learn from handling a transgression frequently motivate genuine humanitarian endeavors.
Four Steps To Handle A Transgression
1) Sincere Repentance — You are sorry for the act (not sorry just because the act was found out) and will do your best not to do it again.
2) Confession — It doesn't matter who you speak the words to; the confession is really the action of taking responsibility. It is returning to source and dropping all the justification. "I did it."
3) Amends or Reform* — To make amends is a personal sacrifice to repair or make up for a transgression. The person who has to be satisfied and feel that the sacrifice is equal to the damage done is YOU. If there is a disagreement as to what fair amends might be, consult a neutral party. If amends are undertaken to restore your status in a group, the adopted codes of the group or the general expectations of the members must be satisfied.
* Amends is not punishment, though it may contain an element of self-sacrifice. A successful amends results in personal realizations that create a desire to change one's transgressive behavior. That is the "reform" part.
4) Realignment with your own intuition — When the pressures of justifying viewpoints and protecting identities (how you have to be) are sufficiently reduced, you grow quiet and relaxed. In this stillness you intuitively know the direction in which your happiness and continued growth lay. And even if it means leaving your comfort zone, this is the direction in which you should steer.
These are the steps of an enlightened justice procedure. They can apply only to people who desire to restore their own personal integrity. You can't legitimately force them onto another. They are a gift of opportunity. Whether or not they should be done, and how they are done, is determined by a person's own sense of what is honorable. When done sincerely, they restore a happy life.
You notice that punishment does not enter the picture. Honest people —people who are sincere about their own spiritual development and enlightenment—do not require punishment to correct their transgressions.
Once you experience the power of freedom that comes from completely handling the self-disempowering aspects of a Transgression-Kept-Secret, you will never hide one again. If you would not intentionally cripple your body with heavy shackles, why would you cripple your mind with fears of being found out?
The steps are easy: 1) I'm really sorry. 2) No excuses, I did it. 3) I'm going to make it my number-one priority to repair the damage that my actions have caused. 4) I will, hereafter, responsibly follow the guidance of my own intuition.
An often asked question: I know it's best to make up the damage I have done to the person I have done it to, but what if the person has died?
The answer: You can still make it up by performing a genuine humanitarian service. Assist others. All life is connected. Your own intuition will tell you when your debt is paid. People who mistake or can't recognize their own intuitive guidance have not completed steps 1, 2 and 3. Their spiritual growth is self-limited.
Hidden agendas range from a desire to fulfill selfish interests at the expense of others to mean-spirited evil that intentionally causes misery to others.
For the most part, the more destructive the hidden agenda, the more likely the person lacks the necessary sense of honor to self-correct. They justify their actions and leave people in confusion. They are difficult to understand, because there is so much that they are not saying. What they say and what they do may be completely opposite.
Anytime an individual, or especially a group, undertakes something, they must have a means of identifying and restraining the nonaligned person with a hidden agenda. Otherwise the enterprise is likely to be sabotaged. Many company failures can be traced to a single person who was operating with a hidden agenda.
When you are responsible for steering a group endeavor, the wrong way to handle a person with a hidden agenda is to tolerate them. This is one of the few times in life when tolerance leads to a worsened situation. People with hidden agendas should be confronted and given a brief opportunity to align; otherwise they should be invited to leave. If they are unwilling to leave, their intentions and the consequences of their intentions should be frankly and openly questioned by the group.
A person's hidden agendas will resolve only when they are completely capable of handling their Transgressions-Kept-Secret.
If you discover that you have a hidden agenda, the best thing you can do is to openly and honestly align it with the purpose, means, and values of the group's stated agenda. This requires some discussion, possibly some compromises, and enough mental flexibility to predict broader consequences and see all viewpoints. Differences in viewpoints, purposes, and goals are destructive to a group only when they are hidden.
Diversity can actually strengthen a group, but it must be a matter of common knowledge, rather than a hidden influence.
Consequences Of Behavior
Have you ever been with a friend, and both of you are chattering away about all sorts of stuff. Both of you are flexible. You can share secrets and talk about transgressions, and there is understanding and honesty. No hypercritical judgments. Very similar to the atmosphere of realness that is found on The Professional Course.
Suddenly your friend's mother walks into the room.
Your friend has a lot of Transgressions- Kept-Secret from Mommy. (Don't we all?) What happens?
Suddenly the conversation becomes very guarded. Your friend switches from a flexible consciousness into
a fixed identity. The mother says something, and your friend is very critical. "Oh, Mom, that's just your opinion. I hate it when you talk like that."
Notice the spontaneous primaries that your friend is making: "That's just your opinion," and, "I hate it when you talk like that." Can you imagine the experiences these primaries would create?
What your friend really means to say is, "Go away, Mom. Your presence is robbing me of my freedom to be honest." But even this near-truth is a self-disempowering viewpoint, because he is placing the source of his freedom to be honest in Mom's universe.
When you criticize someone else for how you feel, you're handing them your source. You are letting them make your primaries. When you feel you have to keep a transgression secret from someone, you're handing them your source.*
* The corollary here is if someone blames you for the way they are feeling, just accept the blame. It makes you more powerful and them less powerful. If they keep blaming you for how they feel, turn them into your slave. (That last part is a joke.)
So if your friend's mother doesn't leave the room, your friend will. Why? Because it is uncomfortable to be around people with whom you are afraid to be honest. It appears that they steal your source, but the truth is that you give it to them.
The more Transgressions-Kept-Secret a person has, the less flexible their consciousness becomes, the fewer options they can consider. Secrets harden consciousness into a pseudo-righteous identity with fixed opinions and beliefs. And these beliefs seldom create an experience that a person would prefer. This fixed identity creates an ego to protect it and make it right. Once this happens, a person begins to lose the ability to explore all but a very limited scope of consciousness. Remembering actual events becomes painful, so they create a false past. They imagine and project rather than remember. Then they wonder where all the secondaries(*) are coming from.
* secondary: 1. an unintended creation that is triggered by the creation one intends 2. an effort or intention concerned with how a primary is, was, or will be received 3. an effort to monitor or modify the origin point or receipt point of a communication 4. something that is there other than what is knowingly being created 5. an unaligned effort
A person with TKS has trouble suspending judgment. This will create areas in their life that will
not respond to the CHP(*). They are unwilling to fully experience certain creations, unable to label them without judgment. In place of discreation, they resist—like oak trees—waiting for death to blow them over. To quote from ReSurfacing®: "No amount of punishment or humiliation is worse than the suffering
we create for ourselves by being dishonest."
* CHP: Creation Handling Procedure, an advanced exercise from The Avatar Materials that describes the operation of awareness in the universe.
TKS rob people of their freedom, because they are not free to be completely honest with others. They fear the consequences of punishment, embarrassment, and rejection. So they give their source away. And it all began with the decision to hide their transgressions rather than to treat them as mistakes, fix them, and learn from them.
Looking Beneath The Criticism
Let me describe a scenario that has repeated itself dozens of times with Masters. First they commit a transgression that violates their alignment with Star's Edge, and then they decide to keep it a secret. That is a stupid decision. Do you have any idea how much effort it takes to keep a secret from 50,000 aware Avatars?
Second, keeping the secret makes them feel uncomfortable around other Masters and Avatars. So they separate from the network. The Transgression-Kept-Secret has been conveniently forgotten. They are concealing from themselves the real reason that is motivating their departure. And as they misunderstand their own motivation, their life begins a downward spiral. (This is a further insight into Living Deliberately Chapter Eleven, "A Private Talk On Honesty.")
Third, they make up lots of good reasons and explanations for their departure, but none of them has anything to do with the TKS. The ex-Master's opinion of Star's Edge, or Avatar, or Harry Palmer becomes an asserted fixed opinion that creates an inflexible area of consciousness. They cannot comfortably explore or integrate their experiences into the rest of their life. They justify their own lack of loyalty and commitment by saying how awful Avatar people are, or how mean Harry is, or how unfair Star's Edge is, e.g., "The only thing they care about is money," or, "Why are they trying to keep everything so secret?" or, "They're just trying to run everybody's life." Remarkably, the criticism is almost always a camouflaged confession of their own TKS.
The logic behind the criticism is this: If they can reduce the status and importance of Star's Edge, the damage of their transgression is less significant. It is a much less significant transgression to steal a dollar from another thief than it is to steal a dollar from a saint. So they create the belief that Star's Edge is really a dishonest organization, and thus their sin is minimized. In fact, if Star's Edge failed, folded up, and disappeared completely, they would feel quite happy and satisfied. They can't just walk away and appreciate the experience. The TKS motivate them to separate and criticize. The majority of these people love feuds and vendettas and will readily rally to the support of anyone who is critical of Star's Edge (or any other target of their criticism). And underneath it all is this hardened consciousness, fixed and pseudo-righteous viewpoint created by the Transgression-Kept-Secret. In the worst cases, this pseudo-righteous viewpoint becomes so fixed that its motives become a hidden agenda that justifies all manner of lies, deception, and destruction.
Whenever you see someone engaging in unhelpful or unrequested criticism against anyone or anything, realize that they are engaging in a campaign to minimize their own sins.
One, two, three. Transgression-Kept-Secret. Separate. Criticize. One, two, three. It's a demonstrable pattern of human nature. Understand this pattern, and you will not only sort out the mysteries of human behavior, you will gain an insight into the decay of whole societies.
If you ever run into any of these critical ex-Masters, steer their attention away from their criticisms into a discussion of their own transgressions against the target of their criticism. "What did you do?" You will be amazed at how easy it is to salvage most of them. A few minutes of tears and embarrassed confession, and suddenly their life comes back on track. They're free. Flexible again. It is quite the miracle.*
*In a few cases, instead of the miracle, you may get an emotional blow-up and psychotic break. Just recognize that responsibility has a poisonous effect on a few.
Here Comes The Sun
The goal in handling Transgressions-Kept-Secret is to become completely honest with yourself.(*) This means to become flexible about the rightness or wrongness of your own opinions and beliefs. This uncompromising self-honesty has the effect of transforming a solid world that was being viewed critically into a flexible world of possibility. It's good to be free of TKS.
* Learning how to fully handle Transgressions-Kept-Secret is an early assignment of The Wizard Course. Essentially it consists of the four steps described in this article along with discreates of the pain and embarrassment of exposure.
The fault was not that Adam and Eve committed a transgression by eating an apple from the tree of knowledge. The fault was they tried to hide it.
When God showed up and asked who ate his apple, Adam pointed his finger at Eve. Eve pointed her finger at the snake. The snake would have blamed the rat, but it didn't have a finger to point. So the poor snake had to take the blame. But God wasn't fooled. He punished them all.
What do you think would have happened if Adam had stepped forth and said, "God, I'm sorry I ate your apple. I did it, and it's my responsibility. I will make it my number-one priority to make it up to you by tending your garden and raising my children to praise your name."
Because Adam didn't say it, we all have to keep saying it to each other. "God, I'm sorry. God, I'm sorry. God, I'm sorry."
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