Jul 7, 2008

Posted by in Living By A Code | Comments Off on 2nd Tenet of the Code – Honor the Truth

2nd Tenet of the Code – Honor the Truth


Honor the Truth



My suspicion is most men who are new to MDI are unfamiliar with the Code of Honor.  The Code was created by the men of what was then known as the Sterling Men’s Divisions. It contains 15 different tenets.  It was intended to reflect some basic core values that all the men could rally behind, support and use as a benchmark for the ways of being we could expect from one another.  It is part of the legacy of who we are. Many men still tote around MDI cards that contain the Code on the back.  I would like to bring it back into the consciousness of all of our men.

In the late 1990s the men of the Western Region created an ark which contained 15 different pieces of wood, one for each tenet. Each stick was made of a specific type of wood and bore a specific design that reflected the way in which the men of the Western Region related to the tenets of the Code of Honor.   The ark has since made its way throughout North America and men throughout MDI have had the opportunity to connect with it.  I had the opportunity to safe guard it for a while and was moved to write a little about my relationship to each tenet.  This is the first of those tenets.


The wood that reflects this tenet is Madrone – The Madrone trees grow on hillsides, intermingled with many other species of tree.  They do not dominate their environment and from a distance are unremarkable.  They are easily overlooked.  But on closer inspection, their bark gives away a hint of the rich beautiful wood that lies within.


The symbol that best reflects this tenet is the Zen symbol for the Sun & Moon – These are universal symbols of light.  The sun projects the light and the moon reflects it.  Without the moon’s reflection there would be no evidence of the sun’s presence.  For this reason Zen Buddhism considers the moon to be the symbol of enlightenment for it captures the light and sends it outward.



The whole notion of there actually being something that is universally true is something of a lie. 


Personal truth is just like fingerprints or DNA; it is consistently unique for everyone. So if that is the case why have a tenet that asks men to honor the truth?  Well because that is exactly what it is asking you to do.  Honor the truth, not just yours but others.


So how do you get there?  Start by asking yourself a simple question, Why am I here?

From there the questions peel away like an onion.

What do I hope to get for myself?  What do I hope to give back to my family, community, the planet?  Who itch do I hope to get scratched from all this giving?   What do I really, really want?


Asking these questions is in essence what most would characterize as engaging in the search for truth.  This search lies at the heart of every religion and drives every philosophical construct.


Buddhist say that when you perceive truth, all else drops away, ego vanishes and there is nothing more than that moment.  A passage of the New Testament of the Bible says, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  It really is that simple, so long as you keep it personal.


The complications set in when you try to impose your truth on others.  Once you accept that truth is a very personal thing, you come to realize that no one person and no set of people can claim ownership to it.


All of us have experienced moments when our truth about something has become crystal clear to us, sometimes painfully so.   I know when I am there not because it resonates in my head but because it resonates elsewhere, in my heart, my guts my balls.   Suddenly I feel enveloped with a sense of clarity and for the moment I experience a feeling of exhilaration or of calmness and freedom.  Everything falls into place and I see things that I must have looked at a dozen times with a new perspective.


However, just a little word of caution, this tenet does not say “Tell the truth,” rather it says honor it. 

Sometimes it is better to hold the truth in your heart than to reveal it to someone who might not be ready to face it.


For example, when you hear the question, “Honey, do I look fat in this dress?”


So when do you speak the truth?  You can’t really pick the time, rather it picks you.   If we suddenly declared, “It is time to honor the truth.”  Each of us would unconsciously or maybe even consciously start erecting internal mazes that would make it exceedingly difficult to get to the truth.


In MDI we strive to create an environment that fosters respect for sincerity, honor and genuineness.   To create such an environment is a challenge.  In such an environment I have found there is an opportunity to learn something.  Often it comes not from something that I say or think I know but from what I hear come out of the mouth of another man.  When I am listening to another without judgment, that’s when the truth has a chance to bubble to the surface.



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