Lying is also a form of stealing, just as stealing is a form of lying. It is evident that speaking falsely is wrong when it injures or deceives another person, for both are transgressions against the innate divinity of our fellow human beings. But there is much more to this Commandment than that. It, too, like the injunction against taking the Holy Name in vain, is based upon the creative power of the word.
Through the prophet Isaiah God has said: “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10, 11). Being an essential part of God’s Being, we, too, have the same power in proportion to our scope of consciousness.
Since we are Truth, whatever we say must in some way be true, even if only to an imperceptible degree. Therefore if we say something that is not in keeping with the truth of things, the vibratory force of our words begins to work a change to turn the situation about and bring it into conformity with whatever we say. Therefore every false statement to some degree weakens the very fabric of our relative existence. Whenever we say something untrue, we begin to set up a conflict within the present state of things. As a result, we fundamentally injure–or at least weaken–the world around us by false speaking.
The negativity of positivity
The same is true of many supposedly positive affirmations. To be ill and continually say: “I am healthy, there is no pain or imperfection in me,” is to lie. Therefore such affirmation will rebound on the person who uses it. (To affirm the possibility of health is truthful and produces no harmful effect.) How cautious we must be with every word we project, either through speech or thought!
Physical effects of false speech
It is commonly thought that the physical phenomena picked up by lie detectors, such as increase in blood pressure, are the result of guilty feelings when lying. This is so to some degree, but not totally–otherwise lie detectors would be useless, for those who do not scruple at committing crimes have no aversion to lying. Rather, the physical changes are spontaneous negative reactions produced by the negative energies we loose on ourselves–including our physical entity–by false statements. Those who show no such reactions are so polarized to the lefthand path that untruth is compatible with them. Once again we see that the Commandments are cautions against harming ourselves through misuse of our inner powers.
A higher side
There is another, higher side to this Commandment. It has been observed that those who are careful to always speak the truth gain much power–that whatever they say will come to be true. This is especially manifested through the ability to heal by the spoken word. So the truthful person who affirms in the correct ways will quickly transform his life. In the light of this Commandment “effective speech” takes on a whole new dimension of meaning. (See Foundations of Yoga.)
The most important facet of this Commandment is our need for perfect self-honesty. “Above all, to thine own self be true. Then it must follow as does the night the day that thou canst not then be false to any man,” wrote Shakespeare in Hamlet. But to be true to our self is just that: to be true to God Who is our only true Self–not to our petty ego-mind that masquerades as our self from life to life.
To live truthfully is to manifest our innate divinity through our life. And if we are not evolved enough yet to do that, then to live truthfully is to order our entire life to facilitate the pursuit of conscious self-evolution and the eventual revelation of our inner divinity. A major part of living truthfully is to fully accept responsibility for our life and actions and to stop blaming family, society, fate, or even karma–to acknowledge that those forces are merely tools by which our own divine wills manifest what they have willed. This acknowledgment can be embarrassing and painful, but it is the only path to truth. And truth in the ultimate sense is perfect freedom.
Read the next article in Gnosis of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes: Thou shalt not covet.