The Lesson We can all Learn from Lance Armstrong Now. ~ Ben Ralston

Via Ben Ralston
on Jan 18, 2013
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Timothy A. Clary /AFP/Getty Images
Timothy A. Clary /AFP/Getty Images

Click here for videos of Lance Armstrong & Oprah.

When I was about 10 years old I was playing with a friend,

Paul, who lived down the street—and I caught him cheating in a game we played. I remember being absolutely bewildered and… furious. It made no sense to my young mind.

I went home and told my parents about it and their pride in me didn’t lessen the pain of being cheated and lied to and abused.

Truth is more important than winning. It’s also more important than reputation or friendship or career or dreams or even love. Because it’s what all of the above are built on.

Take away truth and all you have left is shadows.

Armstrong doesn’t yet get that though. He says he’s sorry, as if those two words alone have some kind of redemptive power. They don’t. They’re just words. And as much as I’d like to believe that words alone have power, they don’t. Without Truth behind them they’re just words.

I very much doubt that his newfound humility is over the wrongs that he’s done. I think he’s sorry that he got caught, and sorry that everything he lied and cheated and abused so hard for is in jeopardy.

So let him be sorry, ban him for life, take away the millions he (more or less) stole, and let’s move on, leaving him to face his shadows.

And he will face those shadows—he’ll have no choice, because the truth always catches up. It’s really all there is, and we can escape it for a while but it’s like trying to swim against the river:

The river (truth) always Wins.


Please share.

And leave a comment – do you agree? Or do you think (as many appear to do) that we should “forgive” Armstrong (whatever that means)?


About Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston is a therapist, healer, advanced Sivananda Yoga teacher, and writer. His writings have been read by millions of people and can be found on Elephant Journal, Rebelle Society, and various other portals online. He has been teaching Yoga for 16 years in hotels, ashrams, beaches, gyms and rooftops worldwide. And he runs a busy international therapeutic practice from his home in rural Croatia. Offering sessions in person or via Skype, his therapeutic work is based on healing trauma, and the tools he uses for this are varied – mainly RPT, Shamanism, and energy work. He has also developed some of his own methods, particularly in the area of abuse trauma; ‘resource state’ awareness; and boundary reconstruction. He regularly runs retreats combining Yoga and other energetic exercises with his therapy. He would love nothing more than to see you on one of these retreats, since he believes that this approach to personal development is really the only effective way of bringing love and peace to global human society. Connect with Ben on Facebook. Read more of his writing on his new website with integrated blog! Yes, he's excited about that :)


73 Responses to “The Lesson We can all Learn from Lance Armstrong Now. ~ Ben Ralston”

  1. Ben_Ralston says:

    Comment from EJ Facebook page:
    "I'm not really clear on how it is cheating if every other person you are competing against is doing the same thing. So in a field of blood doping steroid using people he, while doing the exact same thing, was still stronger and faster. What he did has no relevance since everyone he was judged against did the same. However his LYING about it is another matter."

  2. Kim says:

    100% on! Thank you for so eloquently voicing how I feel about this topic – Lance – but more importantly truth and how it is the foundation of every single thing that is Spirit.

  3. Ben_Ralston says:

    Comment from EJ Facebook page:
    "Im surprised Ben isnt a bit more forgiving …Lance has done a lot of good things for people too and he's human… I dont feel like he should be demonized …he made mistakes hes admitting them and will move on. The sport will conintue …"

  4. Ben_Ralston says:

    Very interesting comment from EJ Facebook page:
    "as i understand it—it was a lot more than a few who were doping—it was many–if not most. the entire sport is rife with it. and when we speak about this 'doping'—-lets be clear about what type of performance enhancer he was using….its not like Lance was building himself up into some kind of super human/steroidal bionic man a la Mark MaGuire or Barry Bonds…. it was mostly small doses of IPO which increase or enhance oxygen into the blood stream. most were doing this admittedly. and he became very very good at hiding it. he still won those Tours because he was the best rider out there—-not because he was the 20th best rider who took some type of methamphetimine which allowed him unfairly to smoke the competition. since most in the top tiers were doing it—he simply leveled the playing field. he trained relentlessly and was still the best rider out there. any edge these drugs gave him was minimal. i dont know….maybe its because i live in Austin, Texas….and i used to see Lance training from time to time on my daily drives in the Hill Country—in the heat and the rain etc….that i just chose to not buy into this demonization of the man. he is an admitted liar—no doubt. and got his hands caught in the cookie jar–BIG TIME–FINALLY…but from an athletic point of view—he still won those races…"

  5. Ellyn says:

    I don’t see remorse either. He talks about himself in third person as if he is removed from his own actions. I see him having no connection to his despicable actions nor to the people he’s harmed. He seems dismissive, as if all he has to do is apologize for ruining people’s lives with his lies and law suits! This is the worst come to Jesus moment ever publicized that I can recall in recent history!

  6. Suzy says:

    Yes I think he’s more sorry he got caught than he is about doing it I’m the first place. I think he was full of arrogance, hubris, and invincibility. But why wouldn’t we forgive? Who among us hasn’t done the same thing (albeit on a MUCH smaller scale)? I think we do this to ourselves – put these people on a pedestal and wrap our egos up in them and then feel bitter disappointment when they aren’t what we thought. Maybe it’s that Lance was soooo lying and sticking to his lie! Maybe we all thought there was no way he could let us down.

  7. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this issue. For me, this issue speaks to a common problem that very few of us are exempt from. I call it the happiness trap. In my opinion, the majority of us (Lance Armstrong included) are attached to something; something that we believe will give us everything we desire and make us 'happy'. Whether it's fame, fortune, love, substances, shopping, food, health, fitness, status, success, etc. etc. etc, the list goes on and on. And it is through the unconscious pursuit of the things we are attached to that we experience pain and suffering (unconscious meaning that we pursue these things without recognizing they cannot actually make us happy). We think those things will make us happy but they can never, will never, ever make us happy. Happiness…true, authentic and lasting happiness can only ever come from connecting to and knowing the 'God' within us. While we place our happiness in things that shift, change and are impermanent, we remain in a constant state of powerlessness; always fearful and insecure, hopeful that our dreams will come true so we can accomplish what it is we need to accomplish in order to be happy. On a very deep level however, for many of us, a level beneath our consciousness we KNOW the only thing that can truly make us happy is our connection to our eternal ‘God’ selves. When we pursue our passions recognizing our source of happiness is within us, we are peaceful, joyful and powerful; we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our happiness is never in the hands of someone or something outside of us. This, I believe, is the lesson each of us is faced with learning. This, I believe, Lance Armstrong is being faced with understanding. If he wasn't attached to success, fame, power, money or whatever it is he was attached to, he would never have made the choices he made. Winning would never have meant that much…he wouldn’t have ever needed it that much. It's unfortunate that he used his influence in this way however, if we all use his experience to unplug from flinging judgments and instead, get curious about our own attachments (because the majority of us have them), perhaps this experience can have a positive spin. No?

  8. MatBoy says:

    What I remember most from the interview is Lance saying he regretted making his comeback because that is what pissed off Floyd Landis and opened the can of worms. He believed he would not have been caught had he not tried to come back. He is still the same ole' Lance playing a new manipulation game with us. Will be curious to see if he really gets stripped of everything and returns to ground zero and whether he can build a new, credible life – I'm thinking Sister Theresa credible here.

  9. LynnBonelli says:

    Forgive me but I am also commenting on a few of the FB comments I read on your article. From what I understand blood doping adds oxygenated blood into one's system. As someone who has run a couple or half marathons and one full marathon, I can understand how this is actually not a MINOR issue (it seems someone implied that it was "small doses" and NOT methamphetimines, which I guess they think is worse??). Once the oxygen is depleted from your blood stream you feel fatigue, muscle cramps, total muscle shutdown (have you seen the runners who lose their ability to hold their bowels) and built up lactic acid. This not only allows you to go faster for longer but it also means you can train harder and more frequently than your competitors who are busy recovering. (cont)

  10. LynnBonelli says:

    I remember a story on Lance in which scientists were so impressed by his VOX and lactic thesholds…it was practically non-human. Recieving oxygenated blood is a huge deal…covering it up and suing others for defemation of character when you KNOW you are lying is an even bigger deal. I cannot imagine how he could look at those trophies, speak to aspiring athletes and kids, knowing he didn't win due to his own ability. I think it's sad that us 'mortals' have looked up to these athletes, work hard, read the sports science books, hired trainers in an attempt to be even a fraction "as good" as someone like Lance only to find out that he cheated…he set the bar higher than even HE could reach had he not cheated. (cont)

  11. LynnBonelli says:

    But then again, as one FB commenter wrote, perhaps we give too much credit to athletes every where…we see professional who make more money than those trying to cure cancer, provide clean water and save the whales (etc. etc). And then to find out that (some) of them do so by doping (in any form) and we are supposed to take "I'm sorry" as a way to wiped the slate clean. I don't know…I'm rambling but this whole thing bothers me. Winning shouldn't be more important than the truth…keeping secrets shouldn't come at the expense of defaming whistle-blowers. It's too little to late for me.

  12. mike says:

    hmmmmm. what about YOUR shadows Ben, What are YOU truly sorry for?
    Until we face our OWN shadows no persons sorry will ever be enough.

  13. mike says:

    Never mind Gun Control, how about 'Judgement' control!

  14. Lisa Braddock says:

    Very well said. I appreciate your comments on *many* different levels. Those who aspire to life on a higher plain while practicing deception and dishonesty will fail. Can't have both.

  15. Laura says:

    I am not that disappointed in Lance, because I never paid much attention to him in the first place.

  16. Timmy_Robins says:

    I think the guy is a textbook sociopath. Worse yet, what if he used the cancer thing to his advantage?

  17. Refreshing to read an opinion of Armstrong that doesn't drag Livestrong Foundation into the controversy.

  18. Megan says:

    Give me a break. And how is it that we don't recognize that the world is run on lies? Excuse me? A bicyclist lied for 7 of his victories?? National news. Oprah interview. Let's all have an international debate on the character of this one athlete. He is just an expression of the greater system that is in place. The Federal Reserve in USA, the banking system worldwide is every single day lying to every single person. How do they make their money? How is a debt society that enslaves made? We are so immune to the actual things that enslave us that we hardly hear any public debate on a national scale about it. However we can have our attention on an athlete that cheated. The government cheats everyday. How many billions are not accounted for in Iraq? How many billions are spent on wars where there were lies and we entered them illegally? As long as we focus on the small lies the big lies never have to be disclosed. Hello? Anybody have anything to say about the lies that keep the world turning that is destroying our freedom and financial security? Hello? Where is the uprising among the educated knowledgable base? Here is a 12 year old that tells it like it is:

  19. Ben, I am so glad to see that you wrote this for EJ. I was honestly expecting to see an article with the apologist reasoning and persistent hero worship of Lance that I've seen in the past from this website. THANK YOU for speaking the truth about Truth.

  20. Mati i says:

    I was on the shame-on-you Lance A., until I realized that I was "judging" the wrong person. Not that he wasn't wrong and remorseless to boot. But he is, after all, just one man. The fault, in my opinion, lies in all of us. The same people who propped him up and idolized him. He was a great athlete, yes (regardless of his doping); but it was us who placed him on a pedestal merely for winning races (undeservedly or not). Our priorities as a society are completely skewed when athletes (good as they may be) earn millions and teachers, and other more vital professionals, barely make enough to live.

  21. Megan says:

    No judgement intended on anyone discussing it nor on Lance. I am not a follower of sports nor sports stars however I think it's the principal that is the same regardless the subject. These flawed humans are only mirrors of our own society's dysfunction. It absolutely has nothing to do with him as an individual. As a human race we are entering an age where we are truly coming into recognition that we are all ONE. There is only one consciousness of which we are all a part. I think withdrawal from the status quo conversations going on in mainstream is only way any real Truth will be uncovered. It never will come to light with the conditioned responses and even discussions and arguing points between parties it is just an illusion of some sort of truth seeking. In Truth the only way to uncover Truth is to get beyond conditioned thinking and this whole dialog with Lance as subject is conditioned media and world level drama that keeps us from seeking the real Truth. It is the bigger picture that counts otherwise we live within the illusion of having some choice and say in what happens in the world. Did anyone notice that we as a society have the same conversation time and time again? In different forms. How many fallen stars have we had? We have the same governments in different disguise but they are still all the same. Different versions of the same paradigm. The only way to start a new conversation is to refuse to play by the rules as they have been laid out for us within the pretax of a real conversation. Part of a conditioned mind is not knowing it's conditioned.

  22. HeatherM says:

    What I remember most of his interview is when Oprah mentioned even his son was defending him. How do you explain such a 'lie' to your child? But as one news caster said and I agree, 'this is bigger than Lance.'

    And it is.

    Thanks for your article!!

  23. sara says:

    I blame him far more for the lengths he was willing to go to hide his cheating: Trying to ruin former friends and teammates, slander, threats, lawsuits…..all to keep the facade intact. Knowing as he gave his talks and looked people in the eye that not only had he cheated and lied about it, but was actually damaging people's lives as he lied about them, too. This is much more telling regarding his character and much more worthy of our judgment than how he won his races.

  24. Natalie Baginski says:

    I have been studing the yoga sutras this week, and it's interesting how the Yamas and Niyamas lay out these "observances" and "rules" for conduct, but really, one can only interpret these sutras at one's own level of consciousness. To a regular person like me, it sounds like "truthfulness" means don't lie and non-accumulation means "don't consume too much." But to one established in Cosmic Consciousness or beyond, like Maharishi Patanjali, these observances are spontaneous. Evolutionary action is natural when you are enlightened. For us normal folks, we are just doing as well as our level of consciousness will allow. Having said this, I have to agree with Ben because it's exhausting watching famous people and politicians work through their drama on TV and get attention and money and fame and book deals because they are struggling like the rest of us, but somehow it's more important than our little struggles? Everyone else is doping, it's the industry? Quit. If you love riding your bike, go ride your bike. Ride it fast, ride it hard, and enjoy it, and keep your blood and bones free from drugs and stay far far away from these people think that this kind of system is acceptable. It's not acceptable. And like any unhealthy relationship; you just leave. He could have not participated. He was so famous he could have started his own race somewhere for people who didn't want to use the drugs. I'm trying to be patient in traffic, Lance Armstrong wanted to win races…the guy next to me in this coffee shop is talking about being better at work…Lance is not special.

  25. mike says:

    It would have been more honest if this article took into account OUR personal role in this. Its interesting that the people least effected by this never really paid much attention to Lance in the first place. Lance is merely a mirror of something in all of us.
    We need to remember we are ALL vulnerable. Not everyone that cheats or lies is truly conscious of it…and I wonder what circumstances & pressure he was under. We are hard on Lance because we are hard on ourselves…lighten up!

  26. MatBoy says:

    I though the LA interviews were riveting. Although I don't watch TV, I do read a lot of classics and generally prefer fiction. Just seeing him there, watching his emotional state, how he was still trying to hold on to the old 'strongman' Lance as his world was crashing down around him. Watching him look into his future and not being able to see anything, not know how it would work itself out. It was better than anything Dostoyevsky could have written and it was happening right before our eyes. I think the story has classic value, something that can stand the test of time.

    He was still so controlled and COLD. He wants to return to competition although it ruined his, and many other people's, lives. Will he get over that and take the next step in maturity? I see it as his coming to a threshold where he will have to give up the things of his childhood and use his many talents and force of will in the greater community. Can he do it or does he just want to ride his bike around in circles faster than anyone else? Will he see the bigger picture, step down from his high position and embrace normal life like the rest of us? Can he survive his fall and truly experience and realize the freedom gained from telling the truth. Classic struggle, classic decision points. Clear archetypal value and significance for us all here. Better than fiction! It is the stuff good writing is made of.

  27. GreatNorthSky says:

    Great Controversies Always Bring Forth The Greatest Charges :: Energy That Is :: And Although There Is A Great Ebb and Flow In All The Post :: Casting The Shadow, In Anyway, Is Almost Always Dis-empowering, No Matter What :: Challenging, Hummmm, Yesss :: But There In Lays The Real SOUL Work :: There Is A Greater Play Here To See :: And Sure, It All Depends On Where We Are In Our Evolution or As Some May Express These Days, Elevation :: A Great Man Once Said ""Let He Who Is Without Sin, Cast The First Stone" :: These Incidences Always Have Lessons For All :: For They Provide Mirrors For All Of Us, If We Are Willing To Look Inward :: That's Why I Express Here "EYES ON THE TEACHER :: And In this Case Today, I Add :: EYES ON ALL THE TEACHERS :: Yesss, Thank You All For Participating and Sharing From Where You Currently Stand In Life, This Is The Beauty Of This Walk For All Of Us, Thank You For Posting This Article नमस्ते

  28. Mac Bleakley says:

    So, lets say I got the winning lottery number , as my brother works for the lottery company. He agreed to give me the number , and I agreed to give him part of the winnings. No one could ever find out.
    I get my share, spend all I can, and ,by the way ,start a foundation that saves thousands of lives in the meantime. My brother gets drunk, and brags about it, and it gets around that I won the lottery by cheating. But, there is no proof , no paper trail, nothing, that can show that I got the number from my brother. (And , by the way, I sue my brother for telling on me).
    If someone gives you the winning number, and then gives it to other people,too, but you play yours first and get all the money, are you gonna be guilty of cheating? Or are you gonna take the money and run?
    Mr Ralston, life is more important than truth! Would all those cancer survivors, because of Lance's foundation, rather be dead now , knowing that Lance got his money because he won on PEDs. Sorry, stupid question.

  29. Nancy says:

    Spot on article! Lance Armstrong is an example of self-will run riot! I remember seeing a photo he tweeted of himself lying (no pun intended) on his couch with his trophies lining the wall behind him with some cocky remark about how bullet proof he is. As a mother of one child, I cannot imagine what his five children are now faced with as their father FINALLY cops to the masquerade that has been going on for possibly most of their childhood. He belongs with the Kardashians….please let him fade to black……

  30. PamB says:

    lanced Try this analysis for another view that is deeply thoughtful without judging or forgiving.

  31. sze says:

    there may be no right or wrong as its a matter of perspective but every action there is a consequence. I guess Lance had to face the consequences of his actions just like all of us. what goes around comes around..:)

  32. Lavra says:

    Dear Ben, this is all about those cancer survivors!
    Maybe a child who got the strength from the idea of Lance to win that cancer before all this and how that child might be feeling right now. No other issue here.

  33. Lavra says:

    P.S. I tried to include all those planes of existence or wherever we might be in our evolution :-)

  34. bill romas says:

    truly in the end if there is such a "place", all there will be is Love, why wait?

  35. […] I read the caption “disgraced” under Lance Armstrong’s photo documenting the interview of him finally admitting to drug use throughout his notorious cycling career, I wondered if he would […]

  36. […] was my hero. His lack of integrity disappoints. How many times has that happened in love? He lusted after that jersey like a dope fiend lusts after […]

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