Tag Archives: Truth

What is Truth

Today, on the long commute home from work, I started pondering the core reasons I first became interested in spirituality. Why did I dive down this rabbit hole? What was my goal?

And I came up with two:

  1. As a means of coping with the mental health challenges
  2. In the pursuit of truth

Given that as my mental health challenges subsided I still continued on this quest, I will focus on the second reason as the constant. Pursuit of truth.

As I continued the first thought that came to me was a common piece of spiritual advice that I had heard on many occasions, and in many forms. It was to stop believing your thoughts. To stop thinking that whatever your mind says is automatically true. So if I am earnest in my pursuit of truth, and I heed this advice, I should cease to continually pour so much energy into the obsessive examination of my own thoughts.

As an experiment I convince myself momentarily that my mind has nothing to offer in this spiritual quest. As this paradigm takes hold I find myself retreating from my familiar home in my head and my focus diverts to my immediate surroundings. My environment starts to feel fuller and sense of calm begins to develop. Simple items near me start to gain depth. I postulate the following idea: what if the most obscure item in my car provided a more profound gateway to the truth than my mind could ever conjure. Unfortunately, but predictably, this feeling doesn’t last. There is far too much momentum in my habitual thinking.

But why do I even want to know the truth? Why bust my ass to find something so elusive?

My initial answer is to enable a life well lived. I had thought that in knowing the truth I could then make the right decisions to shape my life in the most desirable way possible. But if the greatest spiritual teachers tell me that my mind is not a source of truth, my idea of ‘knowing the truth’ does not make sense. It reduces something as divine as truth to just more ego stuff.

Perhaps truth, and a life well lived, are actually one in the same.

If access to the truth is found in the present moment, and living life in the present moment is the object of the spiritual quest then they are in fact inseparable. I can’t use the truth to find my purpose, truth is my purpose.

 

Image Courtesy of ‘Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock.com’

Obsessing Over the Question – Who Am I?

Now THIS is something that I know about! Quickly to start, here is a truncated list of the many different ways I have sought to learn more about myself:

Having completed all of the above and still finding myself without a solid understanding of who I am sure seems to be a classic case of paralysis by analysis.

Valuing self awareness as I do I am forced to question my whole approach. From a spiritual perspective this constant pursuit of figuring out who I am, under the pretext that it can help me live a better life, keeps me entirely out of the present moment and intensely focused on some future state. It is the ego trying to leverage spiritual knowledge to make life better for the ego.

My current gratitude practice is definitely something that I can improve. Is my current life so terrible that I must use all of my energy making things “better”?

Obviously it is not.

I have a healthy family. I have a steady, well paying job. I have friends. I have a roof over my head. I have more luxuries than 99.9% of the planet. And I live in one of the safest countries on the entire planet.

Now, perhaps being in such a privileged position has burdened me the responsibility to make the most of it. Contrarily, if the energy I bring to my daily interactions leans towards negativity because of this burden than a life well lived may be the best course of action.

My needs are simple. I want to laugh. I want to feel safe. I want to live a happy healthy life.

Additionally, this tendency towards obsessive self assessments seems more suited for someone in the pursuit of extreme success. The presence of this proclivity in me may be largely influenced by the incessant social media narrative of the same theme.

But, truthfully it doesn’t seem very appropriate for someone like myself. Success of this nature would certainly bring with it more stress, and I am certainly not known for my innate ability to handle stress!

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Knowing Yourself is the Key to Knowing Others

It has been a while since I posted anything on this particular blog but after a lengthy phone discussion with an old friend I have been inspired to reignite the examination of this side of myself. Perhaps the truth of the matter was that I never stopped on my journey.

Challenge

My biggest challenge in life, as it has always been, is figuring out exactly how to interact with the world. I possess strong opinions and a desire to engage, but I always feel inadequate when expressing myself. And the ideas that I am trying to unleash remain trapped within my brain.

Additionally I feel a simmering urgency to get involved as it is incredibly frustrating witnessing how people interact with each other on social media. It is absurd that so many people hold on to their ideas with such a unwavering certainty when even a cursory examination of spiritual principles could cast enormous doubt upon any perspective.

Fear

However, I believe there is an underlying shadow of doubt that is feeding the divisive world that we find ourselves in. People are subconsciously realizing that the paradigm upon which they base their value system is dissolving beneath their feet. And with the desperation of a drowning swimmer they cling to the familiar, no matter the evidence laid before them.

If I claimed 2+2 = 5 no one would react so strongly in denying that untruth. One would simply know it’s wrong and move on. But when foundational ideas about the very way you live your life are challenged…. you get loud, you get angry, and you certainly don’t go down without a fight. There are examples everyday of people experiencing this huge identity crisis. 

In no place is this more apparent than in the social media trend called ‘Cancel Culture’. This draconian and unforgiving practice reeks of fear. It requires a person to completely disregard their own flaws, while highlighting, as paramount, the perceived failings of another and ultimately punishing them harshly for it. And all of this based on a minimal amount of information.

Temptation

The temptation I feel is to respond equally as harshly to those promoting cancel culture as a useful approach to improving the world. But the unfortunate irony is that in doing so I am becoming the very thing I am most passionately opposed to. The upside is that perhaps in understanding more deeply what I need to transcend this anger I gain an understanding of what others need. And I believe this element is at the core of my spiritual journey.

Understanding the essence of who I am, in turn means I understand others. And within this understanding is the gift of truly being able to make a difference in this world.

 

Photo Courtesy of: De Visu/Shutterstock.com

 

Gnōthi Seauton (Know Thyself)

In all honesty, my spiritual journey has brought me further away from knowing my true self than I ever could have possibly imagined. Since discovering that this incredible dimension exists I have adapted so many more labels that simply hamper the entire process. Labels like:

I should be non-reactive

I should be calm

I should just be

I should be forgiving of everyone

I should be wise

I should not be superficial

I should not judge others

I should be accepting

I should allow others to be as they are

I should be deep

I should not be anxious

So when any feeling should arise that was on contrast to the “rules” above I would use spiritual techniques to try and defeat that feeling. I would struggle to be transparent to negativity, to ignore those anxious feelings and be present, to always look beneath the surface of the person who was annoying the shit out of me, and to be uncaring that my favourite sports team got eliminated from the playoffs.

The experience of being spiritual became another prison. I went all-in on a way of life that was supposed to lead to freedom but I was sadly mistaken.

I have found that any behaviour, or thought, that denies my true nature is as harmful as an act of hatred. It is a poison that seeps into every corner of my body. It is this image of the spiritual person that is the problem. Sitting cross legged, with their hands resting on their knees, holding a steady mood no matter what comes their way, repeating some mantra meant to clear the mind.

I want to foster a new attitude. An attitude that accepts everything about me. An attitude that says that I don’t ever need to change. Truthfully, the spiritual person is every person. As they are. It is not about denying your form. It is about knowing it, and honouring it.

Pay attention. Be aware. Get to know yourself.

But don’t you dare apply any self-knowledge as another means to create change! As if you need to improve? Upon whose authority will you deny the billions of years of evolution that led to who, and where, you are right now. The real spiritual life, as I see it, is to carry-on fully engaged in this world of form, but with an added intense awareness of the mind-body form.

The mind-body has likes, desires, skills, a sense of humour, fears, emotions, faults, loves. Really it has the entire spectrum of what it means to be alive.

In spiritual circles they often speak of transcendence. Transcendence is not the achievement of an enlightened state where this roller coaster of experience doesn’t happen anymore.

It is surrendering to the ride.

Love with all of your heart. Acknowledge your fears. Use your skills. Have a good laugh. Let this form run the show, because really you’re not in charge anyways.