Language is tricky business. When we use the term ‘truth’ there are many possible meanings. Here, the term truth is used to mean what is ‘real’, what is actually so, not false, ambiguous or obscure. In the material world, truth means what is actual, factual, verifiable by observation and testing. This is also the case for its opposite, untruth, that which is not actual, factual or verifiable.
In the material domain all truth is relative. This is because we are separated from objective reality through the filters of our mind and senses. The senses are in fact intermediaries between us and the outer objective world. Our mind is a filtering mechanism that creates distortions based on our personal perspective. Thus, everything we know and experience is one step removed from actual truth.
When we enter the domain of philosophy or spirituality, verification of what is true or real is totally subjective and personal. The question of what is true or real becomes harder to tie down. Religions and spiritual traditions have given us their teachings; saints and poets their experiences and revelations. These have formed a basis for our inquiry. But we must remember that these come from men and women just like us. They, too, have their own subjective viewpoint based on their time, culture and capacity.
Is there then no actual truth? Is all truth relative, distorted by our subjective perspective?
What I am suggesting is that it is possible for each of us to be engaged in our own inquiry on this topic. What can we know directly in our own awareness or experience, especially in light of the fact that our lives are temporary and our happiness fleeting? Why is this? How can this be?
The Question and questions
So that leads us to the question ‘what is true’? What do we know for sure that is as close to objective fact as possible?
I suggest we start with the self-evident fact that we exist. There is nothing more self-evident than this statement. Also inherent in this fact is our self awareness. Essentially we are aware of our existence. It seems we are all, in fact, Existence aware of Itself.
So how did this happen? How did self awareness emerge? Is it just an evolutionary advantage that has made man the dominant species on the planet? Or is it a manifestation of a possibility inherent in the evolutionary impulse? How is it that we can be aware of ourselves? What, if anything, does this tell us about the Creation?
Yet to question these things is rarely, if ever, apparent to us. Why is this so? It is so self evident that we take it for granted. It is the most real, self-evident truth we could be aware us. We are like the fish swimming in the ocean looking everywhere for water.
We are each a personification of this principle of self-evident awareness, yet we are rarely aware of this fundamental fact. What does the fact that I exist and am self-aware say about the universe, the mystery of the creation and the purpose of life?
Here are some questions that arise from this paradox:
Who (or what) am I?
Why am I here?
What is real?
If the one truth is ‘I exist’ what does this say about this world and the Creation?
Does life have a purpose? If so, what is it?
How do I live?
So where do we start? It is not enough to answer these questions philosophically. We need to apply these answers to our life, to make them as ‘real’ for us as our own existence. I suggest your starting point is to ask if there are subjective factors distorting your perspective. Then ask yourself how you would know for sure if there are or not?
Delusion is the veil of our personal, subjective point of view that distorts ‘objective reality’. Science has struggled with this inherent distortion in its quest for what is true in the domain of the physical world. Psychology is struggling to do the same thing in the psychological domain, but more needs to be done in the existential or spiritual domain.
Religion and spirituality is based on the subjective experiences of a relative few men (and women) throughout history. But for those of us with no direct experience, we must rely almost entirely on the hearsay of others. All that is left is faith, belief or trust.
Modern spirituality has rebelled against these. Religion no longer dominates and this has opened the doors for people to strive for direct experience and knowledge of these things. But due to the distortions of one’s limited experiences and subjective perspectives, the question remains, are we any better off, is our truth any more true than what has already been given?
These days we can read, listen to or watch the teachings of thousands of individuals who have strived to answer these questions. But is there an objective spiritual truth that every sincere seeker comes to? Is this even possible?
So I invite you to look for yourself. What is true or real for you? Try to answer the questions listed above and see if you can come to answers from your own direct experience that are not veiled by your individual point of view. This is my challenge to you. To do so you need to apply these questions to your life, get feedback from others and test them out for yourself. See if you can objectify them, to see if your truths are real or not.
My assurance is that your sincere effort to do so will put you in touch with the reality of what you are seeking.
With love, in Truth.