Truth. Yours or Mine?

December 30, 2008 at 1:45 am Leave a comment

by Lauren Kennedyhttp://www.InsitetoExcellence.com

“Knock. Knock.”

” Who’s there?”

” Truth.”

” Truth Who?”

” Mine or Yours?”

And there in lies the dilemma. And the source of immense conflict.

We like to think that truth is absolute, explicit, definite, unambiguous and most of all knowable. But what is truth? Are there universal truths that apply to everyone and everything, at all times, in every situation, rigid and inflexible? How do we know if something is, in fact true?

Following are the dictionary’s various definitions of truth.

* “Something that is factual.”

* “Something that is generally believed to be true.”

* “A fact or concept that is scientifically proven.”

* ” Conformity to a certain standard or law.”

* ” Something that corresponds to reality.”

* “A religious truth.”

But none of these definition unequivocally define a truth. Instead, they describe the methods that we use to validate a particular truth, or more accurately, a belief. Each of these methods are fallible, influenced by society’s views, upheld by those in power,or a mater of perception, control or convenience.

For instance, at one time Europeans  generally believed that the world was flat. That was “something that is generally believed to be true.” Go too far and you fall of the edge of the earth they would say. Many people thought Christopher Columbus was sailing to his doom.

“A religious truth” was stated to be that the sun revolved around the earth. Anyone who dared to disagree was subject to prosecution. Therefore, that definition  can also be fallible.

How about “conformity to a certain standard or law”? At one point in time, the standard and law in the south was that slavery was acceptable. Many people conformed in their beliefs and actions to the idea that slaves were sub humans, deserving no more respect than livestock. In time our laws matured enough to outlaw slavery. Unfortunately, some people have been slow to evolve or expand their perception and understand the spiritual principle of different but equal.

Let’s look at those ” things that correspond to reality.” At one point in time people believed that their own misfortune was the result of their neighbor, the witch. They were so certain of this reality that they eagerly sent one neighbor after another to the pyre without a second thought or moment of remorse. Conviction after conviction, sentence after sentence was carried out with no evidence, simply someone’s claim that their own misfortune must have been caused by a witch. And then they pointed the finger at someone they knew, one of their neighbors, relatives, the strange person in the village or someone who was an inconvenience or annoyance to them.

We may not burn witches at the stake, but we  still seem to seek revenge as a way to ease the pain of a tragedy or react with fear in an attempt to control something that we find threatening.

Even scientist have had to revise the “facts that they thought had been scientifically proven.” When I was in grade school, I asked the teacher how long ago  South American and Africa were joined together. She told me I had an over active imagination. Continents were way too large and heavy to move.

It always amazed me that scientists,  could categorically reject the obvious based on their inability to explain it. Everyday scientists are discovering new information that dispels some of their most dearly held convictions.

Misleading is Untruthful

Another problem with facts as truth is this. If I chose, I could recount a situation or incident to you, giving you the facts, never uttering a false word, and still lead you to a false conclusion. Now, consider the public relations advisers, the spin professionals, who aren’t concerned if  a minor untruth slips in now and again. They can  have you skipping down the Yellow Brick Road ready to ambush the  Big Bad witch with nothing but the the shiny ruby red shoes they sold you to put on your feet.

Our Five Senses Are Limited

Many people still hold to the concept that reality is what we can see, hear, taste, smell or touch. If it doesn’t register with one of our five senses, it doesn’t exist. This is amazing in the era of atom bashing and quark detection (subatomic particles that scientist can’t even see). So how do they know they exist? Consider the air on a still day. You can’t see, hear, taste, touch or smell it, except perhaps on a hot day in New York during a garbage strike. But if you look at a tall tree, you will notice that its leaves at the very top are slightly swaying. In the same way, scientists know that quarks exists by the reaction and results that they observe when smashing particle together at incredible speeds.

Some dogs can  smell cancer cells long before our sophisticated instruments can detect them. Birds can see radiation the same way that we see color. Before technology, humans were unable to see or detect  that part of the light spectrum. Does that mean it didn’t exist? Of course, if they were avid sun bathers, they did notice the effect of some parts of the invisible light spectrum.

Other animals can detect the earth’s magnetic force, a useful sense for navigation when you don’t have hands to hold a compass. And what about people who are colorblind and can’t differentiate red and green. Does that mean that those colors don’t exist? Are the rest of us  are just imagining them, or dreaming them.

Religious Truths

Religious truths are a real quagmire. Everyone thinks that their sacred texts, and their interpretations are the ultimate truth. Many of these stories were  passed for years from one person to another by word of mouth until they were finally transcribed. Have you ever played telephone? The quagmire gets deeper still, when one considers translation, colloquialisms, and the writings that were omitted, at least from the Bible, for reasons of control, power, bias, by the early clergy to gain power and control for their version of religious truth.  The first to fourth century religious elders and popes were more concerned about obtaining a power base and choosing scriptures and interpretations that validated their traditional social views, than they were about ensuring that the spirit and message of the word of Christ was accurately preserved.

The fact is that most of the ideas or concepts that we label as truth are actually beliefs, not facts, hence not the truth. None of the dictionary’s definitions actually define truth. They just describe our system for proclaiming that something is the truth at a particular point in time.The problem is that facts change, our version of reality changes, laws and standards change, society changes and different religions have  different versions of the truth.

The Best Definition

The best definition that I discovered, the one that has the potential to come closest to the truth was this: “An accurate account or description of alignment, setting, position or shape.”

But once again, this definition is also subject to error. Giving an accurate account depends on what we perceive. As mentioned earlier, we can only perceive what our senses detect. A dog may hear something that we cannot or an eagle may see something we could not. Unfortunately, we can not understand other species’ language, although our pets, with inferior intellectual capacities (according to our truths),  have learned to understand some of ours.  Hence we are unable to benefit from the information they gather with their more acute senses.

Perception Obscures the Truth

The next obstacle is our mental perception. We often only see what we expect to see. In addition, we make assumptions about what we see, based on our experiences, our beliefs, our attitude, our fears and our biases. These assumptions can occur automatically and lightening quick, so we are not aware of the process. By the time the situation registers in our conscious brain, some information may be excluded, some information inferred, and some created. But to our mind, it is what happened, it is the truth.

Are you beginning to see the dilemma? And just to really make your head spin, consider this. If we really create our life situation as some beliefs suggest, and if human consciousness influences the world, world situations, and even DNA, then may be we are constantly creating a new reality. According to the dictionary one definition of truth is reality. If we are indeed creating new realities, then are we also creating new truths?

How does one make choices when truth appears to be plastic and malleable, debatable, changeable  and unknowable?  How can truth be a fixed, unchanging declaration, when  the basis for truth, reality, is subject to change? And it not only reality that may be subject to change, our perceptions definitely change moment to moment.

Honesty Is the Best Policy

Honest communication can eliminate much of the confusion and misinformation that occurs, even if we have yet to discover the ultimate universal truths. Truth and honesty, in practice,  are not necessarily the same thing. I can inform you of a situation, perhaps a new policy coming up for a vote, or relay a description about a course of action that someone followed, etc. I can present the facts, never uttering a falsehood, but still (intentionally or otherwise) lead you to a false conclusion or impression. I have been technically and legally truthful. But I have still been dishonest, manipulative and deceitful. So that is a practice that I avoid, however tempting or superficially self serving it may appear to be.

The Benefits of Rigorous Self Honesty

The discipline of rigorous self honesty is a powerful practice that brings clarity, insight and direction to my life. This means that I am honest with myself and others about my intentions and motives. I don’t mislead myself or others about my true motives in order to make a good impression, manipulate opinion, or control behavior. Engaging in emotional blackmail by instilling fear, guilt or power plays is equally dishonest.

Honesty includes living with authenticity and integrity, meaning that my choices, decisions and behaviors are congruent with my principles, priorities, beliefs. Rigorous self honesty also includes acknowledging my true feelings, needs and fears.  To accomplish this level of honesty requires present moment awareness, courage and objective self observation.   My record is far from perfect, and discovering my true feelings, needs and intentions has been a difficult and sometimes painful feat a for a woman that spent over half her life playing  a academy award version of Pollyanna meets superwoman. For a time, I had even believed  that I didn’t need anything or anybody and that I was never angry.

Our true feelings  are often inconvenient, contrary to society’s  image of a strong, responsible and positive person, triggering our sense of vulnerability. But we have been sold a pack of lies. It takes a far more courageous and much stronger individual to acknowledge their own truth than it does to avoid and resist it by substituting pretty thoughts and acceptable emotions. When we avoid, dismiss, deny, or cover our feelings they are not eliminated .

What we resist, persists, and that includes our feelings.

In order to become who we want to be, in order to reach our potential, we must first acknowledge, accept and experience who we truly are. To remodel a house, I must first understand what I want to change, what I want to keep, what elements work and which do not. I must uncover the cracks in the foundation, the leaks in the pipes, the mold in the basement. I  can choose to remain unaware of them, and just apply a quick coat of paint and a positive attitude, but the cracks, leaks and mold will eventually topple the structural foundation around me.

We do not change what we refuse to acknowledge.

We may not agree on what is “The Truth,” but we can discover our own inner truth, the truth of who we are. Then through objective observation we can discover and fix the cracks, mend the leaks and eliminate the harmful mold within.  If we refuse to honestly experience and release our feelings, if we resist honestly acknowledging our true motives and hidden agendas, those  lies will destroy our inner foundation. When we ignore, cover up or deny  our feelings, priorities, motives, and needs,  we loose our connection with our true source of wisdom.

We resist acknowledging those personal truths,(feelings, intent, motives) that we judge to be negative. But their existence will not be denied. In our attempt to ignore them or cover them up, their energy(that we have judge to be negative) simmers inside and grows in strength. The more we resist it, the more our own truth persists in its need for expression and release. Eventually, in spite of our best efforts,  it will surface through emotional outbursts, compulsions, justifications, compromised principles and emptiness. The truth that we are trying so hard to control, deny, and avoid experiencing will eventually control and destroy us unless we begin to embrace the truth of who we are being.

Our feelings hold a wealth of information. Acknowledged, experienced and released, they dissipate quickly and thus have no energy to attract negativity. Observing our feelings, motives, intentions,and fears, informs us of the cracks in the foundation that need healing, identifies the fears that leak in and obscure our perceptions  and reveals the mold that is blocking us from expressing our truth, our essence, our spirit.

Feelings are the language of our Soul. And that may be as close to a source of truth as we may be able to achieve. So why do we regularly avoid or ignore our personal path to our truth?

Honesty is Living Our Own Truth

I don’t have to know “The Truth” to be  honest in my interactions  with life, with others and with myself. If I am true to my priorities, purpose and beliefs,  if I consciously choose to live and express the truth of who I am, if my focus is authenticity and integrity , then I will never live a lie. As I grow, my priorities and beliefs may change. My truths may even evolve and expand.  But by adhering to the principle of self honesty, I will never live a lie.  And I will have lived my truth.

Each moment that we choose to be honest and authentic, we are living our truth.  And by focusing on our own inner truth, we will know and recognize The Truth when it comes to knock on our door.

“Knock. Knock.”

” Who There?”

” Honesty.”

” Honesty Who?”

“I am honestly living my truth.”

You have the right and responsibility to live yours.

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Entry filed under: Piority, Motive and Intention. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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Our life is an evolving creation, shaped by our choices, colored by our desires, and lightened or darkened by our intentions.
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