It’s a word filled with complications nowadays. A word that triggers fierce debates and even fiercer fights. A word that seems good on the outside, but inside creates controversies and builds other words of anger, distrust, and hatred. It’s a word too many cannot agree upon.
Truth, we say, the truth shall set you free – and yet, the truth seems malleable, elastic, shapeless, formless at times. How can something we cannot prove set us free? If you cannot prove what you believe is true, how can it possibly free you? In fact, all it does is trap you. Traps you into an endless nightmare of questions and anxiety over what is real and what is not.
Truth we think is always one thing, always something solid that we can firmly plant our feet on and ground ourselves in. But then others look at what we’re standing on and see us as sinking in shifting sand, even though we feel stable. And we look at them and think the same things of them. Their truth and our truth are at odds with each other, and all we can see in the other’s reality is not truth, but misinformation and lies. Yet they will insist the opposite is “truth.” That we are the ones misinformed.
So where is the truth in all that?
I think I have found another guru, philosopher, or shaman who will be able to guide me with truth. I believe in a religion and the god(s) of that religion to take me into truth. But then I find alternate stories, alternate realities, alternate “truths’ shared with me that, even if I don’t believe them, others whom I respect do – or even the shaman, guru or philosopher I’d come to respect does – and now I am the one standing in shifting sand, not knowing who or what to believe. And so I end up believing no one and nothing.
But then I think: this person is perhaps saying one or two things I really do not agree with or believe. However, they have also said ten other things I do agree with and believe. So where does that leave me?
Would I want others to throw out everything I say simply because one or two of the things I’ve claimed or said or believed didn’t sit well with them or they disagreed with me about?
Perhaps, as strongly as I held that belief, I come later to discover I was actually misled, misinformed or just plain wrong about it? How would it make me feel knowing others rejected me and all I had to say, even the things which held up, even that which I know they and I had actual accord and agreement upon, because of that one thing that came between us?
How would that make me feel…
… thinking that the only way others would listen to me would be if I were to be totally correct and totally right one hundred percent of the time?
I mean, even I know I’m not right one hundred percent of the time, as much as I hate to admit it. I’m right maybe ninety percent of the time… and I am laughing at myself as I write it, joking, knowing even that’s not “true” either. The odds are good that my accuracy level is much lower than I think it is.
And how heartbroken would I be if I had rejected another because of a belief they had over something they thought was true that I felt just as strongly was not – only to find out later they were right, and I was wrong? And how embarrassed by my own hubris and arrogance?
So I have to reconsider my attitude towards truth, and towards those whom I believe are not in alignment with it.
Because perhaps they believe or say things that I totally disagree with and think is not true – but what if they also believe and say things I do agree with? If I am to throw away all they say and believe because of that one thing that I feel very deeply and directly isn’t true, what does that say about the things I agree with them about? Shouldn’t I throw those things away as well?
Shouldn’t I be questioning myself about them, and about my own beliefs and thoughts? Shouldn’t I be reconsidering every single thing I agree with them about and decide that those things actually must NOT be true after all, even if I am deeply embedded in the idea that they are true?
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I mean, isn’t it hypocritical of me otherwise?
I say to others about leaders and politicians and spiritual guides whom I like, trust and believe in, a leader who may have said or done something out of alignment with my beliefs, but are otherwise someone I completely support and vote for – I say to others about those leaders;
“Hey, give them a break! They’re human and won’t get it right all of the time! They’re human and allowed to change their minds! They’re human and make mistakes! They’re human…”
But when it comes to those whom I’m not invested in, or who are on the other side of the camp from me, I will point fingers accusingly and say;
“You see? You can’t believe a word that comes out of their mouths! That’s wrong, and so everything they say and do must be wrong! You cannot trust them! They don’t speak the truth!”
The truth is…
this is simply dividing not just us…
This kind of judgment, this kind of black and white thinking, this kind of “either they’re all wrong or all right” attitude divides me inside. Because if I feel this way, and then choose to listen to or follow someone – only to have that someone suddenly say a thing that completely goes against my grain or sets me off or I simply, quite honestly, for a fact know is not true – I find myself feeling betrayed. And then I find myself torn up inside because I find myself unable to trust anyone.
My judgment of those, especially those in leadership positions, especially those who call themselves (or others call) philosophers, gurus, spiritual leaders, shamans, guides, or any other kind of person who claims to be connected in some special enlightened way, causes me pain, not them. It causes me pain because it undermines my own confidence, my own ability to know whom to trust as I find I cannot even trust myself or my own intuition.
After all, here I am following along with this person, content in listening to their words and taking in their philosophies and learning from their wisdom, believing them and their connection to the universe and to spirit and to myself… and suddenly, bam. Some kind of “crazy talk” comes out, a message about something that I have long ago set aside as “nutcase” or that more recently I decided simply wasn’t true and anyone who believed it was drinking the Kool Aid… and it floors me. It undermines me. It causes me to distrust my own ability to see through the snake oil salesmen, or to believe the spiritual side of anything.
It causes me to stop believing in the magic of life.
And they’ve lost me. I tune them out. I cannot hear anything else they have to say, because I no longer trust it.
The problem is, so much of what they’ve already said, I DID agree with and believe.
And I know so much of what they’ll say in the future I will also agree with and believe.
I have to take all they offer or none at all. I cannot seem to come to a place of balance where I accept that which is offered that is in alignment with who I am and what I believe, and I set aside that which is not.
But there’s that one thing – or maybe two – that is a trigger, and because it’s a hot point right now, it’s a dividing line, it’s a thing that is causing people to suffer and want to hurt others about, it is something which immediately tells me that should I express my disagreement with them about it, I am the one who will be ostracized from their community if I voice my disagreement over it. From the spiritual community I have become a part of and to whom I’ve been attached.
And so I reflect back to them the very judgments I know I will receive should I disagree with them. Either that, or I feel I must leave in order to protect myself from the judgment I know I will receive – a judgment which is simply, again, a reflection of that which I myself am now feeling toward them.
Even should they “welcome” me in, it will be conditionally
– as a “lost soul” who still is not awake or aware according to their specifications. Or as a delusional thinker who can’t seem to see science, according to other camps, depending on which side of the coin I fall on, depending on what area of the spectrum my light shines in, depending on what particular beliefs or opinions or thoughts it is I am talking about in that moment.
There is a dividing line right now between spirit and science.
And those of us who believe in both are being forced to choose by the larger groups to decide which to believe in, when we aren’t able to separate the two nor do we want to. They are literally twins conjoined at birth that we cannot and do not want to split apart because they are reliant on one another in our minds and hearts and souls.
But there are those who tell us that if we think or believe or say one thing, then to the other side and camp we must go, even though we don’t necessarily believe or think like that camp either.
In fact, the other camp will throw us out as well, because there we are disagreeing with them also about many things they spout as truth to which we simply cannot and will not bow down.
And so we are caught in no man’s land, in a desert, alone.
With no one to trust, and no truth to hold onto but this:
That the only truth there is consists of the one-on-one interactions with those we love, and how we choose to express that love to them.
And that it is imperative in these times to learn how to accept one another even if we disagree with what their perception of “truth” is – because in reality, they are simply reflecting back to us, a “true” opposite mirror image, our own judgments, fears and assumptions.
If we cannot find our way back into love for one another, we will never find a way past the impasse of delusions and division that has come to be such a central focus in our society and the world today. We must learn to love again in order to find the truth. We must learn that Love IS the Truth.
Jesus said there is one commandment which outweighs and encompasses all the others: to love your neighbor as yourself. To Love.
Jesus also said; “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
And Jesus further said; “I am the light of the world.”
The truth is made up of life.
It is made up of light. And it is the light we see in one another, and in ourselves. It is the light that is made up of love.
There is another verse which says; “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God Is Love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
When you put it all together you see that to be “truly” spiritual, to be “truly” enlightened, to be “truly” in communion with and connected to God, or Spirit, or the All, the universe, the I Am, the One… whatever and however you choose to relate to it, it comes down to Love, every time. The truth is tied into love.
But when we focus on the divisions, when we allow ourselves to react in fear and anger and disgust and judgment of another because they say and believe and even fight for things we absolutely know not to be true, we actually have gotten ourselves out of alignment with truth in that moment. Because we are no longer coming from a place of love, but of judgment.
Love judges not. Because love sees the other in itself.
I have a sibling with whom I disagree in nearly every respect. But should they die, I would not care about whether I won them over in an argument, or whether they ever came to believe in the world or in life or in anything as I did. All I’d want to know is that they knew I loved them. And that they died feeling that love coming from me.
One day I will die. On that day I hope all I feel is the love of those around me. I know for damn certain I will not be concerned with whether I was right or they were wrong or vice versa. I will simply want to be surrounded by their love. And I will want them to know my love surrounds them even in that moment when my soul leaves my body.
So what is the truth? I’ll tell you, here it is.
Love… That is the only truth there is.
And within that love comes compassion. And within that compassion comes understanding. And within that understanding comes forgiveness.
It is time for us to stop drawing lines in the sand demanding of each other that everything we say or think or believe lines up with each other one hundred percent, or we must reject the other person completely and totally.
It is time to stop being afraid of having those, even those who are super smart, intellectual, philosophers who we think know better than us, be wrong about something. Because I don’t care how smart they are – they can be wrong. Even Einstein was wrong once in awhile.
And guess what? Even I can be wrong too. And so can you.
I am not saying that if someone is speaking out or doing something that is blatantly wrong, blatantly hurtful, blatantly untrue, you and I shouldn’t speak out against it, or at least provoke discussion about it. In fact, I am saying the opposite.
Our voices are powerful and need to be heard. We need to speak out to those whom we feel are abusing their powerful positions and using their platforms to promote things that simply and pointedly in the most logical and rational of manners unjust and simply, well, not true, and are even harmful because of it. We need to stem the tide of those lies and speak out what we know, for certain, is truth as loudly as possible in those situations.
There are obvious things such as racism and sexism that fall into that category. I marched for Black Lives that not only Matter but are important, are beloved, are treasured, are needed, are valued. I voted for and will continue to fight to preserve the rights of those I love who happen to love others of the same sexual persuasion as themselves to be able to make it a legal communion and connection recognized by the law. I believe in the truth that ALL (not just men, but ALL) are created equal and that every person deserves to live life without fear of being harassed or abused simply because of something that had to do with their birth – or even their choice.
These are truths I will fight for.
But there are the more subtle things, things perhaps not so obvious but still insidious, that must be pointed out as well at times.
Things like recognizing we are in a time where our judgments of one another are so infectious it poisons us and keeps us from the real truth of love. It is a poison of division disguised as righteousness.
It angers me when those who are in a position of leadership use that place of power to guide people into darkness.
I don’t know how to combat this. I truly do not.
And yet – I also know that I must step back and not allow their decision to create division to cause division within myself anymore.
I must get into a neutral space from where I am able to evaluate without emotion all they are saying and doing, that I might make a more informed and grounded decision as to what I believe or listen to with them, and what I do not.
This is where I can find my truth.
In that still, small quiet space.
The truth, I have found, usually has a very soft voice. It doesn’t shout at me, but will gently and calmly speak until I calm down enough to hear it.
The truth is found only when I am in that place of centered peace, of calm, of confident love. The truth is made clear to me when I allow myself to become clear within. When I clear out all the voices of dissent, anger, worry, anxiety, and fear and simply… breathe. Breathe in, exhale out, and witness the pure joy of being in harmony with everything around me in that moment.
There is a beautiful sensuality to recognizing how important and connected we are to this planet, to this ecosystem, to this life, to everything – including each other.
Every single breath we take draws in oxygen that has been expelled to the air from the plants and trees around us into our lungs, which gives us life. And every single breath we expend exhales carbon dioxide, which the plants and trees around us then breath in, and gives them life.
Our poison is their oxygen. Their poison is our oxygen.
It is important that we allow ourselves to release, to breath out, all of the poisons we hold inside us. It gives life to the universe around us, believe it or not. Just as their poisons bring life to us. It is an amazing, magical, wonderful symbiotic relationship that, when we really think about it, is crazy in it’s perfection.
This is true – the truth – of every part of our physical existence. All of our waste is some other organisms food. Even our death can create life as the natural decomposition of our physical bodies brings nutrients to the soil which causes flowers and fruits to grow.
We are meant to be here. We are part of the process and biology and balance of this planet. This is truth.
But, like every organism, we are not meant to overtake it. We are meant to be in balance with it, because as with every cell in our body, if it becomes out of balance, it becomes a cancer. It is imperative we get back into balance in order to survive. A cancer cannot survive its’ host if the host dies. It must get back into alignment with the rest of the body, or it will fail along with the overall organism.
So where am I going with this?
Back into truth. And what I know to be true.
We are meant to be here, this is true. But we are also meant to be in balance here, this is true. Ram Dass once said;
“The world is perfect as it is. So is my desire to heal it.”
As are we.
Each of us is perfect as we are. So is our desire to heal ourselves, and those around us.
So I will try to see the perfection in the other even as I vehemently disagree with them, and know that my disagreement is perfect as well. As their disagreement with me or my beliefs is also perfect. I will try to see the perfection in everything even as I work towards healing the imperfection of all around me, and all that is within me.
And as I do this, I find a funny thing happening.
I find myself able to disagree without attachment.
I find myself able to align with truth without assumption of what it really may be, without needing the other to agree with me in order to feel validated, nor needing to agree completely in every way with the other in order to validate them.
I find myself seeing those around me as a part of myself again.
I find the walls of division dissolving.
Most importantly… I find peace.
I guess the truth boils down to this: what is more important to me? Being right? Or being Love?
And here is another truth: though I am endeavoring to “be love” and defeat this division between us – I also can tell you that for all my philosophizing about this, for all I’ve written here, actually doing the work of choosing to set aside my anger, fear, resentments, and frustrations over someone whom I see as bullheaded and wrong, and loving them instead, actually allowing them to have their “truth” and their beliefs even when I “know” they are completely ignorant and drinking some seriously tainted Kool-Aid… well, it ain’t easy.
And that’s the truth as well.
But I’ll give it my best shot.
Because the truth is, we all really, honestly need to come back into a place of peace with one another, and work together again for the common good.
We really, really need to learn to love one another again.
For that is when the real healing begins. And that is when we all can finally find our truth.
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By JEANETTE DUBOIS
Jeanette is a film & tv editor, writer, director and producer who’s worked on Emmy & Telly Award winning shows, movies, and music videos for a variety of networks. She’s also a trained operatic who mostly sings to her cats now, though sometimes she expands her audience to her family & friends. She loves gardening, good books, good wine, and good conversations, preferably all at the same time.
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