She was sitting on the bathroom floor in the basement, cleaning the concrete in preparation to replace the flooring which had been damaged by a water leak. As is often the case, she is really good at “walking and chewing gum”, and so she was listening to an NPR podcast on her phone. “This is a really good one”, she said as I came downstairs to check on her progress. “They are having a really good conversation about truth”, she added in a matter-of-fact way. I wanted to listen, but her “guard dog” knew that Dad was home from work, which meant it was time to be walked.
I picked up a broom to help out a bit by sweeping the work area and to delay the walk, so that I could listen to a bit of the stream. I heard them talking about the history of truth, how it used to be communicated in the past (hint: poetry!), and the attempts of truth seekers and truth tellers in answering the seminal question – what IS truth? I only swept the floor for a few minutes before the puppy sensed my delay tactics and rushed me upstairs and straight to the front door.
It was only Tuesday, and yet, the seed for Sunday’s conversation had been planted. As most weeks go, this was a welcome early start for me, because I usually don’t figure out the week’s #SpiritChat topic until Friday or Saturday. Over the next few days, I mulled upon the topic of “truth” and the role that it plays in our lives. It wasn’t until Friday night that I had a chance to search for the complete podcast, and to my delight, I found that NPR’s ‘On Point’ has recorded a four-part series on truth (starting Feb 24) – I even found the ‘study notes’ for their first conversation.
History has a way of returning us to the beginning. If we choose to learn from history, we have an opportunity to not repeat it. History can inform individuals, communities and nations about the pathways that can move them to a higher level of awareness about the truth. History has some definitions of truth for us…
Truth is evidence-based knowledge
Knowledge can come to us through various sources, our senses being one of them. And yet, our senses can often lead us us astray, can they not? Senses can misinform us when only one of the many are engaged in information gathering and processing. Sensory information and facts need to be able to be independently validated and verified, so that they can lead us to the truth. Revelation and reason, just like spirituality and science, both have great value in defining the truth for us – what do your heart-mind think about that? How can we engage multiple senses at the same time, through multiple sources, to arrive at evidence-based knowledge?
Truth is often based on our narrative – we ignore that which does not fit our narrative because our brains understand causality (cause and effect)…
There is ring of truth to that, isn’t there? In our often busy lives, amid a pandemic of mis-trust, it is so much easier for our heart-mind complex to stay engaged with the sources that feed our current narrative. We dig deeper and deeper trenches with our rhetoric as we cherry-pick from among the truth-based facts, to stay safe within our stories. How do we get back to reason and create a new narrative based on some eternal truths?
One way to return to some eternal (truths) is to ask questions of our biased narratives. How can we engage in dialogue with those who have a diagonally opposite narrative from our our own? Further yet, how can be bring together people with diverse heart-views and mind-sets to have a fair and balanced conversation about the facts to arrive at some common truths? Maybe it is too much to ask. Maybe not. And yet, let us not stop from engaging in dialogue, regardless of what we believe in.
We can ask — what is the permanence that we we truly believe in? The answer to that question can inform our heart’s truth, guide us to the heart of truth, inspire us in our personal practice. It is in the heart’s search for permanence that the truth is often brought to light — and, like the sun, That is a light which we can freely share — even with the ones who choose to walk a different path than ours.
P.S. The basement project is currently on hold, as we try to decide on the type of flooring amid our celebrations. Meanwhile, our search for the heart of truth continues, individually and as a family. Join us on Sunday, March 1st 2020, as we celebrate some of each others’ truths in our weekly twitter chat at 9am ET / 7:30pm India. We will multilogue in #SpiritChat over tea and cookies, and maybe even some cake! Namaste – @AjmaniK
Every time I walk the path, sit on this bench, I see, hear, smell, feel, sometimes even taste something different – I view it as gathering new evidence of the truth… or is it?