What is Truth?
Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. – Wikipedia
The above definition seems to imply that ‘truth’ is subject to change, depending on what we consider as ‘fact or reality’. One example of a ‘truth’ that became subject to change relates to the discoveries of Galileo. His refutation of the ‘fact’ that the Sun revolves around the earth led to a great upheavel of what was considered to be ‘truth’ at that time. Over the centuries, science has often debunked many so-called ‘facts’ that were foundations of truths for many societies. As scientific ‘progress’ reveals more of the ‘mysteries’ of the world around us, we can be assured that a lot of what is currently considered as ‘fact’ will not stand – and that new ‘truths’ will come into play.
The second part of the definition of truth talks about ‘fidelity to a standard or ideal’. The notion of fidelity or loyalty to a standard seems to invoke the idea of “belief”. Our ‘standards’ or ‘ideals’ often come to us by way of our upbringing and the environment at home, school, and in many cases, from our religious ‘truths’. As we graduate from some of these institutions, say, move away from home or change schools or our place of work, we may find that some of these standards and ideals can change. Some of you may have even changed religions, or become ‘less religious’ over time, in which case, your ideals and standards may have shifted considerably. As we progress through life, fidelity to standards and ideals may change, because our path of self-discovery gives us courage to examine our truths more closely than we may have ever examined them before.
So, let me ask again. What is Truth? How can we understand it? Why is Truth important in our lives? How do we know that we are not operating in Truth?
From a spiritual perspective, the idea of Truth is often promulgated as a means to bring us face to face with “Reality”. The Truth that we believe in can become the instrument which elevates us, inspires us, encourages us “to stay the course” when we are faced with challenges. Some even equate the Truth with Faith – when we perform actions in the domain of Truth, we demonstrate our Faith. One manifestation of Truth is the knowing that we are filaments in the light bulb of the universe, and when electricity flows through us, we light up to share our illumination – but, we are not the electricity itself. Another manifestation of Truth can be that we are more than our “sticky” ego – the one to which all our goals, dreams, praises, hurts, memories and more seem to get stuck. Can you think of any distinct manifestations of your Truth(s) that serve to empower you?
Beyond the idea of personal Truth(s), you may have heard of the term, ‘universal truth(s)’. These universal truth(s) are more like ‘laws of nature’ or ‘laws of the universe’ that have evolved over time and are considered sacrosanct by many. Some examples are ~ ‘as you shall sow, so you shall reap’, ‘as sure as day follows night, night follows day’, ‘water finds its way to the lowest ground’ and so on. The ‘Tao Te Ching’ and ‘I Ching’ have many more wonderful examples of some of these universal truths. These universal truths are perhaps easier for most of us to assimilate and accept in our lives, because they are easily verifiable by us.
I often ask the ‘is it true’ question when I read, hear or see something that I haven’t been exposed to before. I watch my mind, my ego, my intellect for the answers that are returned. Sometimes, the answer are immediate, but often, the answer is deferred, for lack of better information. In these times, the powers of discernment and patience become my ‘close friends’ and the determination of ‘truth has to wait’. Do you experience the same?
As you reflect on the nature of Truth and Understanding and walk your Path, I invite you to consider the following:
Truth is more in the process than in the result. – Jiddu Krishnamurti
P.S. We will discuss “Truth and Understanding” in #SpiritChat on Sunday, May 31st at 9amET in our weekly chat on twitter. I hope you will join us.