Nothing but the Truth
“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure
and never simple.”
- Oscar Wilde
I don’t know about you but one thing guaranteed to ‘get my goat’ is someone who professes to know the ‘truth’ about something and tries to force their belief on others, refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer from those who don’t care to share their ‘truth’.
Before I continue I think it’s worth exploring the concept of truth just a little.
One look at the Wikipedia entry for ‘truth’ will open your eyes to the fact that there are half a dozen or main ‘theories of truth’… and we all know that ‘theory’ means that which is not yet proven!
So is truth a universal absolute, a ‘given’? Or is it a subjective concept, dependent for meaning on the person considering it? Or perhaps it’s a relative concept dependent on the context within which it is considered? Or maybe truth is objective by nature?
Once you start to think deeply about the meaning of ‘truth’, things become a little less obvious. You see, even the great thinkers of our time struggle to agree on the meaning of ‘truth’.
I find it helpful to consider the concept of ‘truth’ in two ways.
'Collective truths' and 'Personal truths'
To me there are what I would call ‘collective truths’ - scientifically proven facts that have stood the test of time and with which we all agree. Then there are what I would call ‘personal truths’. These are beliefs about things that one, some or many of us can hold - either loosely, or with the utmost conviction - but that are not shared by all on Earth.
An obvious example of a collective truth is our knowledge that the Earth is round. The knowledge that an apple, falling off a tree, will fall to the ground due to the effect of gravity is another. On a lighter note one could add that the inevitability of death and taxes represents another!
But what about the things we believe in that are not substantiated by hard and fast, scientifically proven facts?
A ‘personal truth’, no matter how strongly held by an individual or group of individuals, is still just that – a personal truth or belief.
Not that I am saying that a personal truth is in any way inferior to - or less valid than - a collective truth. It’s just that it is... well... personal!
If we could all fully appreciate and understand this, then, in my opinion, the world would be a far more peaceful, tolerant and caring place.
Wars, arguments, marriage breakdowns, break-ups, disputes – these are all things caused by a clash in the personal truths or beliefs of individuals or groups of individuals.
So where am I going with this?
Well, I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with holding personal beliefs. On the contrary; our beliefs are what define us as unique individuals and what make us ‘tick’. And I believe there is much value in people presenting and promoting their truths for others to consider and accept or reject as they feel appropriate (after all, that’s what I’m doing right here in this newsletter!).
Where I believe things go badly wrong is when people or groups of people attempt to pressure, coerce or force others into adopting their personal truths in the misguided assumption that what is true for them must necessarily be the only truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
This is nothing but manipulation.
Since the dawn of time people have tried to exploit others by presenting their ideas as ‘truths’ and then castigating, outlawing and/or violently persecuting those who refuse to abide by their truths. By instilling fear about the consequences of not accepting and adopting their ‘truth’ they successfully manipulate others to suit their own ends.
Religious fanaticism is a good example – but by no means the only example - of what I mean. I came across this little gem of a story embedded in a message from Neil Asher the other day:
The founder of the Sikh religion was a great teacher named Guru Nanakh. He was a man with a spiritual quest who dedicated his life to the study of the religions of the world. At one point he journeyed to Mecca to study Mohammed's teachings. He went to the Kaaba, which is a cubical building in the center of the big square in Mecca, and on the eastern wall of the Kaaba is the sacred stone, a meteorite set into the wall.
Guru walked into the square and lay down on his back in meditation with his feet toward the sacred stone. But the rule of the temple was that you should never point your feet in the direction of the sacred stone. As the stone was considered to be a symbol of Allah and feet were considered unclean, it was considered highly offensive to display the soles of one’s feet to the stone.
Needless to say, Guru’s behaviour caused great consternation amongst the local worshippers. They cried out in their language: “Blasphemy! Blasphemy! How dare you put your feet to the sacred stone?”
They pushed his feet away but he just spun around and continued to show his feet to the stone. They kicked him, but he rolled over and sat up again facing the same way. They rolled him around and over and dragged him painfully away but nothing they did seemed to make the slightest difference. He kept coming back and pointing his feet to the stone.
Everyone was thoroughly upset, screaming at him: “You must not do this, it is sacrilege and blasphemy!”
But Guru just lay there calmly, without reacting to the growing frustration and mounting anger. Finally, he asked the crowd: “Brothers, why are you so upset?”
“Because you showed your feet to the sacred stone!” they shouted back in unison.
“And why is that so terrible?” said Guru, calmly.
“Because the sacred stone represents God, and you should never show your feet in the direction of God. That is an offense to the Almighty!”
Whereupon Guru replied: “Brothers, if you can tell me where God is not, I will gladly direct my feet that way.”
Freedom of beliefs
There are six-and-a-half billion people on this planet (yes, just try and visualize that number of people) and, whether we choose – or have the opportunity – to use it, we were all born with free will and the right to believe what we want to.
I believe that we were born with the means to determine, for ourselves, what our truth is. We have six senses (bear with me) that help us to distinguish whether something is good/right/true for us or not.
Our senses of smell, touch, sight, hearing and taste equip us perfectly to make sense of the external, physical world but it is our sense of emotion that provides the powerful guidance system that directs us to know whether we are properly aligned with our inner being, our source energy, our creator - our God, if you prefer.
Only you know and can appreciate whether something is true for you – and you will know that from the nature and the strength of the emotion that you feel.
The next time that someone tries to pressurize you into believing something that they feel passionate about, put your trust in your own emotions (not the media, not other people, not even your loved ones) to guide you to know whether that belief is true for you.
A life coach is trained to accept that every person is unique, with their own set of values and beliefs. The coach will never try to pressure the client into accepting their own beliefs. Rather, the coach will work with the client to help build a system of beliefs that best aligns with the client’s inner being and best serves their life purpose.
Perhaps you have a passion for helping others enjoy the inner peace that comes from aligning one’s values, beliefs and actions with one’s life purpose?
If so, we have the skills training programme that can make you a successful, fulfilled and well rewarded life coach.
Visit our website today and order our free report – or give me a call to discuss how easy it is to train with New Insights. I’d love to hear from you.
Till next week...
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