Finding Your Own Truth
What is it about life that always leaves you feeling as though you’re only one step away from finding the truth? This is a question I began to ponder after reading a number of books, examining experiences in my life and finding myself in an eternal quest for the truth. At one point it seemed as though the truth was truly within my reach. As though I could possibly answer all of the most important questions about my life. Just as I came close to realizing whatever it was I thought I was going to realize, it all slipped away from me again.
I started getting a little frustrated and thought maybe I should meditate on the answer. Nothing came except even more questions. Each question leading to more questions in an endless cycle. I then thought that doing a little bit more reading might reveal what I needed to know. Although there have been some very wise people to come before me, none of them seemed to possess the truth. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of them wanted to claim they had the truth but none of it clicked 100%. I got the sense that most of them had a pretty reasonable idea how to find inner peace but their truth was their truth. Because people who have figured out things for themselves will often appear very enthusiastic, it can be very convincing to think that their answer is also the answer for you.
This led me to having discussions with other people about life and all the many truths that we are constantly seeking. Sure enough, most everyone had their own idea of the meaning of life, the path to happiness and just about anything else that was brought up. Some people were a little bit more flexible about hearing other perspectives while some were hellbent on declaring their truth as the truth. I tend to see this a lot from people who are highly religious. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with being religious, religion itself seems to cause many people to set out on a path to convince everyone they meet that they must accept their beliefs or be condemned. It’s been going on as long as religion has been around it continues to create conflict all across the world. It’s the eternal struggle of “my god is better than your god”. It reminds me of two kids getting into a fight over who’s dad is stronger.
There Is No Universal Truth
Truth exists only as beliefs. If you believe something to be true, it is true for you. That doesn’t mean that somebody couldn’t come along and change your mind about it. But until you change your belief, it is the truth for you. There are millions of people who believe that there is only life on planet earth and nowhere else. For them, that is the truth until they are shown otherwise. It doesn’t matter that scientists believe life likely exists on millions of other planets. And if this is true, does this extraterrestrial life exist independent of our belief in it? Is there a different god for each planet? We really don’t know so we must accept one truth or another.
You could literally spend thousands of hours sifting through countless types of media containing “the truth” as each motivational speaker, preacher or wise man wants you to believe. Despite popular belief, most of them aren’t actually trying to swindle you. Sure, some of them are but the vast majority of them truly believe they have the answers you need to hear. It is in this misconception of what they are offering that most people become frustrated desperately seeking the answers to their problems.
You Must Find Your Own Truth
Even if you had the opportunity to meet the Buddha, he could not solve your problems for you. If anything, he would probably talk to you in riddles. Riddles that only create more questions designed to get you thinking and finding the truth within. The most anyone can ever give you is a new set of skills and the encouragement to get the job done. It’s kind of like being given a treasure map and a pep talk. If you want to find purpose and meaning(treasure) to your life, you’re going to need to know how. Once you know how and where to look, it’s all up to you. As you progress through life you will almost certainly feel at times that you have figured it out. You will feel that the truth has revealed itself to you. Just as soon as you do, the truth will likely change. Everything is constantly changing and evolving. There are no set rules to life. It is literally your playground to learn and discover what works for you. Even in modern day America where everything seems fairly civil and organized there lies a potential for chaos. The truth that weaves your reality together can literally change at any moment.
Be Open To Your Inner Voice
When I say inner voice, you may think of all different things. People who are extremely closed minded may even think that having an inner voice means you’re crazy. Whether you want to acknowledge the voice or not, it still remains. It does not always speak to you in words although it often does. It can also speak to you in feelings of intuition, hunches and emotions. If you’ve ever felt really uncomfortable in a situation but didn’t quite know why, that is your inner voice. Unfortunately most people tend to completely ignore their inner voice like they do a bill collector repeatedly calling for money. Somewhere along the line, most of us lost faith in ourselves and began to blindly follow the path of others. Turning the TV on for a few minutes is enough to observe the same stereotypes again and again. Every family sitcom seems to have a father who’s lazy, loves beer and always forgets things. The Woman is always the sensible but overly emotional one who has to keep the household together. This wouldn’t mean much except that people start thinking this is “the truth” of how life is for a married couple. Of course there’s all sorts of other stereotypes and expectations throughout society but the fact remains that people have largely forgotten how to think for themselves.
It’s always interesting to hear how some of the most successful people were the ones that deviated from the traditional path. These were the people who essentially woke up and realized that they were walking through life unconsciously following a path that others had laid out for them. Examples are all over the place with people like Bill Gates, the founders of Google, the creators of Facebook etc. All they really did was listen to their inner voice. Your inner voice always speaks the truth. It might not always be a truth you want to hear, but it is your truth.
To give you an example of this, I frequently wake up with a song playing in my head. Sometimes it’s a song I haven’t heard for years. Further proof that just about everything we experience is stored away in there in one way or another. In any case, it wasn’t until about three months ago that I really started thinking about why a specific song was playing vs a different song. I would normally get up, try to ignore the song and within ten minutes or so it would fade away along with all the memories of the dreams from that night. When I started to focus on the song, the lyrics and the beat, it was glaringly obvious that each specific song had a lesson I needed to learn. All I needed to do was pay attention.
Do You Know What You Want?
Seriously, do you? Try taking a few moments to think about what you truly want for yourself. Once you have these ideas go ahead and think about whether these are things you truly want or are they things other people want or have told you to want. What if society collectively decided that new Mustang you wanted so bad was the ugliest car ever to hit the roads. Would you still want it or would you be swayed by what others want? Maybe you majored in business during college and you find yourself in a cubicle making a pretty good income. Initially you might think “wow, I finally made it. All that schooling and hard work paid off!” Then as time goes on you start feeling uneasy about being at work. Uneasiness turns into boredom. Boredom turns into frustration. Frustration turns into resistance. Before you know it, you practically need someone to slap you across the face and kick you out the door to even show up at work. Even at this point you may still be completely confused why you feel such resistance. After all, this is the truth of how the world works right? Go to school, get a good job, get married and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, your inner voice may have different plans for you. Or working in an office might be exactly what your intuition tells you. Have you ever met someone doing a job that seems totally contradictory to leading a happy life yet they appear as joyful as ever? I used to know a janitor that always had a smile and whistled all day. He didn’t need complication in his life nor did he understand why others wanted it.
The truth you seek is within you and always has been. Following the path your inner voice sets for you can often appear scary, there is no doubt about this. It can also appear challenging and strange. It does not have any concern for what others might think and it doesn’t set you up for crippling failure. Whatever challenge you think you will face by listening to your inner voice is infinitely less challenging than walking 10,20,40 years in the wrong direction only to realize you had an internal guidance system the whole time.