Do you love Truth? Do you crave it like the tastiest, most nourishing food?
Think carefully before you answer.
From my own self-examination and from working with many people around the world, my experience is that most of us do not actually love the truth, nor do we really, really want to know the true truth. Oh, we may want to know some version of the truth, just as long as it does not conflict with what we already believe to be true, or what we want the truth to be.
Many people, I was among them, do not actually want to know the Truth. What we want is confirmation that what we already believe is true. We want this because it doesn’t require us to change any of our beliefs or behaviors. We want this because we will do just about anything to avoid cognitive dissonance–when what we think is out of sync with reality.
I want to explore two truths about Truth that will help you evaluate your own thoughts and/or the words of other people.
Truth #1: The Truth always brings peace.
The phrase “the truth hurts” is a lie. It’s that simple. The Truth, the true truth, is never painful; it always brings peace. It brings peace because it is in pure alignment with irrefutable evidence.
If learning the truth hurts, it is because we are attached to not wanting it to be true or because it requires us to admit that a previously held belief is false. Truth always brings peace.
For example, when I received the news that my body had cancer, I felt great pain in the form of disbelief and fear.
My doctor called to tell me the truth: “Bruce, you have cancer.” That news did not bring me peace, not because it wasn’t true, but because I didn’t want it to be true. I wanted to be perfectly healthy. I thought I was perfectly healthy. This news was in direct conflict with what I believed to be true about my body. I wanted my doctor to confirm what I already believed to be true. He called to tell me just the opposite. Cognitive dissonance hurts!
Fear set in and the stories of uncertainty whirled into motion. One of the stories I spun was this: “I can’t have cancer because my boys are 100% dependent on me for their survival.” At first glance, this sounds reasonable, loving, and true. If it was true, though, it should have brought me peace. This story did not bring me peace, so it must be a lie.
The reality is that my boys are not 100% dependent on me for their survival. If I was suddenly killed in a automobile accident, family and friends would immediately step in and care for my boys. They would go on living.
I cleared my head and rewrote the story. “My boys love me and want the best for me, but they will survive and thrive regardless of my presence in their lives.” When I told myself this story, I felt great peace. This story must be true!
Then, I faced the facts and stopped the thoughts of denial. “My body has cancer. I accept this fact.” This fact did not make me happy, but it brought peace into my mind and body. From that feeling of peace and clarity, I could focus on what to do about it, instead of spending useless energy wishing it wasn’t true.
Truth always brings peace. If it doesn’t bring peace, you are attached to a story that is not true.
Truth #2: Truth does not need people to believe it to remain alive.
This truth about Truth is connected to the first truth and is my favorite! Truth just is. It exists and will continue to exists whether or not I, or anyone else, believes it.
Have you ever noticed how, when you know something to be true, you can tell someone about it without any attachment to whether or not that person believes you? You don’t need to beg them or convince them to believe you. You are peaceful and confident because the truth is the truth regardless of who believes you.
Lies, however, are 100% dependent on people believing them or they die! Lies must beg, plead, and give detailed explanation in order to convince people to believe them.
Have you noticed when you are begging, pleading, or otherwise trying to convince somebody of some thing that it is probably a lie or a watered-down version of the truth?
Pay very close attention to this fact when people are talking to you. If they are pleading with you to believe them or see their point of view, there is probably a lie embedded in their point of view. If they are offering detailed explanation without you asking for it, it is probably a lie.
Truth is always true, regardless of opinion. It will give a simple explanation when asked, but it has no attachment to your belief in it.
I recently had to tell someone the truth about something that happened. It was the truth, so telling the truth should have brought me peace and should not have required me to explain it in any particular way to convince the person to believe it. I was not peaceful and I was crafting a story about how to tell this person the truth. What I discovered was this: while I was going to tell her the truth, I had a belief that she would get upset and be angry at me unless I told it to her in a certain way. I did not believe her ability to handle the truth without some sugar-coating on it. There was the lie and there was the source of my discomfort and attempt to spin it. I released that lie and resolved to simply tell the truth as it was. Peace immediately came over me!
Truth can be Universal and Relative.
Additionally, there are certain universal truths–things that are true for everyone–and there are relative truths–things that are true for some people, but not everyone.
For example, the law of gravity is true for everyone and everything that lives on earth. It matters not whether or not you believe it, gravity is true for everyone. This is a universal truth.
A few weeks ago, I had dinner with someone who told me she believes her life’s purpose is to be a veterinarian. Given her inner desires and dreams for her life, this is true for her. Believing this to be true brings her great peace and she feels no need to convince me to believe it. This truth is true for her, but it is relative to her as this truth does not bring me peace because I have no desire to be a veterinarian.
Be a lover of truth!
Using the above guidelines, I have been on a quest to eliminate any thought or belief from my life that does not bring me peace. Above all, I want peace in my life. I want to think, feel, and live from a confident posture of peace. I can only do this by thinking and believing truth. The moment I start to feel uneasy, I know I have attached to something that is not true, or is not true for me.
What I want for myself, I want for you and for everyone!
You can listen to me talk about this in more detail in this podcast episode: Be a Lover of Truth.