Truth is What Came Before

Truth lies behind the senses. The Prashna Upanishad, a wisdom book of the Vedas, poses a good question. What is it that makes the eyes see and the ears hear? Our senses are the very lens we view the world through. The senses are like the wax of a candle and the wick is the function underlying the senses. Without the wick the candle would not burn, but without the wax, the wick burns fast so the light is gone quicker.

The senses are essential in allowing us to infuse our reality with light, which is what our perception does for us. Where the senses cannot be trusted is at their limits, in the shadow. Therefore, truth comes when we can harness the senses to widen our perception. What’s behind the senses is where I believe truth to reside.

Truth is independent of our perception because it is what creates the perception in the first place. It comes before perception. Truth doesn’t need our perception for it to be true. It stands on its own. So, a question comes then, how do we allow this truth to surface if it is what comes before thought and sense perception? Well, it starts with knowing what our senses are showing us. When we focus enough on how we are filtering our current reality, we can choose to expand our awareness to include things that are outside our current sense perception.

However, that is only the first layer of openness. The sense perceptions are filtered through the nervous system, which further strengthens our lens because the nervous system stores all our past experiences and future potential. So, our senses are basically put through a microprocessor to output a result (a feeling, action or expression). If the code in the microprocessor is not continuously updated, we become subject to seeing the world through a stagnant lens while it is ever-changing. The senses create sensations that trigger something from the past and therefore our output is a program on repeat.

This is how we get into patterns of belief. If we are not continuously updating our beliefs, then we end up living life on repeat. As this progresses, we get stuck in our habitual patterns and further away from truth because it is in constant movement, something original and essential for life. Such is nature.

So, the second layer of openness is created when we start to investigate the functions of our nervous system. When we begin to understand how our sense perceptions lead us to feel and act in the world. By becoming aware of this, we can notice that the senses are filtered through the spine and brain in a way that creates an output of attraction or aversion. We are either drawn to participate in or push our experience away. This is a highly reduced view of the nervous system, but if you think about it our lives are in a constant state of push-pull. So, again the question becomes, how do we go beyond this to get to the truth?

The answer is expanding the filter. If we expand the bandwidth of our microprocessor (nervous system) and activate or repair the functions lying dormant within it (trauma), we can sense life through a wider lens. We expand the filter of the nervous system by, again, becoming aware of its current functioning dynamics and then going beyond the limits. Each time we go beyond a perceived limit of our nervous system, it’s like new code is written for it. We receive a software upgrade.

Truth lies in the beyond. We must go outside of our current frameworks and look at our experience from all angles, even the ones we fundamentally disagree with. As the mystical traditions say, to be able to hold a contradiction where the mind is no longer choosing a side, is truth.

It starts with the body. Embodiment comes when the mind and the body are not separate. Where what we think or say matches exactly how we act. The body can show us where we are open, where we are holding tightly onto our ideals, and where we are not even participating in life. If we can get a grasp on what is true for ourselves first, which takes a real inquiry into the body-mind, then we may be able to come to a deeper understanding of truth in relation to others.

As we get clear on what’s true in ourselves, we can slowly move out into bigger circles of relation. Our family and friends, communities, countries, and the world. As we expand into greater circles of relation our truth is ‘put to the test’ and we can see if it is something that is universal or personal. If it’s the latter, we must revisit the first step of investigating our internal narratives. Say our truth is invalid in relation to other people, we must go find what narratives we have that allow us to perceive that as a truth. If it’s not universally true, then it’s no truth at all.

Of course, the truth will reveal itself in different ways because we are all unique, but at its essence, its core, the truth strikes the same chord for all. So, if we can be clear on what the essence of our personal truth is we can go out in the world with a softer grip on what it must look like. We can drop many arguments and debates that are simply semantics and relax into the essence that is touched between us.

If we want to discover the truth, that must be our main intention and motivation. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “you must reduce yourself to zero”, meaning our search for truth must be completely stripped of self-righteousness and/or the desire for power. Otherwise, we will be trapped in our concepts of how things should look and be closed off to opportunities to see differently. It is the intention of knowing truth that gives us a pathway to such.

I believe many of our discussions today are less about arriving at truth and more about being heard. Wanting to be heard is certainly not a bad thing, however it disconnects us from something deeper and emergent. So, if our goal is to be heard we can be clear on that. If our goal is to know the truth, we must understand that no one’s ideals alone are going to do it. It takes a collaborative effort of people that are clear on what’s true for them personally to discover the universal. We need to be ready to reduce ourselves to nothing if we are to come to this discovery.

The truth is something that is beyond time and space, both here and there. It is the in-between space that is singular. It takes a finely tuned instrument (human body and mind) to be able to see this space, but this is our work. With discipline, openness, discernment, and compassion we can slowly move outward into greater circles of relation. This is the way we can touch what is essential and needed more than ever in our world right now.

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