Conversations with Fear

Truth: December 29, 2000

     "Are you ready to talk about truth?" I asked couple of weeks later.
     "'Truth,'" muttered Fear under its breath, "the whole notion of truth makes my skin crawl. Damn it, 'truth' is what we want it to be!"
     "Hey, you're the one who was pushing to discuss Truth! Who knew more about it than I did! Remember? Nevertheless, in part, I agree with you, but only in part."
     "Don't strain yourself," chided Fear.
     "Don't worry, I won't. Are you ready to talk about truth now, or not?"
     "I guess so."
     "Good! The Indian spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi, said that 'a votary of truth [a person fervently devoted to truth] is often obliged to grope in the dark….'"
     "See, I told you!" burst in Fear, "But you wouldn't believe me. You have to hunt for truth in the darkness of my kingdom because that's where truth is. Now, here is some dead guy telling you the same thing, and you believe him! Why?"
     "Boy do you have your wires crossed! Our challenge doesn't lie in some remote corner of your dreary kingdom; it lies in the blind spots of our own vision. Unlike correcting a blind spot in the rear-view mirror of an automobile, which can be rectified simply by adjusting the mirror, adding a different kind mirror, or a even supplemental one, we can't correct our personal blind spots so easily. To correct them, we must grow in our perception and in our acceptance of what is, where 'perceive' means to 'seize wholly,' to 'see all the way through.' Perception, therefore, is the act of seeing with the mind and the heart—of understanding.
     "Our perceptions grow and change as we mature, but not everyone's perceptions mature at the same rate, which accounts for the widely differing degrees of consciousness with respect to cause-and-effect relationships. This disparity is neither good nor bad; it simply means that each of us have different gifts to give at different times in our lives as we see different truths."
     "I thought you said I was full of prune juice," snapped Fear, "that I didn't know what I was talking about. Now, here you are telling me that people see different truths, which means they can make truth out to be anything they want it to be."
     "I admit that it might seem that way, but in reality, the 'Truth' is absolute; perceptions of truth are relative. Therefore, facts, which are perceptions of truth, are relative. That's why truth is singular and perceptions plural. Consider the following statement: The world functions perfectly; our perception of how the world functions is imperfect. We assume this statement to be true because it accepts biophysical laws as absolute Truth, but what are those laws? How do they work? We do not know because our perception is constantly changing as we increase the scope of our knowledge.
     "Trying to understand the biophysical laws is the essence of science. Yet even having worked as a scientist for more than 25 years, I wouldn't know a 'scientific truth' if I stepped on one, because my perception of how the biophysical laws work is constantly changing. A 'scientific fact' is therefore a fact only by consensus of the scientists, which means that a scientific fact or 'truth' is only an approximation of what is—a working hypothesis. It represents our best understanding of reality at this moment and is constantly subject to change as we learn.
     "Perception  is learning, because cause and effect are always connected. Gandhi had reached this conclusion when he said, 'my aim is not to be consistent with my previous statements, but to be consistent with the truth.' He was consistent in his changing perceptions of what 'the truth' was at different stages in his life. He grew from truth to truth as his vision cleared and he could see greater and greater vistas. So he said that if one found an 'inconsistency' between any two things he wrote, the person 'would do well to choose the latter of the two on the same subject.'
     "As I have grown, I am increasingly struck by the way my perception of what is continues to unfold, like a many-petaled flower. As each petal opens, I see the world anew; I perceive it differently. My reality is therefore different, and I am increasingly capable of responding to what is without making a value judgment, because, as Edward Bach, the British physician said, 'The knowledge of Truth also gives to us the certainty that, however tragic some of the events of the world may appear to be, they form but a temporary stage in the evolution of man….'"
     "That's just it," interrupted Fear "evolution's the problem!"
     "What do you mean, 'evolution is the problem?'" I asked.
     "Well, you people not only die for real but also evolve, develop, change, which means you might as well be dead as far as I'm concerned. When people grow too much inside, they begin drifting away from my kingdom, which is precisely why I fight against change."
     "Then you're not invincible, are you?"
     "Not exactly, no… But I would be a lot better off if you didn't show people they could live without me!"
     "What you're saying is that you'd be better off if people didn't know the truth about you. That's it, isn't it?"
     "Why must you always be so obtuse?"
     "Why must you always be so slippery?"
     "I'm just doing what I have to in order to survive the best I can."
     "So am I, but I also understand that the accepted definitions of truth are only modifications of the definitions of perception. Truth as a human understanding resides in everyone's heart, and it's there one must search for it. Although we must each be guided by truth as we see it, no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his or her own view of truth. In the end, our 'detector of truth' is our inner voice. Thus, there's no magic in the perfection of hindsight; it only points out that we didn't listen to our inner voice when first it spoke.
     "The truth of the human mind is relative and therefore but a perception of what the Truth is. If our perception of a truth were in fact 'the Truth,' we would find no such thing as a half-truth.
     "Truth is perfect understanding of that which is. It is neither the spoken nor the written word, although these may have a ring of truth about them. Truth cannot be defined; it can only be experienced and lived."
     "There you go again," sighed Fear with look of utter disdain, "talking as though you know what you're talking about. And yet, when I do the same thing, you make fun of me."
     "The difference is that your point of view is totally self-serving—one of keeping people in the dark unconsciousness of your kingdom, where you toy with them at your pleasure. I'm interested in understanding the principles expressed by Love, including both the biophysical and spiritual principles that govern the Universe, because, through them, I can help other people to get shed of you."
     "Are you telling me with this diatribe that you know what 'the Truth' is? You've got to be kidding!"
     "No, I'm not telling you that. I can't say what Truth is, only what it's not. Truth is not knowledge. I say this because I had a dream some years ago in which I saw truth as a concept, like a great space ship floating through the Universe, a concept I couldn't fully grasp because I was outside of it attempting to look within. I couldn't see within, however, because I was trying to see truth through knowledge, which is a socially negotiated, impervious shield against our understanding of the Eternal as reality—and the Eternal  is Truth. As such, knowledge has everything to do with the social acceptability of perception and nothing to do with Truth. Finally, I saw the paradox—to understand Truth I had to give up knowledge. But how? I didn't know how.
     "As I focused on the paradox, my mind relaxed until it was at last still. In that instant of stillness, the paradox reversed itself and became a doorway passing like a tunnel through the shield of knowledge into the floating concept of Truth. Once inside, seeking to understand 'the Truth' no longer made sense because there was nothing to ponder. I had become Truth, and I experienced the eternal peace that surpasses all understanding.
     "My dream told me that Truth is both  impartial and  perfect, whereas our perception of truth is both  partial and  imperfect. In addition, Truth can exist only where The Eternal Mystery is—hence only in the present, in this instant, in the here and now. The past and the future are both illusions, and like all illusions, they are devoid of Truth. Therefore, to become Truth, I must trust my intuition, honor my ignorance, doubt my knowledge, and live in the present moment, which means in the presence of both The Eternal and Love.
     "If this sounds a little convoluted, it's because we're prone to accepting and using all 'shades' of truth. Truth is absolute, however, and simply is, so there's only Truth and untruth. Truth  never needs defense, and no judgment of human value is possible. Only our perceptions of truth, those grounded on our sense of knowledge, need defense—because they are not 'the Truth' and thus are constantly changing."
     "You make my head hurt," complained Fear. "'Truth,' 'untruth,' 'half-truth,' 'shades of truth,' it's all a bunch of nonsense."
     "You wouldn't be saying that because the Truth would set people free of the illusion of your darkness, would you?"
     "What do you mean? How can I understand you when you're so erudite?"
     "Erudite? Is that a compliment?"
     "No! Most assuredly not! I must have chosen the wrong word. Yes, I did. I meant cryptic, esoteric."
     "There's nothing esoteric about what I've said, but, clearly, you can't understand it while you're enshrouded in the darkness of your kingdom. Truth abides in the light of Love and is comprehensible only when standing  in Love's light. Unfortunately, since Truth can't be defined, and you can't escape your darkness, understanding Truth will forever elude you. I am sorry, truly sorry, because you'll never know the sense of peace that's the essence of Love."
     "Enough of this right-brained sentimentality! I get to choose the next topic!"
     "Alright, what do you want to talk about?"
     "I don't know yet."

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