What is spiritual truth?

The highest good is like water. Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive. It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao. In dwelling, be close to the land. In meditation, go deep in the heart. In dealing with others, be gentle and kind. In speech, be true. In ruling, be just. In business, be competent. In action, watch the timing. No fight; no blame. – Lao Tse
 

     This month I have been posing the concept of spiritual truth in various ways. Is truth good or evil? Is it right or wrong? Can someone so irreverently evil still have a modicum of truth in their ways? Where does truth really lie – in the heart, the soul or the mind? These are all questions pondered by better men and women before me and will continue to be debated by better women and men after me. All I can deal with is my truth in my now. What is truth to me?

     Truth is knowing that you know that you know something to be right and good and not harmful to self or any other living thing. Truth is acknowledging there is a greater Power than myself. Truth is being just, compassionate, and loving. Truth is also challenging the status quo when it is damaging; asking the questions when no one wants them asked; standing up for the ones who can’t stand up for themselves.

     Truth is present in us, around us and pours through us if we choose. It is our limited understanding of all things spiritual. It is a concept whereby we choose to live our lives with hope for the future and respect for the past.

     Truth is God, the Universe, Great Spirit, Allah, Buddha, Jesus Christ and many more names and titles unknown to me. It is ineffable, mystifying and the basis for all life on earth. It is our task to strive to live within this Truth, to let it flow around us and through us that there is no separation between us and Truth.

A final thought…

From the laziness that is content with half-truths,
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,
O God of Truth, deliver us.
– an Ancient Scholar
 

     I must echo this ancient scholar. When I think I know the truth of anything I must think again. I only know what is true to me. What is the truth to others I cannot say. Who am I to impose my truth on other people? All I can do is share what feels right for me. If it weighs true for another, so be it. If not, then they must find their own truth.

    Who am I to think I know the Mind of God and what is the real Truth? No one does. Let me repeat that. No one single human being on this planet knows the Mind of God and the complete Truth.
     The truth is I don’t know the whole Truth; no one knows the whole Truth. I only have parts and pieces of what I think the Truth is. And so does everyone else.

 

 

 

how can I find peace and stillness when there are so many voices in my head
how can I find peace and stillness when there are so many voices in my head

 

 

 

The innocence of youth … and of age

Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it is to be young….
–Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

 

Ah, youth! How smart, how full of energy, how bright the future! If we knew what we were in for as adults, would we choose to grow anyway? Maybe, if we look at it spiritually; physically and emotionally, not so much. At least I wouldn’t. If I had foreknowledge of the physical pain and emotional trauma I would suffer as a child-teen-young adult, I would rather have stayed in the bosom of God. But, sitting there in His Presence before my birth, I did know; my spirit knew I would need to suffer to become the spirit being I needed to be. My physical self doesn’t like it but the spiritual self knows it to be necessary. After 55 years on this planet and out of the enveloping Presence of God, I can do what all aging folks do–look back and see with hind sight that it was necessary to suffer.

Some lessons can only be learned with suffering. How can I learn compassion unless I am shown none? How can I learn patience unless I am left wanting? How can I learn to love unless I am unloved? Of course, I had choices along the way. I could have become bitter and hateful and completely without regard of my fellow human being. I could have chosen anger and violence as my way to move through life. It is there – that seed – deep in my heart that has tried to take root and grow but for the Love and earthly Presence of God (not to be confused with the [for lack of a better word] – Heavenly – Presence of God). I will carry that bitter seed my whole life and will strive to keep it dormant. It only takes one small event to nourish the seed and like kudzu, it will worm its way into every corner of my soul.

How do I guard myself against such an invasive weed? I can’t do it alone. I require assistance from God, from other souls who have gone before me, from strangers who cross my path (or is it I who cross theirs?), and from Nature herself where I find solace and the strength to dig out that seed whenever it takes hold. So I read, reflect, create, pray, sing and dance my way through the bitterness, the anger, the judgment; accepting it as a true part of myself but not one I wish to nourish.

I will choose to nourish the better part of me, the compassionate me, the me who loves unconditionally, the patient me, the me who is always looking forward to the day I am back in the bosom of God but not necessarily rushing to get there.

In my aging process I will not scowl at the optimism of youth; I will remember that I, too, was once that young. If you don’t have hope for the future, what do you have? If you don’t occasionally look backwards, if only to see your progress, how will you know how to proceed? We learn and grow and then learn and grow some more until the moment we enter His Presence once more.

 

remember when we were that innocent?
remember when we were that innocent?

 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)

 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected…

Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

Paperback, 870 pages
Published June 21st 2003 by Scholastic Inc. (first published January 1st 2003)
original title Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
ISBN 0439358078 (ISBN13: 9780439358071)

 

Meditation on life’s seasons

The tree in winter is like
The lines upon my father’s face
Or like the paths I tried to take
When I was you searching
For one clear way to understanding.
In every branch I found
A smaller branch leading me
Toward many ends and many sorrows.
Too fragile to bear my weight,
All my branches broke
And I fell to the earth confused.
I saw the tree in winter
Reaching toward the sky
With bare branches tangled
Like so many paths and yet
Each path had a purpose,
Leading back to the roots of the tree.
-Nancy Wood

 
     In winter it is often difficult to find the path back to hope and joy. Try as I might, I cannot find a trail through the wilderness. The endless frost is cold and silent, and it squashes my soul. I find it hard to lift my legs to walk through snow drifts; the crunch of the snow is not the music I long to hear right now. The Silence of reason and truth is deafening and cuts straight through to my heart. I look in the mirror and wonder if I will ever smile again. This winter crushes, suffocates, and devours me. Will I ever live again? Will the spring ever come again? God promises that it will come again but I don’t believe Him. I believe He is lying to me on purpose and all my faith in His Love and Care are for nothing and I curse Him. I rail and cry but He doesn’t hear me; He doesn’t save me; He doesn’t even care about me. I have somehow offended Him and He has turned His back on me.

     Words written during winter can really only be understood and forgiven in spring. When hope returns, as it inevitably will, what passes as curses toward God and toward life become seedlings of compassion and generosity. The sun warms the soul and causes it to once again live and sing and dance. Seedlings are fed with the warmth of the sun and nourishing rain. As they grow taller and stronger they move towards full bloom and are soon ready to give of themselves again to others.

     All through the summer the heat and the rain continue to bring forth growth and blossoms of love. It expands ever outward encompassing all who come near. Compassion thrives in the heat of the day and sticky, humid nights. The days are colored with bright reds and oranges, yellows and greens and sound of cicadas humming, birds chirping and the wind singing through rustling leaves. The pungent odor of fresh cut grass reminds us that we are ever growing, ever needing to be trimmed lest we become scraggly and weedy.

     Soon the nights begin to cool and autumn brings us the harvest of seeds sown. As we have shown others love and compassion, it is rained down upon us and our cornucopias overflow with the stuff. We harvest what we have sown and all the blessings we have given to others is returned to us. Our harvest is not long but it is worth it. The gift of life, the cycle of life is once again drawing to a close. And, once again, the seasons of my life cycles through and winter has returned. But this winter I know that I know that regardless of how bad the cold is or how silent God is, spring will come and all will be well with the world once again.

 

pain is the music of life
pain is the music of life

 

Many Winters: Prose and Poetry of the Pueblos

For the past 800 years, the Indians of Taos Pueblo have lived under Taos Mountain in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico. Their unique vision of the world, their deeply rooted attachment to the land and their own way of life, and the quiet wisdom of their elders are eloquently recorded in this classic volume.

Paperback, 80 pages
Published October 1st 1992 by Doubleday Books for Young Readers (first published 1974)
original titleMany Winters: Prose and Poetry of the Pueblos
ISBN 0385308655 (ISBN13: 9780385308656)