(Note: I am reposting some blog posts that are included in my newest book, Everything Is Included. More info and links to purchase the book are here in case you prefer to read a book.)
Truth Comes in All Different Sizes
Q: How do you know that our minds don't create all of our reality? Maybe there is nothing out there. Maybe when we die, we also become nothing.
A: The truth is what opens your heart and quiets your mind. Does holding the thought that there is nothing out there open your heart? Does holding the thought that when we die, we become nothing open your heart? Does it allow you to relax and just be? Or does it cause a contraction in your heart, in your Being? That is how you can determine for yourself how true that thought is for you in this moment. Checking in with your heart can reduce the need to figure things out with your head, especially when it comes to deep fundamental questions about our existence that cannot be known just by thinking about them. You can trust the knowing in your heart to sort out all of the ideas you encounter.
Everything we can think or say has some truth in it. But many thoughts are very small truths. They don’t tell the whole story, and as a result, they could be considered a lie. It’s helpful to be able to clearly discriminate when a thought is not very true, especially if it is such a small truth that it is harmful or deceptive. It is also helpful to be able to discriminate when something has a more profound depth of truth to it, such as a sense of the oneness of everything. While truth comes in all different sizes, it is possible to discriminate how true things are. A thought can be very true for you today and not so true tomorrow, as it is always relative to where you are in this moment. (Part two of my free ebook, Living From the Heart further explores how the heart can discriminate the relative truth of our ideas and experiences.)
Q: Spiritual teachers say, "Let everything be as it is." Then they talk about the world being in need of transformation. Is this a clue that they are all crazy, self-deluded, or fraudulent?
A: Another possibility is that spiritual teachers have a flexibility of consciousness that allows them to see things from many different perspectives and also to see different levels of truth that are true simultaneously. It is possible for two opposite things to both be true, either as complementary truths or as truths that operate on different levels of reality.
So it is possible to allow things to be just as they are and, at times, to also work to change or transform the world. These two perspectives complement each other. Most of our problems arise when we hold on too tightly to one perspective or the other. The real gift of any spiritual teaching is when it points us to the part of the truth that we are overlooking or ignoring. Most often, this is the truth that you can allow everything to be just as it is. But sometimes someone gets stuck in the view that everything is perfect, and they need to be pointed back to the possibility of changing the world for the better. As a Zen master once put it, "Everything is perfect, and there is always room for improvement!"