Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important affairs. ~ Einstein
I ran across an article recently entitled "It Seems We're Comfortable with Untruth". This struck me, and I said to myself, "unfortunately, this is too often the case." It got me thinking deeply about how we tend to skirt what is obvious, what is factual to justify our thoughts, our feelings, our actions (such as someone saying "no" to something and we saying that they said "yes" instead---and we know what is their truth but lie anyway). If it can't justify those thoughts, feelings and actions, then we bend it to fit our version of truth. Or even worse, as illustrated in the above scenario, we will deliberately lie to ourselves and others in an attempt to deceive. I know that for me, personally, there are few things as trust-destroying as lying.
What, really, is truth? Isn't it in the experience, perception and inner understanding of the individual? Let us define the various definitions of the term "truth".
Truth is the real state of things. However, truth can be relative, objective, subjective, or absolute.
Relative truth is an individual's or a culture's perception. I have a great bumper sticker (not on my car) that reads "Live your own myth." Our truth may be our truth, and no one else's. Many relative truths are specific to a particular culture, or sub-culture and may not be considered truth anywhere else.
Objective truth is considered final and static. Real truth is considered independent of our personal belief system. Objective truth may state that the law of gravity is truth, and it is not truth for a human to fly like a bird. Try telling that to a mystic who teleports, or levitates. It certainly doesn't allow for reality shifts, which have always occurred and will continue to baffle us. In other words, we should look at so-called objective truth and question its veracity.
Subjective truth is viewed as continuing and dynamic. When we are on a spiritual journey or path of growth, we are always in a process of becoming. Our truth of our existence is a dynamic, living, inward viewing and a subjective experience. We may alter our "truth" as we go and develop. But we still "truth tell" (as we know it to be at that stage of development) rather than tell untruths. In other words, to the best of our ability and with a sense of utmost integrity, we know it to be our truth, and are not willing to state other than that which we understand to be that truth.
Absolute truth is a universal agreement with fact or reality. It means the majority of the collective thinks that it is truth. The sky without pollution is blue, trees usually have roots, people have heads, etc. But that is on this planet. What about other planes of existence where these things may not be the same?
Probably the only real absolute truth we could say is that "Truth is God, or Source". Or inversely, "God or Source is truth". This statement is considered by most believers to be truth. How that truth is understood and assimilated is individual and varied.
I think that it is safe to say that each of us has collected within us a body of our individual understanding of truth which encompasses relative, objective, subjective and absolute versions of what truth is. As we grow and change, we may refine or even completely change our understanding of truth. An example may be that one's religion may state that reincarnation does not exist. And yet that being may begin to have conscious memories and dreams of existences of other places and times. Their inner dynamic ability to be flexible may encounter the objective view of truth of an organized body, such as a religion, and collide head on in an opposite viewpoint.
In our metaphysical world of contemplation, study and meditation to seek self-realization, desire to grow in personal development, and conscious experience of our souls and of Source, we would ask of ourselves and those who seek our help and guidance to do this: honor your own inner experiences. It is your truth at this time. It may not be ours--at this time.
But find yours. And when you do, tell it. Be proud of it, and don't diminish its power by telling untruths you deem untrue, to get out of responsibility of owning your own truth. And be prepared for the distinct probability that that truth of yours will change at some point when your vantage point changes. Also, be prepared for the distinct probability that some of your truths may be paradoxically in opposition to each other, without either being untruth.
So, back to the original question on the table: Why is it so hard to be truthful?
Maybe you can stop yourself from lying, but to be truly honest is difficult for most people. Let's explore why that is.
I think that one reason is that sometimes the truth "hurts" or reveals that which is invalid, controversial, or just plain wrong. It could be any number of other reasons, and we get scared of being the one to expose the untruth. Or, we may be afraid of possible confrontation. It may be that if it is something we need to "right", we don't want to pay some supposed price for admitting the truth. Better to bury it, and hope that others accept what is said or done at face value. Of course, if it is painful to reveal, or expects us to be authentic when we aren't ready for it, it would be more comfortable to speak untruth. Whew, it lets us off the hook!
But we only temporarily escape the noose of truth! Every time we are careless with the truth or blatantly lying, we tear away at our soul's authenticity. We chisel away, piece by piece, that which is our genuine self, until all that is left is a facade of what we once were.
Can we all agree that while telling truth may be difficult, is it refreshing and freeing? And what if our world were to finally tell it like it is--- with falsehoods, misrepresentations, and blaming others suddenly vanishing and truth telling abounding? Are we ready for that level of honesty?
What I am talking about here is not the "truth" of various political, corporate or religious institutions' viewpoints of truth. They will always be subject to scrutiny as long as there is gain to be had. It is the willingness to expose the corruptions and self-serving of these various institutions and their representatives.
At the personal level, telling the truth is not an opportunity to deliberately hurt or undermine another. There are ways to tell the unpleasant or difficult "truth" without crippling or destroying another. Ever hear of the art of diplomacy? It is an skill well worth learning.
The most tragic result of untruth telling is it's capacity to incapacitate, it's tacit approval of things unspeakable, and it's ability to taint everything it comes into contact with. In time, continued lies pack more destruction than any atomic bomb.
As the famous movie line goes, "You can't handle the truth!" I am saying "Yes, you can". And it is about time to begin to demand it from our political leaders, health industry, military, corporations, scientific community, churches, public officials, teachers, friends, family units, and ourselves.
© 2007 Alijandra and Emerald Star Publishing. All rights reserved. May duplicate in its entirety. Inform the author of intent of reproducing.