Monday, March 23, 2009

pondering truth...part 2

So much of figuring things out seems to be through interpretation. Often when we use certain words, we assume people are on the same page with us – or that they are not. Or we make the mistake of thinking that someone else holds our best answers. (Assumptions can be dangerous things.) If we cling to other’s interpretations and never come to our own conclusions does that not keep us in the dark?

How do I define my truth? My bliss? Not in a self-centered me me me way, but truth as light or goodness or personal freedom, whatever you want to call it for yourself. “He/she who practices the truth, his/her deeds may be manifested as having been wrought (the work) by God.” I read this as truth made visible and shared with the world. Or as Frederick Buechner puts it, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." This manifestation comes with congruency between your core self’s truth and what comes out in action, word or deed. Even if another person does not receive or accept it, you can feel unwavering without needing to fight back or defend. Now, I believe it takes lots of work to know how to trust yourself, but once you have felt that knowing, it becomes unmistakable. It is indeed something that one must come to on their own. I can’t make anyone else come to his/her own truth (or knowing). All I can do is make an offering. We cannot make anyone truly believe something no matter how hard we try.

I believe that is why God comes in all shapes and forms. At the core we are not so very different AND we are unique. We all have glory and depravity, but mine will not look exactly like yours. One size does not fit all. A man’s may not look like a woman’s. One of the greatest gifts I have experienced in life is witnessing another’s face when they come to that place of knowing that they know their own personal truth. They find their own place that most gloriously expresses God’s love for themselves and thereby the world.

Do you think we can make others believe something - anything? We can offer information, hold up a mirror and give our opinions, but can we turn the light bulb on in someone else's mind? Can I define your truth or you mine? Thoughts? How many watts in your bulb?

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." --Buddah

photo from rodin museum, paris 3.08

12 comments:

tinkerbell the bipolar faery said...

I dunno how many watts in my bulb. But I do believe that we cannot make someone believe something. We can certainly make a persuasive case, but belief implies a personal choice ... an action of the mind. Truth for each of us varies because we derive that truth from our senses, our own sensory experiences.

Country Parson said...

From a portion of John Donne’s Satire #3
…Though truth and falsehood be near twins, yet truth a little elder is; be busy to seek her, believe me this, he’s not of none, nor worst, that seeks the best. To adore, or scorn and image, or protest, may all be bad; doubt wisely; in strange way to stand inquiring right, is not to stray; to sleep, or run wrong, is. On a huge hill, cragged, and steep, truth stands, and he that will reach he, about must, and about must goj; and what the hill’s suddenness resists, win so; yet strive so, that before age, death’s twilight, thy soul rest, for none can work in that night. To will, implies delay, therefore now do: hard deeds, the body’s pains; hard knowledge too the mind’s endeavours reach, and mysteries are like the sun, dazzling, yet plain to all eyes…

Laura & Miriam said...

you have no idea how much these ponderings struck home on this end. thank you again and again for continuing to muse out loud for the benefit of all of us.

lucy said...

tinkerbell--"choice" - a great word. we always have a choice between love and fear; between peace and conflict.

CP--thank you for the beautiful john donne quote. i was not familiar with it.

l&m--so good to hear from you and know that you are pondering alongside me. you have no idea how much it means to receive your comment! thank you.

Country Parson said...

I wish there was a way to go back and correct errors in comments, but if there is, I don't know it.
CP

Abbey of the Arts said...

thought-provoking postlucy, I love the image of witnessing the insight moving in another person, truly some of my most heartening moments as well.

SUNRISE SISTER said...

No I cannot coerce or convince another person to believe that which they are not ready to embrace. I do try though....what is that? On my part, I believe its eagerness for them to be persuaded toward a belief in God, in self, is in order for them to share the physical lightness of believing w/o reservation. I like to think that sometimes I actually do my convincing in a gentle fashion rather than an arm-twisting fashion - but eagerness may get the best of me sometimes - no matter the point I'm struggling to put across.

Barbara said...

I leave the big convincing to God. All I try to do is give the witness of my life and respond with my perspective on truth, when asked. As Merton wrote somewhere: the saint preaches sermons by the way they walk and the way they stand, the way they pick things up and hold them in their hands. Or as Francis of Assisi urged: go out and preach the Gospel; if necessary, use words.

lucy said...

thanks, C

SS--oh i think i may have seen that eagerness in action...possibly even from myself :-) xox

barbara--the francis of assisi quote is one of my favorites!!!

thank you all!

Anonymous said...

My friends tell me to keep it simple. Sometimes that is good advice when I have searched for answers until I am exhausted. When I read your blog I know that I am not alone in the quest for understanding and truth. I am experiencing a total transformation of my life right now and it is painful most days. It is where I need to be but some days are darker than others. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone.

Sue said...

Lucy, so much in here that resonates for me. I still struggle with feeling like finding my bliss is actually just me being self-centred. Because I think ... suspect ... wonder if my bliss involves writing, and the amounts of solitude that are required to do such a thing, it feels terribly wasteful to me, you know? And so it is always good to read your thoughts on this matter. So often you help me see the centre more clearly and I thank you for that, dear Lucy :)

No, I don't think we can make others believe something. It amazes me how drawn I am to those people who are not didactically trying to do such a thing, or who are more obscure in their approach. The freedom to breathe and come to your own assessments, as unfortunately Christianity so often stifles. Luckily, I think the mirrors we hold up when we do it in a spirit of walking alongside and cameraderie and fellow truth-seeking create space. It's a beautiful thing :)

lucy said...

anonymous--welcome...i'm not sure what it is, but for me the greatest times of transformation have come from those dark places. you are definitely not alone and i hope you will visit again.


sue--yes that battle re: self-centeredness! here is a response i wrote just this morning over at mind sieve.

"all through this post, i kept saying...she's talking to me, personally & directly. because of course it is all about ME! isn't that a grand notion to have especially if we can share that it is a healthy view to have about yourself (for our daughters, friends, sisters, mothers, aunties)
some would call this self-centered or narcissistic, however, i find that the more comfortable i am with ME, the more i want the same for everyone else (and i don't resent it/them/aging/whatever...as much :-)"

keep writing, susie q!!