It is so easy to feel limited by the circumstances of life – lack of job opportunity, inadequate housing, illness, or relationship difficulties in one’s private life. Who hasn’t experienced one or more of these things? Or knows someone who does?
If you feel burdened in this way, you will be less free to feel good about yourself and about the future, less free to make the effort to deal with problems, or less free to find contentment. You are likely to have negative ways of thinking and thus be vulnerable to what can be called the illusion of life. By this I mean being captured by fear of poverty, by anger with the job, by frustration with an ailing body, or by shame of past misdeeds. Perhaps there is a truth that illuminates negative thinking. If so what is truth? And how can it set us free from the illusions of life?
Geoff was getting weary. He worked long hours for a paltry wage as a care assistant at an old peoples home. His stiff joints and aching muscles were getting him down and occasionally he felt he might end up living in the home himself one day. He rode to work on his scooter through good and bad weather alike, dodging through the traffic and risking life and limb when sometimes surrounded by heavy transport vehicles. It would be easy for him to feel fed up fenced in by his situation. Yet he usually seemed to have a cheerful manner and rarely missed a day’s work. He appeared to get on well with the other staff, usually had a chat with the elderly residents and didn’t mind doing the dirty jobs like changing someone’s soiled clothes.
What is truth?
What was Geoff’s secret? The answer seems to be that he had cottoned on to the idea that there is a positive way of looking at things which frees us from oppressive feelings. As a result he stopped making up excuses, telling himself easy lies, and believing in nonsense. Instead he relied on a higher truth that lights up the darkness.
What is truth? It can take many forms. Here are a few examples. It can be seeing the opportunities all around for finding a sense of satisfaction. It can be an awareness of having an inner spirit that lasts for ever. Also it can be valuing the enriching knowledge one possesses. In addition it can be believing in a forgiving and accepting divine spirit that wipes the slate clean of our past misdemeanor. All these are possible answers to the question ‘What is truth?’
What is truth in relation to work?
One may be to all appearances in a dead-end job. But how does one know it will lead nowhere? The truth is every moment of our lives presents us with opportunity. It’s not so much what Geoff did but rather how he did it. He found that cleaning the toilet or making the tea if done with a willing spirit makes all the difference between feeling bored and feeling good. It’s a chance to feel you belong, to have a laugh, to make a new friend, to learn a bit more about the business, to feel someone’s appreciation of what you do: being useful even in doing an unpopular job that others would consider beneath them. Some jobs can bring their own satisfaction even if no-one but the individual receiving some benefit from you notices. Here then is part of the answer to what is truth.
What is truth in relation to our identity?
We each have a physical body. But how do we know that is all there is to us? There seems to be a growing interest these days in what is called the human aura. This is said to be like a coloured sheath that encloses the physical body, and which provide clues to the state of the individual’s health. A hidden anatomy is often understood to comprise seven or more centres of vital force, the chakras.
Geoff had a slightly different take on the idea of having a hidden anatomy. An idea attracted him. People who are in a heavenly state of mind grow young in personality. He believed in the notion that he had a spiritual body that will endure beyond the death of his tired out physical one. This positive idea released him from any fear of his future demise. Here is another answer to the question about what is truth.
What is truth in relation to wealth?
Some people are inwardly wealthy – having a wisdom that is not to do with cleverness or remembering lots of factual information. Some can suss out what others are up to, some can fathom deeper ideas behind what is written, some have a psychic sensitivity, some can plan with clear-headed judgement. Geoff was outwardly poor having not been well educated and not well read. But inwardly he did seem to have a rich stream of ideas to do with the important things in life. Likewise, loving what is deeply true enriches us. Likewise humbly attributing such knowledge not to our own ability but rather to a higher source of truth.
What is truth in relation to healing?
Geoff had not lived an untarnished life. He had felt shame about a few things he had done in the past. But now he felt he had put all that to one side. Especially relevant, he no longer thought about those careless moments when he had drifted off the right path he had been following. For him the truth is that there is an intangible sense of being accepted – a healing force within the universe.
What is truth? – a conclusion
I believe that to be conscious of the sort of things that were true for Geoff is to be in touch with our true self: an inner state of mind capable of receiving the presence of the divine spirit as it enlightens our thoughts with compassion freeing us from the traps of daily living.
“Infinite love is the only truth. Everything else is illusion.” (David Icke)
Copyright 2014 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of Heart, Head & Hands Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems
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