To understand what is truth, we need to examine its connection to our beliefs. What is a belief? Is it not that insurmountable wall that gives us security from our fears? In examining our beliefs what do we find? Do we find our beliefs hold up a certain way of looking at the world that does not allow for change, and keeps us in a certain mold readily taking what it is given to us? Do we only see ourselves through our beliefs and not allow for any actual discovery of what all this is?
In my life, I have been lucky enough to come across many people that have awakened my beliefs to look for an underlying reality that is hidden from plain view. This has led me to question many things; not only what I see, learn, and read, but also question myself. What is it that drives me? What is it that guides me? What do I want to be, or feel in this life? From here, I started on a path of discovering experiences, new out of the ordinary things that would show me what it is I thought I was looking for, and what life was actually trying to show me. These new experiences started with a meditation retreat.
Finding Your Truth in Stillness
My first exposure to meditation launched me into examining the thought process of my mind and it naturally made me question why I thought how I thought about certain things. This questioning of thought, led me to want to think certain things. During this experience I came to realize for example that “no, I shouldn’t think this way, I should be thinking that way instead.”
But what is a proper way of thinking anyway? Is my judgement of such thinking only holding up a belief of something that is right and wrong? Is there any possible way to ever control this mind chattering? The meditation I participated in taught me to only see and be aware of my thoughts, or as Krishnamurti put it:
In meditation it must be clearly understood that there is no control of thought, no discipline of thought, because the one who disciplines thought is a fragment of thought, the one who controls thought is a fragment of thought. If you see the truth of that, then you will have all the energy dissipated through suppression, through control, through comparison, to go beyond what is.
Krishnamurti, This Light in Oneself
What is, is what our minds are always thinking. In meditation we can go beyond this to a state of stillness. This can be better described as a feeling, though it is still somewhat indescribable. It is like looking over a mountain ridge and having a view of the entire world at your feet, and just seeing it for what it is, reveling in its immensity. Here is where the monks go to find truth, literally and figuratively. They try to create that stillness of the mind, and some also do travel to mountaintops for silence, which is what this stillness is. To create this silence or stillness, we usually need physical silence, mental silence, and also most importantly, silence of our desires. These are the first steps at creating an orderly mind, which will be discussed more later.
Our minds are generally moulded by our beliefs – what we believe to be a good life, what we should do with our time, etc. It is a never ending list of what is, and what should or shouldn’t be. These beliefs generally create our desires, and from here expectation and suffering are usually born. In order to enrich your life you need to get to the basis of your beliefs by reaching into that stillness of the mind, and bringing back whatever it is you may find. Usually it is genuine joy or peace for the present moment even if nothing special may be happening to you. This tends to go against what our society would want us to think or feel because there is always so much emphasis on more. Instead of seeing what you don’t have, living in the moment shows you what you do have, and how we are oh so lucky to have what we do.
There are so many things this stillness or silence of the mind can give, ranging from wisdom and knowledge, to gratitude and appreciation, or love and empathy. By not allowing our mind to carry us away with all of its past conditioning and beliefs, we are capable of limitless realizations, which ultimately help us understand our life better. It greatly helps us to see our reactions to certain thought processes or outside stimuli, and how those in turn effect our whole being.
It is only in this stillness that I can feel the presence of a part of my self which I believe to be infinite, to be my soul, the part that holds truth, profound wisdom, the part of me which resides in non-reaction, in quiet contemplation, in tranquil acceptance, where creativity and truth can spring forth. This feeling can be as fleeting and unexpected as anything in life. I first started having actual conversations with this aspect of myself during and after an Ayahuasca retreat. Even though being in touch with this aspect of what Krishnamurti calls the light in oneself, is similar to this stillness I talk about, it is very much different. To me this part of myself is more like a guide, but I have to be open to listening to it. Learning to listen to ourselves and trusting what we find deep within ourselves is one of the greatest challenges to living our truth. The very idea that each individual has a truth may seem relativistic, but I say this only to convey a sense of falsehood to our current paradigm and how it tries to shape people to fit into the same image: a consumeristic, distracted (aka entertained), “successful”, and compliant individual (though we can hardly call it that).
So to find your own truth, means taking a step outside the bounds of “normal” to find true fulfillment and purpose. This state of mind is created when someone goes beyond a regular belief of their time, or of themselves to allow for a greater understanding of their world and how they relate to it. A classic example of someone who lived in such a mental state (at least as I think) is Leonardo da Vinci. He led a very private life and once said:
If you are alone, you belong entirely to yourself. If you are accompanied by even one companion you belong only half to yourself or even less in proportion to the thoughtlessness of his conduct, and if you have more than one companion you will fall more deeply into the same plight.
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo being an exemplary model for the renaissance man, being amazing not only in the arts, but in the logic of his mind when it came to machines, architecture, and the human body shows a great piece of insight in the above quote. For it is when we let people’s unconscious habits and thoughts mould our very own way of being and thinking, do we truly sabotage our own growth. People do not realize how much of an influence others can be, so a big part of growing into your truth, is letting go of unhealthy relationships that keep you in the same mould.
Even if you are ready to break free of your cocoon, the fear of “oh no what will they think of me” or any sort of negative connotation in relation to you changing does not help your own personal evolution. I myself have struggled the most with this very subject, not seeing how certain relationships were hindering my own growth because I tend to be very loyal. Though I’m not suggesting abandonment of people, I am suggesting to be more wise with who, and how you spend your time.
Each Moment Is Opportunity To Live Your Truth
So in trying to live YOUR truth never let the details of anyone, or their experience, or philosophy be your ultimate guide. Be ever changing, ever evolving. It is in this way that you can discover your own truth and live it fully. When we give authority to someone else we take away all of our own power and the discovery of truth becomes a pursuit that is based on someone else’s belief system. Do not live in the past through whatever you may have experienced because you then become stagnant. You may think that you have found what you sought and do not need to continue to learn but when you stop learning, it is then that you begin to die. Becoming stagnant may also create an attachment to whatever it is you experienced, and attachment in this life inevitably leads to sorrow. For as the winds of time blow always creating change, so will every moment pass letting the tides of time bring about something different in your life.
What living your truth is about, is living every day in action that is virtuous. Kirshnamurti considers meditation to bring about this virtue:
Meditation is the understanding of life, which is to bring about order. Order is virtue, which is light. This light is not to be lit by another. Nobody on earth or in heaven can light that, except yourself, in your own understanding and meditation…This means that the mind, having laid order, which is not of thought, then becomes utterly quiet, silent—naturally, without any force, without any discipline. And in the light of that silence all action can take place, living daily from that silence.
Krishnamurti, A Light To Oneself
Discovering that there is no point in trying to control one’s own thought process but simply observe it and be aware of each thought, was what helped me to discoverer the observer in me. Discovering this must also mean there is “an observed”. Meditation, as I have grown to learn, is not just about sitting with your eyes closed trying to battle your thoughts into stillness, because then you separate it from life. When meditation is separate from your every action it then only becomes a goal in you that you want to achieve. Meditation is about bringing order to your mind so that clarity and honesty about what lies outside and inside of you can be understood, to then bring about the change that needs to take place for you to live in truth.
When it comes to this topic, I quote Krishnamurti a lot because I find him to be one of the greatest models for this subject given his history and ideas. But once again let your own experience be your model for your own truth. By the same token meditation is not the only way to find this personal truth. As Krishnamurti says:
If you say that you must meditate, that you must follow a certain path, a certain system, obviously you are conditioning yourself according to that system or method. Perhaps you will get what the method promises, but it will be nothing but ashes, for the motive is achievement, success; and at the root of that is fear.
Krishnamurti, A Light To Oneself
The fear of not achieving whatever it is that I am speaking about in this article from a lack of “meditation” will get you nowhere. Meditation is any action that is from a mind which is orderly and clear, and it can involve, running, drawing, painting, skiing, hiking, writing, or quite literally most things which people find peace in. Peace and pleasure are very different things, this distinction is important. We generally strive for pleasure as a reward for some action and if we base our actions on a basis of a reward, such as truth, or understanding, we are not being true to ourselves. Most importantly such an action is taken out of fear, or discipline to achieve the said reward, which inevitably leads to an oppressive way of thinking and a belief that truth is come by a certain path or ritualistic behavior.
I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path.
This is no magnificent deed, because I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies.
Krishnamurti at his resignation speech to the order of the sun of the east, August 3, 1929
This work was in the end an attempt to draw up a framework of all that I have learned in relation to beliefs and how a lack of beliefs, or at least an openness to new experiences, allows for more discovery of what this life means to each of us in our own unique way. It was a rediscovery of things I thought I knew, but were never really my own ideas; just things learned through various readings and videos. Thus nothing new was essentially created here. But I recognize that I may go beyond these ideas and create a deeper understanding of reality or discover truth, as long as my beliefs do not get in the way and hold me down to a certain way of thinking and seeing the world.
To do so, I can continue through each present moment to see every event as a lesson put on my path for me to learn, and not look upon it with some prior judgement but give it my full attention. When we do not judge things on the basis of all that we think we already know, we allow it to spur in us whatever growth it came to start. To me that is what this life is about, it is about learning, and we cannot learn when we shut ourselves off with beliefs. They are usually put in place to help us ignore some fear we have, whether of a physical or metaphysical nature. Thus getting past our fear is the first step on the road to living our life fully.
To end off I would like to share with you a poem I wrote that ties together some of the themes I touched upon surrounding beliefs, stillness and living your truth.
it surrounds me
pervades all around
welcomes me at my grave
is the start of all the universe gave
with it I awake
to hear the subtleties
of the brain I stand to break
escaping to the other side, reality
its hard to explain
but if you’ve pushed
your own comfort zone
till the point you feel insane
know your hitting the bone
the basis of the matter
where all thoughts begin to scatter
you find the original mould
of a utopian eden
by thoughts of old
adams trying to hold
a thought they thought was gold
but it could never measure up
to what they first envisioned
as humanity’s first successful mission
at finding peace
for silence you cannot find
until you still the mind
looking upon this world
as if you were born at every new dawn
no longer a lonely pawn
by breaking the bond
between you and your beliefs
finding life to be such a relief
taking the paradise out of heaven
and placing it at your feet.
I thank you for reading this. I hope it gives you a new way of viewing your world so that you may see a new world is possible. If you have any questions or comments about any of the points that I raised, don’t be shy to share. I am always interested in other people’s points of view.
About the Author
Hello, my name is Miguel Sa. I am simply another person going through many different experiences of life, as we all are, enjoying as much as I can. What I enjoy doing the most is writing, running, travelling to new places, doing Tai chi, rock climbing, and hiking, but what I like to do is not limited to just these. I currently reside in Ottawa, Canada. I am a student (of life), and plan on creating architecture that will liberate people from basic survival needs, and bring this change to everyone!