I invite you to discover your own love of the truth – to resonate with these words, and for this courageous love to grow in you.
What does it mean to have a love of truth? What it means for me, I can illustrate by a little story of something that happened when I was a teenager.
From a very young age I felt very lost and confused, and when I was a teenager I even dreamt of suicide. I had a sense that something was deeply false about the way I was being taught to live by my parents and society, but I had no idea what it was or what to do about it. I felt imprisoned by all the walls of people’s ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ and longed to break free somehow. One day I became so desperate, that I remember praying (I didn’t have a real sense of who I was praying to – to Life itself, God – anyone who would listen) for the truth. I remember even making a pact with life, that I would sacrifice everything for truth. I would give up all my dreams of a perfect romantic happily-ever-after relationship, all the things I most desired, I would give up everything, even if it hurt, if only I would be shown the truth. Now as I write this I can see myself down on my knees in my childhood bedroom with tears and black eyeliner (I was a bit of a Goth in those days) streaming down my face, and with such pain and desperation in my heart. I felt that I was willing and ready to play my part in the bargain. And since then, life has continued to play it’s part and reveal the truth, even though it hasn’t always been comfortable or easy.
I was willing to lose everything for truth. I was willing to die for the truth. I was, and still am continually humbled by the truth. What is Truth? When I say truth, I don’t mean one opinion of truth as opposed to another. I mean ultimate Truth. The Truth of who I really am, which is true beyond all words, beliefs, opinions and ideas. I have never trusted all the words anyway. They seem to just dance on the surface, are so changeable, and just never seem to really get to the root of it all. But without trusting words and ideas, there doesn’t seem to be much else – except for that longing for truth. And I have found that it is that longing, or love for the truth, that is the only way to navigate in life.
If there is a love for truth, then there is, and perhaps has always been, a longing for what you already know to be true. We long for truth because we already know it. It is who you really are, so you can not not know it. We long to go beyond the daily emotions, reactions, protection mechanisms, fear and pain. We long to break free of the prison walls of separation of who we think we are. We long for a sense of peace beyond it all. We long for it because somehow deep down we already know it. We know, without understanding what it is that we know. We know what is true because what is untrue feels so painful. We know that living as if we are separate, feels terribly wrong. We know what we are searching for because we already have a deep sense of that wholeness and freedom. But this sense, although it has been there your whole life, has been unacknowledged. The love of Truth, is the longing for it to be finally acknowledged, and lived without reservation.
The love for truth has to be stronger than the desire to be free of pain and discomfort. Otherwise you will go from spiritual method, to therapy to healing, from teacher to teacher, never really getting the point. Of course it is natural to desire to be free from suffering, but if that is your main focus, then this becomes an endless chasing of a dream, and running from what is present. No matter how good the teacher or practice, if you do not really have a love for truth, then you will be distracted by temporary experiences of relief that come and then go, and then leave you in an even worse state than you were before. The passion for the truth is the willingness to trade in every experience, no matter how blissful, peaceful or transcendental, for the Truth. It is such a longing for what is permanent, rather than the exhausting chasing what comes and goes.
The love of the truth is like a fire that burns in you, and will endlessly burn whatever is false. Once this fire of truth starts to burn in you, it takes over.
It will inevitably lead you to know your true nature, and live as that more and more consciously. You will uncover and discover what you are not, and lose the safe footholds that you believed in. This willingness to keep losing what you think, is not comfortable and easy. It can be humiliating and embarrassing. It can be frightening or painful. And it can be ecstatic and liberating. But all of these temporary states come and go, no matter how terrible or wonderful they are.
I invite you to be willing to keep stepping out of your comfort zones. Keep admitting how you have been fooling yourself, or believing an old image of yourself. Be willing to feel the discomfort of fear or pain, that may come in this free-fall into the unknown. In that willingness you will see that these are only temporary experiences. They are not the truth of who you are. The social conditioning that we have been brought up with, is so often based in fear of the unknown. It can seem terrifying to admit to yourself that the known and socially acceptable ways of living are not true, because it is admitting that really you have no idea how to live. The social conditioning has seemed to keep us safe and protected in this otherwise chaotic, and risky life. But life is risky, and our beliefs about how things should be, can never really protect us from that. In living with the risk, we start to defrost and come alive. In the willingness to feel the discomfort, we are more and more open to the joy and freedom of life.
~ Unmani (A chapter from her upcoming book)