my quest for truth: lessons learned

As an individual progresses on his quest for truths, his consciousness begins to grow or expand.  When ignorance is replaced by knowledge, true knowledge, what a person is conscious of is now larger, one’s field of vision has become wider, and perhaps extends further into the distance.



background and context

The search for truth can be very humbling.  My personal search began 40 years ago while I was an undergraduate student at university.  This was the time in my life when I consciously made the personal decision to actively seek truth and not merely rely on what was being fed or taught me in the classroom, in the family, in the church, or through the mass media of television, radio, printed periodicals, and Hollywood movies.  (At the time, the Internet was many years into the future.  With a diverse readership, the question might arise as to what gave rise to my overly curious and skeptical nature; might it have been genetic?  As I have met seekers from all ethnic/racial backgrounds, persons of integrity, a genetic explanation does not necessarily appeal to me, but I digress.)

lessons learned

1.  The search for elusive, even obscured (occulted?, i.e. hidden) truths is very costly over time, requires much time and effort, much digging and perseverance.  In other words, a serious commitment is required.  Truth does not come easy.  The quest is not for those lacking in tenacity, and dare I say, in courage.

2.  Truths found can sometimes be quite unpleasant.  Many individuals will be tempted to remain in a state of ignorance and denial.  They will consciously choose to remain in their personal comfort zone rather than confront and have to accept disturbing and distressing truths.  One thing to note here is that most people do not want to face up to having been lied to all their lives on important issues, especially if they were adversely affected by the lies.  (A poignant example of this is the state of denial that many American men, who were circumcised shortly after birth for scientifically unsound and erroneous medical reasons, choose to remain in rather than confront how much they and their wives were robbed of in their married lovemaking because of the needless circumcision.  This mass state of denial is the main reason that this primitive, superstitious practice continues today in the US without any serious discussion of it.  There are numerous other examples that we are sure you can think of.)

3.  Others will not attach appropriate value to the truth if it is given to them on a platter, so to speak.  Do people ever really appreciate, fully appreciate and value what is given to them for free?  They will value the truth more if they have to make their very own personal sacrifices to get it.  We can help others by encouraging them and pointing them in the right direction, and by trying to correct their errors.  But, when we spoon feed the truth to others, we may disappointed to find that they do not value the truth as fully as they should.  Indeed, truths need to be lived.  (An example here is the Christian who will talk the talk but not walk the walk.  Truths to be fully valued and experienced have to be transformative of one’s life – thoughts, words and, yes, deeds (actions).)

4.  Knowledge and truths can be a terrible burden.  Yet, can we expect to grow and develop in our consciousness and spirituality without seeking and acquiring the knowledge of truths?

They say that ignorance is bliss.  And, that is true in a superficial sense, but not in an ultimate sense.  Yet, as Socrates opined, the unexamined life is not worth living.

possibly helpful suggestions

For the personal (individual) quest for deeper spiritual truths and greater awareness, the following suggestions may be helpful to some seekers.

1.  Read the original spiritual texts, treatises and Scriptures rather than the commentaries on these.  The original works or texts are shall we say more pure in the contents of their message.  Commentaries include their respective authors’ personal and subjective interpretations of the texts, and thus may skew the original meaning and possibly serve to confuse the student and seeker.  Keep that in mind if you do read commentaries on various spiritual works.  Of course, there is another factor to be aware of.  Translations necessarily require some interpretation and some judgment as to appropriate vocabulary to use by the translator.  So, even original works when translated into different languages can lose some of their original, authentic or bona fide meaning.

2.  Bear in mind that actual spiritual experiences, when these come, are to be preferred over study.  Value your direct experiences over study.  Study of spiritual works is very helpful and necessary to a degree, but experience is not to be devalued by an exclusive reliance upon study.  Jnana, the yoga of knowledge, can only take a seeker so far.  Bhakti, the yoga of love, devotion and surrender, is the better path for this age.

Do not be discouraged in your quest for truth.  Remember each day to make a little effort to become a more conscious and loving being.  (Less time spent on social media or in front of the television can give a person the needed time each day.)  Sacrifices will be made, required along the path, but the process for growth is critically important for sentient beings.  Do not come to the end of your earthly life in a state of spiritual ignorance (darkness) and then die in ignorance like an animal.

We are all born in a state of innocent ignorance.  If we remain in a state of ignorance over the course of our lives, that is a choice we make (possibly due to a slothful personal nature, and possibly from the constraints, limitations and biases of the culture we are born into).  We can then be said to be in a state of willful ignorance.  Such ignorance makes us vulnerable and serves to waste much of our potential.

A healthy – not necessarily extreme nor cynical – skepticism is helpful.  Beware of charlatans as there are many out there; and you will no doubt meet many on the path over the course of your life.

copyright 2018 –

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