The philosophical question about the meaning of life, its purpose, why we are here and the truth behind all that is has fascinated people since early mankind, from the Sumerians to the Mayans, modern Scientists and Philosophers, believers and atheists. Well, it does not only fascinate people from all different kinds of ideological and cultural backgrounds, but it also frustrates many of us as there seems to be no answer in sight, at least not an easy one that all could agree upon.
And even though we are all occupied with our jobs and the struggles of life – the inexplicable remains, its questions remain veiled within the back of the mind for years, but eventually they begin to arise, once more, stronger than before.
- What is the truth behind all that is?
- What’s the meaning and purpose of life?
- Why am I here on this planet?
- Is humanity a mere coincidence, or were we created?
- Are there extraterrestrial life forms out there?
- What’s the purpose of my life?
- Is there a god, or a higher intelligence?
- What happens after you’ve died? Is there a life after death?
And I’m sure these questions only scratch the surface as there are a lot more in-depth questions people are scratching their heads on, day after day.
I think we can agree that – at least many of us – are on the quest to discover the truth and the meaning behind life and all that is, no matter what this “truth” will turn out to be. Some of us may be actively searching for this type of truth, from within the remains of long forgotten societies to modern laboratories; others might rely on external guides to present them the truth, from gurus to spiritual leaders and yet others are trying to discover answers to their seemingly inexplicable questions in their everyday life. Interestingly enough, we get to know a lot of people during this journey that are presenting their claims and believes as fact or even go so far to call these statements “the only and absolute truth”. Yet, their believes – even though proclaimed to be backed up by “irrefutable evidence” – still remain these people’s personal truths, not the one and only truth. We only have to look back in our history to see that there were many conflicts of two or more opposing ideologies/opinions, all claiming for themselves to be “the one and only”, whereas all the others were regarded as misguided and false.
What is so important to understand is that you will seldom – if not never – find a person knowing the all-engrossing truth about everything that is, was, and will be. Sure enough, there are many that have discovered pieces and fractions of it, but to see the big picture in its wholeness is simply not possible for most human beings, as of yet. Another point that I deem important to address is the fact that whatever another person considers to be their truth, doesn’t necessarily have to be your truth whatsoever.
What may appear as truth to one person will often appear as untruth to another person. But that need not worry the seeker. ~ Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Ghandi
Furthermore, it is so crucial to understand that believes are highly dependent on the perspective and level of experience of a given person. If you would compare the descriptions of a thunder-storm by a modern day person and someone living in the 10th century, you would have two completely different stories, one involving modern day knowledge and science, the other one about gods and the like. A boringly normal lighter from our advanced society could become the idolized “lightening of the gods” of an Indian tribe living in the Amazonas, far away from civilization.
The truth is within you!
The astonishing thing is that the truth lies within you, it will always be with you everywhere you go and waits to be discovered, little by little, when the time is ready and you are capable of comprehending the meaning that comes with it. External sources can guide you, they can show you the direction, but ultimately it takes no outward things to discover what always had been centered within you. The question is:
I. How to discover the truth within?
1. Listen when your heart speaks
At some point in life, the answers that external sources provide do no longer satisfy the pursuer of the truth. Everything that could be discovered has been discovered, and every dot that could be connected has been connected. That’s an inevitable stage during the pursuit of the truth, but it also offers the opportunity to tune into the stream of infinite wisdom that originates from deep within you. There are as many names for this amazing inner wisdom as there are clouds in the sky, but the most common descriptions are “the inner voice”, “intuition” or goes simply by the depiction of “listening to what the heart is telling one”.
The difficulty with this inner voice is that it won’t start a regular conversation with you, just like a person would. Its guidance is more subtle, sometimes you will happen to notice synchronicities in your life, at another day there is this thought out of nowhere that keeps your mind busy for the rest of the day. You might not even notice at first sight that a positive development in your life originated from such a “fortuitous” thought from deep within you or from an intuitive feeling. That’s until you look back to realize how randomly this thought seemed to have appeared in your day-to-day life and how positive it affected your life.
Following your intuition and listening to what your heart has to tell you is a fantastic way to discover what the wisdom of your higher-self has to offer for you. And surprisingly, many of the journeys led by intuition will enable you to really do what you enjoy doing, something that many describe as “going with the flow of the universe” or “walking on the path of god”.
But how do you “encourage” the inner voice to share some of its wisdom with you? An excellent way to comfort intuition to unfold is meditation, as it aids you in calming down your mind, becoming quite and relaxed. In general, any activity that allows you to relax and supports you in calming your active mind down is excellent for this purpose.
2. Encourage the stillness of the mind
Meditation, for instance Buddhist meditation, is only but one way to seek inner guidance. Generally, everything that allows you to contemplate and aids you in letting your thoughts wander is perfect for this, for instance taking a long walk, an eased tour with your bike or simply gazing at the stars, letting whatever thoughts that come to mind arise.
Just when you were surrounded by silence and calmness, your mind engulfed in stillness, without expecting anything, intuition will make its voice heard. It could be a sudden thought that pierces your mind or a gut feeling evolving from within. It’s that “you could eat some more vegetables” thought that comes to a person who ate preferably meat throughout his whole life, or the “smoking does you no good” feeling to a person that has smoked cigarettes for ten or more years.
With some experience, you will perceive the way that intuition – or your inner voice – makes itself noticed and you might even begin to appreciate its guidance throughout your day-to-day life. Sudden thoughts are a tell-tale sign for your intuition to have spoken up, especially when they lead over the course of some days to significant and positive changes in your life.
As a side note, it is important to differentiate between the supportive voice of intuition and your not-so-supportive ego. The path that your ego advises you to take will encumber a burden on your shoulders, accompanied by anxiety, confusion, a feeling of turmoil and most important of all, the fear of failure. As opposed to this, suggestions made by your inner voice or intuition always come with a deeper understanding, a feeling of peace and tranquility. There is no fear associated with it and no pressure exerted onto you. It would simply feel right for you to do what your intuition suggested, deep within, but there is also no problem associated with ignoring the thought either.
3. Trust yourself and know yourself
As incomprehensible as it might sound at this particular moment, you already knew the truth, a long time before you began searching for it. At least that was what I began to realize the more dots I connected and the more vivid the pieces of the mosaic – “the bigger picture” – became. At first there was the framework, things that I knew from deep within myself since childhood, thoughts that randomly appeared during the different stages of my life. Later in life, I began to discover increasingly more details of the picture within this framework, noticing that the thoughts I had trivialized as merely a child’s vivid imagination had become the foundation of what I was unearthing. And just to clarify this, the childlike conclusions I had drawn at that time were really nothing special; there weren’t even many of them, but I still remember each of those in their full complexity, like the predominant thought that we are all the same, no matter what skin colors, religion or physical distances separate us superficially.
4. Be patient, insight will come to you when ready
Don’t try to force the all illuminating truth to enlighten you from one day to the other, that’s simply not possible and will most likely decrease your motivation drastically. Instead, be patient and know that each piece of the “mosaic of truth” will reveal itself to you when you are ready to perceive it. You can think about this as a complex process, where the events in your life, thereof gained experiences and drawn conclusions will have to tie in with each other in perfect synchronicity to prepare you for the knowledge that another insight reveals to you. These are the adventures that have to be mastered and the keys to be discovered to unlock the massive gates to yet another part of the whole.
Each truth can only be understood, when you are ready to receive it.
I’m sure you understand this principle from your personal life. Well, I do. For instance when I was a little child, I couldn’t believe that earth was a round object. How could all the adults be so wrong about this?. The ground I was walking on was flat, there were no coves, so I felt encouraged in my assumption that earth was a disc. That’s until I grew older and began to understand gravity and how enormous this planet truly is in order to realize that it in fact is a round object. And the same goes for “the truth”, or “the bigger picture”. If you are not ready for it, you won’t accept it for what it is, until certain knowledge, experiences and thereof drawn wisdom will prove you otherwise. If someone would have tried to elucidate some of the insights he gained throughout his life, I simply would have laughed at him (several years ago), not understanding what he meant or what he was talking about.
That’s exactly what is so tricky about the truth and the insights that come with it. A person could write down all the knowledge that has become his personal “truth” within the numerous pages of a book, yet people would dismiss it as fantasy, fiction and nonsense, if they haven’t drawn similar conclusions in their life’s.
II. Discovering the truth – the conventional way
Luckily, you do not have to rely solely on the truth to be found deep within you. There is also a “conventional path” that might lead you to your personal truth and insight. I’ve therefore chosen to include this section that discusses some important remarks to keep in mind, when searching for the truth. May I present: the facts about “the truth”.
True personal enlightenment goes hand in hand with knowledge. The problem about knowledge is that there is so much of it out there – in every kind of field from astrology to quantum physics – that you cannot possibly absorb it all. Therefore, it’s a matter of where you look and whom you are listening to.
#1 The truth has to be discovered
While this statement sounds logical, I want to emphasize the importance that – whatever you might regard as – the truth cannot be found by listening to the words of one person alone, no matter if these words are written in a book, a website or spoken in an impressive speech. Rather, it is up to you to discover piece after piece and to connect the dots, in order to understand the so important bigger picture. If I was to imagine myself traveling through time to meet my 18 year old younger-self, explaining myself all the insights I had gained through life I know that he would disregard everything I said, laughing about the verbiage. The point is that it takes a lot of in-depth and open-minded research to gain the knowledge that allows you to blink through the veil and understand fractions of the bigger picture.
The truth really has to be discovered, it has to be connected out of seemingly unrelated bits of knowledge. Notwithstanding, small pieces of the truth are to be found everywhere, from spiritual perspectives to the newest scientific discoveries. That’s what makes it so valuable to be interested in a vast range of different topics.
#2 There’s no firework indicating the truth
There will be no fireworks or exultation when you hit upon an insight on life. It feels rather like a profound realization emerging from within, espousing the building of the framework for a much bigger picture. So, instead of anticipating a stunning magical event, search for the deep realizations that provide satisfaction and a greater understanding of the whole magnitude of all that is.
#3 Leave no stone unturned
I think we can agree on the fact that the internet (or your local library) is literally stuffed with knowledge, making it even more difficult for those on the quest for the all-embracing truth. We have also concluded that it is very difficult – or unlikely – for one person alone to have an in depth understanding about all that is and the universal truth. Surely, there are a handful of individuals who have figured out many pieces of the puzzle, but there is an opposing army of those who only think they “figured it all out”, unknowingly deluding themselves and many others.
In order to widen your perspective, investigate ranges of subjects that interest you, leave no stone unturned and listen to what the experts have to say, but also try to discover the opinion of those that oppose these specialists. Have in mind that people are only sharing THEIR insights and THEIR interpretation thereof, a lot of it being highly influenced by their cultural and societal backgrounds, their education and believe system, or by those who pay them. But if you are willing to educate yourself about a vast range of topics, ranging from science, religion, metaphysics, history, physics, astrology, ancient societies and many more, you will spot similarities; you will see consensuses and accordances allowing you to grasp fractions of the bigger picture.
What is so interesting about this “bigger picture” is that you distinguish no longer between the different cultures, religions and their different interpretation, but you start noticing that everyone’s talking the same language – that of the truth, with their own personal “spin” attached to it. Always keep in mind that the more points of references you have, the better your ability to grasp the whole magnitude of all that is.
#4 Judge from within
On your quest for the truth, you will come along many topics that seem to be just “out there” and so different from anything that you have ever heard. You will hear people speaking about things that our modern day status quo of knowledge disputes to exist. Yet, many of those are sincere and regular people talking in the greatest detail of what they experienced or apparently know. In the end, it is important to investigate whatever topic that resonates deep within you. Make your heart your personal “idiocy indicator”, but also allow your heart to judge the legitimacy of what your brain considers to be pure science fiction. If you trust your heart, you will know who is sincere and who is right-out fooling you.
#5 Remain as open minded as possible
Having a prejudiced mindset about the whole world that surrounds you will hinder you from discovering new ideas and concepts, new approaches and mindsets and surprising realizations that provide you a further understanding of all that is. You’re doing yourself not a favor by being biased only to conform to your personal believes and to remain within the comfortable zone of nescience, but if you chose to do so, that is fine too.
Truth only reveals itself when one gives up all preconceived ideas. ~ Shoseki
#6 Assume you know just 1% of all that is
An excellent way to remain as open minded as possible is to always clarify that all the knowledge you have put together, the dots you connected and the insights you gained thereof add up to only 1% of all that is. If you were standing in front of a painting, the 1% we are speaking about would resemble a tiny little square, leaving the rest of the painting undiscovered. The “1% assumption” is the assurance to not fall into the very comfortable zone of naivety, prohibiting you from uncovering further realizations about the all engrossing truth. Even if you think you discovered the truth, search further and further to widen your perspective.
#7 Be aware of the deception
Finally, the last aspect that is important to understand is that there is deception, both knowingly and unknowingly, being spread everywhere you come across during your journey for the truth. There are those who do not teach the foundation of their inner truth and the wisdom gained thereof, but chose to be a teacher of the concepts that others created. Listen to your heart and you will know what resonates with you and what does not.
You can listen to a thousand people, all of them presenting their own “truth”, but you will only find your truth within yourself. In fact, the only truth you will ever know in this lifetime resides deep within yourself.
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