Every now and then someone asks me what I think the truth is. It always leaves me pondering truth and why people are so anxious that there be one (and only one) and determined to find it. People think they know “the truth” and then seem to need for everyone else to believe the same truth. Wars are fought, people are tortured and jailed, neighbor hates neighbor, all for the sake of “truth”.
I get it that this quest for truth is crucial to a lot of people but I must admit I don’t really get why. I used to be a sociologist so I could posit a lot of plausible theories but really I don’t get why. I have a few truths I guess, the main ones being that everything is energy, that energy has consciousness, that we’re all part of one giant web of energy and that we can influence energy by practices, actions, thoughts, etc. That’s what I believe now. Could change tomorrow if I encounter a new cosmology that seems more believable to me. Don’t much care whether anyone else believes what I believe or not. I’m glad I have friends who hold similar beliefs because otherwise it would be lonely but I don’t think the fate of the world hangs on whether we get others to believe as we do.
Dagara spiritual leaders believe that being dirty shows Spirit that your attention is only on it so you should be as dirty as possible. Yogis believe you have to be clean inside and out in order to connect with the divine. One bunch of Buddhists believes you have to work toward everyone’s enlightenment rather than just your own. Another branch believes that individuals need to raise themselves first before they are able to help others. From shamans to mystics to monks and beyond the array of beliefs about who God is (or how many there are…) and how to connect to higher consciousness are myriad and often contradictory. The thing I note is that every spiritual path has some enlightened people.
I think the crucial part of what’s true is belief. All those enlightened people from all those paths really believed in the path they followed and they wound up achieving the goal. Every one who has succeeded in his or her path succeeded in spite of the fact that most of the planet was following some other path.* What you believe becomes true and it becomes true because you believe. Which means every set of beliefs has the potential to be true for anyone. Every set of beliefs can be changed so that something else is true. I like to think of finding what’s true for me with an openness, in this world of change, to transforming into a different truth as I move along. You might believe other things and that’s okay too.
*Since there are so many paths (and since even the big ones are divided into quite a few denominations with varying beliefs) I’m assuming relative to any one path or set of beliefs, most of the world is collectively following who knows how many other paths.
See Some, Malidoma, Of Water and the Spirit for more on the Dagara.