In my days of sailing, it was common to drop a long length of rope from the bow of our boat as it was entering unknown waters in search of a safe harbor. Let’s call it “sounding for bottom” or probing the depths.
Likewise, here are a few pointers to help us “sound for truth”. But rather than dropping a depth-sounding rope, our approach to finding the nature of truth will start and never end with the use of one particular device – listening.
Listening is not so much a life-long art as it is a moment-to-moment total awareness or effortless being that is simply fully connected and engaged; it’s the Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end – in this “getting of wisdom”. In truth, of course, we never get what we already are. So what follows is full of paradox – that’s the mystery of this unbounded adventure of spirit!
What do we listen for?
Truth has a number of qualities or markers, all of which tell us something and absolutely nothing about it! That’s because the truth itself is not some thing which, once glimpsed, is then known. But let’s not get ahead of our self here, and for now we’ll just move on to take a look at some of these sounding devices:
Truth is simple.
It’s not a complex freighting of knowledge stored up in memory (which of course, has its functional uses in everyday living) It’s always known because it’s always present. That is, there is only one truth and it is always now. So the truth-of-this-moment is actually the whole truth – all the truth or reality that is engaged. The rest is what we think we know based on where we think we’ve been and where we think we’re going. All that is mind-stuff – “vaporware,” as I call it! The truth is not an invention, not an idea or ideal. In short, truth is not complicated by thought.
Truth is obvious.
Its very nature is undeniable and often surprising! Truth presents itself when we stop, look and listen for it. It’s actually not hard to find because it’s always and only here and now. In a word: obvious. We don’t need to discover so much as uncover, reality. It’s not hard to find the truth; it will find us if we’re truly open to its movement.
Truth is direct.
That is to say, it’s immediate in its perception. We directly and immediately perceive what is true if we’re willing to allow it to make itself known. That is possible only when we’re open and opening. And that requires a constant letting go of what we think we know and are; an active willingness.
Truth is reality.
Actually, we cannot even speak about, much less, know, what reality is. We can know what it is not, as in the Hindu enquiry of “netti-netti” – not this, not that…or the ancient Christian enquiry called “via negativa” which goes toward knowing by elimination, by seeing what isn’t true or knowable. What remains is a reality which we can in truth apprehend but in fact never speak about. We can only indicate it – point it out. That’s because we cannot describe or measure or in any way qualify reality. That non-fabricated reality is most often perceived in a silence and stillness which we know, and can only know, directly as our self.
Truth is intuitive.
To say in so many words, that truth is “intuitive” is to add little to our minds’ attempt to conclude, to “understand reality” – like attempting to grasp water with our hands. Let’s just say that we can perceive or intuit, that which is not a thought, and leave it there. Don’t even think about it – just let it be.
Truth is fresh.
Truth is served up to us fresh and spontaneously. It’s apprehended only in this present moment, and it keeps changing. Just as you can’t dip your toe in the same river twice, truth is a fluid, shape-shifting movement always aligned with reality. We can rely on it to change. And yet, once glimpsed, we can also rely on it to guide us like a beacon in the fog.
Truth is love.
It’s an endless sounding – we never come to the bottom of this truth that has no qualities. In divine awareness, there’s a kind of disengaged engagement – a living in truth that’s changing and yet never changing. In our human experience, it’s a sometimes delightful and sometimes painful encounter viewed from this affectionately aware place we may call “love” – an infinite and active unfolding that has its own force which we may also call “life”.
A love-life which has no preferences, no conditions, no requirements – not even for its recognition. But when we are graced to recognize this presence, we stop our efforts, our sounding for something more that our mind can know and experience. We bring up the sounding rope, coil it nicely on the deck of the good ship Paradox, and simply sit and listen to the love wave’s gentle lap, lap, lapping, here and now.