Newsletter Post # 3

by Christopher Lovejoy on June 5, 2011

The Perspectives on Personal Fulfillment Newsletter
Issue # 3, June 5, 2011, posted as time and inclination permit

Welcome to my third newsletter.

In this post, I share some personal reflections on where I find myself on my spiritual journey, with an emphasis on coming to terms with truth, before exploring the relevance and significance of truth.

I then offer some personal impressions from my reading of a selected passage on truth, before providing a couple of resources that would have you enhance your relationship with truth.

Personal Reflections

When I was a pre-schooler, one of the highlights of my day was going to the neighborhood variety store to get a box of Cracker Jack, featuring Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo.

After handing over my dime to the cashier, but before eating the caramel-covered popcorn and peanuts, I would rummage through the box in search of my toy surprise.

When I found something new and different, something I liked and found intriguing, I would exclaim excitedly to my uncle, holding up my new prize: “Look what I got, Uncle Bill!”

When I look back on this childhood experience, I see it as spiritual. It had all of the hallmarks of a spiritual quest: intention, expectation, manifestation, and realization.

I’ve come a long way since those idyllic lazy, hazy dog days of summer.

When I first delved (consciously) into the subject matter of spirituality in my late teens, I had already been exposed to religion, psychology, and philosophy in my early to mid-teens.

At the time, I don’t recall any books, films, or lectures on spirituality being especially popular.

But as the twentieth century drew to a close, spirituality was gaining ground as a popular subject.

Popular books, films, and lectures on the subject resurrected the use of popular sound bites.

You might even recognize some of them:

We’re all one.

All you need is love.

Just be yourself.

Go with the flow.

Be here now.

All of which, without a supporting context, can act like quick and easy sedatives in a busy, complex world – substitutes for a finely nuanced and balanced understanding that is willing to entertain and address (or confront) distressing, shocking, or disturbing complexities and realities.

Today, when I read and think and speak about spirituality, or anything related to it, I look beyond the sound bites, the one-liners, the quick fixes, the assorted pablums.

Today, as before, I’m inclined to dig deeper, to go higher, to seek broader horizons.

I’m willing to blow my mind if needs be, to get to the roots of who we are, of what we’re here to be and do, of where we came from and where we’re headed, and of why we’re even here at all.

Any and all subjects are fair game.

I’ve now reached a point in my journey where I’m privy to a complex mosaic of shifting facts, ideas, perspectives, impressions, and interpretations that go far beyond perspectives on personal fulfillment.

My appetite and tolerance for entertaining and exploring the unusual, the strange, and the bizarre is higher than at any time in my life.

My calling now is to sort it all out, to sort the wheat from the chaff, the gems from the lies, to get a clear, concise, coherent, comprehensive picture that can stand on a stable platform of truth.

And, of course, to tie it all in with the nature, meaning, and realization of personal fulfillment.

Reflections on Truth

This statement is false. True?

If true, then it’s false; if false, then it’s true.

Truth is wonderfully complex.

So much so that we think or talk incessantly and redundantly about subjective truth and objective truth, relative truth and absolute truth, truthfulness and truthiness.

We are constantly asking, if only implicitly:

  • What is truth?
  • What is the truth?
  • What is my truth?
  • What is your truth?
  • What is our truth?

In fact (and here, I’m speaking truthfully), the truth can be quite plain.

The plain truth. The truth and nothing but the truth.

When you make a statement about X, and it’s true, what does this mean? Could it mean that the statement you make is a fact that reflects or corresponds with something real?

Take, for example, the statement, “my keyboard is black”. It presents a fact, and is therefore true.

No interpretation is necessary.

You look, you see, and (unless you have a streak of perversity in you) you agree.

It doesn’t matter that my keyboard also has grey buttons running along the top of it, or that the keys are labelled with white letters, numbers, and symbols. “My keyboard is black” is a fact.

The statement, “my keyboard is black”, is true. Objectively so – for me and for anyone who can see it for themselves. Any other statement of fact about it is a qualifying statement.

The statement, “I’m comfortable when I use my keyboard”, is also true. Objectively so – but only for me. It’s quite possible that my keyboard might not be comfortable for you, not now or ever.

In light of these facts, consider these questions:

  • Is it true that you’re happy?
  • Is it true that you’re feeling satisfied with your life?
  • Is it true that you’re at peace with yourself?
  • Is it true that your life is going the way you want it to go?
  • Is it true that you have fulfillment in your life?

Any answer to any of these questions is subject to interpretation. You could lie to yourself with a little white lie about the truth, pretending that you’re happier than you really are, for example.

A sincere, honest, heartfelt response might go something like this: “I was really happy yesterday, not so happy when I woke up this morning, but you know, I’m kinda, sorta happy now.”

A critical response to these reflections might go something like this: “Yes, but what do you mean by ‘happy’? Given your definition of happiness, are you truly happy, more often than not?”

Facts imply truth, but what does this implication have to say about an interpretation of the facts?

For example, “what I mean by happiness is contentment and (here comes the interpretation) when I reflect on my life over the past few weeks, I find that I’m content more often than not.”

My interpretation here is neither true nor false; it’s either accurate or not, coherent or not.

A group of trained observers, watching a slice of my life on webcam, and privy to my every waking move, might comment as follows: “if, by happiness, you mean contentment, then based on our observations, we’ve come to conclude that you’re not all that happy with yourself.”

I could protest this interpretation, but if I’m honest with myself, I would do well to take a close look at the reasons for why it was made, and then make some course corrections, if desired.

True, seeing is knowing, but knowing is also seeing.

If I know I’m happy, and my knowing has the strength of conviction, then invariably and inevitably, I’ll attract (and be attracted to ) people, places, and things that confirm the knowing that I am happy.

Energy flows where attention goes.

If I continue to focus on what makes me happy, then the energy of happiness that arises from this constant attention on happiness will continue to flow through me, from me, and around me.

But the truth about what makes me happy could stop there, confined to a light and lovely swirl of energy, causing me to ignore or dismiss or deny what’s really happening in the world.

And yet, energy flows where attention goes, and if I continue to dwell on all that is bad or poor or wrong in the world, could this not be a dangerous prescription for more of the same?

And if so, …

Do I then focus exclusively on being happy and fulfilled?

Do I then focus on exposing what is bad or poor or wrong in the world, but only on occasion, when I feel like it or when I feel pressed to do so?

Do I then focus my attention on finding and maintaining a reasonable, responsible balance?

Or do I merely let go and let be, letting whatever comes up for me?

Is there a right or wrong answer here? Or just an answer that works for me, in a certain place, at a certain time, in a certain way, with a certain reason, for a certain period of time?

Perhaps the truth of who and what I am, of what I need and want, of what I like and love about this world, is a truth waiting and yearning to be taken and spoken as my truth.

As and when I take and speak my truth honestly, with integrity or authenticity, without fear of loss or lack, then perhaps the truth of all that is will emerge and converge for me.

A Quote to Ponder

In the end, we return to the question, just how much do you love truth?

Do you really love truth or are you just curious?

Do you love it enough to rebuild your understanding to conform to a reality that doesn’t fit your current beliefs, and doesn’t feel 120% happy?

Do you love truth enough to continue seeking even when it hurts?

Even when it reveals aspects of yourself (or human society, or the universe) that are shocking, complex, and disturbing, or humbling, glorious, and amazing?

Or even when truth is far beyond the human mind itself?

Just how much do we love truth?

It’s a good question to ask ourselves, I think.

~ Scott Mandelker

Impressions: “Just how much do we love truth?” It’s a good question. Have I had the courage to live a life true to myself – and not a life others expect of me? Have I been working too long or too hard? Have I had the courage to express my feelings in my relationships? Have I made the time to stay in touch with favored family and friends? Have I allowed myself to be at peace, happy, satisfied, and fulfilled?

If so, are you then ready and willing to take your life to the next level, by entertaining and exploring complexities and realities that take you far beyond conventional ideas about what this world is really and truly about? Or are you content to keep your life confined to a sphere of concern that keeps you safely and securely snuggled inside the bosom of a Great Mother that lives and breathes comfort?

Let me help you answer these questions: watch this remarkable video, observe carefully your feelings as you do, and then tell me how ready and willing you are to embrace a love of truth.

It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense ~ Mark Twain

Recommended Reading and Viewing

There’s the truth about myself and then there’s the truth about the world in which I live.

I know that the more transparent I am with the truth about myself, the more transparent I can be with the truth about the world at large.

Know thyself.

It’s a simple lesson: know thyself so that you might also know the world around you – and vice versa.

As a nurse, Bronnie Ware cared for and listened to those who had gone home to die pass into The Great Beyond, and in the last three to twelve weeks of their lives, she learned from her encounters and experiences with them that “people grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality”.

Her humility would not allow her to say this, but her track record was impeccable. Through the denial, the anger, the tears, and the remorse, she was able to help every person come to terms with his or her passing.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again (explore five of them here).

George Carlin was not afraid to speak his truth. His explosive anger, when he spoke his truth to power, was quite harsh at times, but only because the injustices he exposed were so deeply entrenched. Here’s someone who cared so much about the truth that he was willing to express his outrage.

Despite his cynical detachment, which he publicly expressed in various ways at various times, you knew that he cared deep down inside. Here’s a three-minute clip of one of his performances. Based on my research, I know that he speaks the truth – not just his truth. Viewer discretion is advised.

The American Dream: You have to be asleep to believe it ~ George Carlin

Recent Update

In my last newsletter, I mentioned that I would be releasing a paid email subscription newsletter on March 27, 2011. I’ve since decided to use the material intended for this newsletter in other ways.

What Lies Ahead

On June 25, 2011, the first anniversary of this blog, and for one day only, I’ll be offering one of my publications free of charge. This is my ‘thank you’ to loyal readers (05.16.2014 update: this publication is no longer available).

In the meantime, please feel free to share this newsletter with others.

Until next time, be true, be wise, be free.

Christopher

 

 

Christopher Lovejoy
Perspectives on Personal Fulfillment

Christopher Lovejoy has been blogging at least once a week at Perspectives on Personal Fulfillment since June 2010, helping himself and others, through his writings, to live and lead more fulfilling lives.

He is the author of Your Life Your Dream: A Primer on Personal Fulfillment.

Follow him here for short inspirational messages and updates.

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