What Is Truth?

There'll come a time when all your hopes are fading
When things that seemed so very plain
Become an awful pain
Searching for truth among the lying
And answered when you've learned the
Art of Dying
But if you want it-- you must find it
But when you have it--There'll be no need for it

... Do you believe me?

George Harrison

"What is Truth?" may be the most basic of philosophical questions. It may be the most urgent question of believers. Yet seldom does the seeker get a straight answer to that question from the wise.

There is a paradox in the answer to "What is Truth?" The more complicated the answer, the less likely it is to be correct, but the simple answer, while closer to truth, can be more difficult to grasp.

If a hundred million people believe they have the Truth and they war with a hundred million people who have a different Truth, who is to say which Truth is true? Truth is not validated by the number of votes it gets.

If Truth is written in a book, and the words contradict themselves, you can conclude that Truth is not found in the literal meaning of the words.

If you think you have the Truth and your belief in it dims your compassion for non-believers, you may have missed something.

If you find your heart opening in compassion and loving kindness, it is a clue that you are on the right track.


Take a moment to loosen up your mind and body. The truth is not found in tightness and restriction. Breathe in and out a few times a little more deeply and fully than is your habit. Let the out-breath fall freely, as if you were letting go of a weight in your chest. Breathe. Let the in-breath come on its own. Release the tension in your shoulders and neck. Lovingly invite softness and warmth into the muscles of your shoulders and neck. Let that softness and warmth spread throughout your body. Relax and straighten your spine to let the flow of life move unrestricted between your head and the rest of your body. Your spine supports you comfortably as if a great loving hand is holding you where you need to be held.

Imagine you are a newborn baby. You know no words. You are in your perfect mother's arms. You are warm. You have been fed, you look up at her face, and you feel her love for you. What you feel for her in that moment is pure and true. That love in your tiny body, unblocked by belief or experience of past pain, is pure truth.

Imagine that sitting here your body and soul are free of all memories of pain. You know no fear, because you are touched with love. Like a newborn, you perceive no boundaries between yourself and your world or the people in your world. You live in trust, knowing that what will be, will be. Your mind is not cluttered with words. Your thoughts are simple. They come and go where they please, and you don't chase them too far. In this state you are close to Truth.

Of course, we may be wrong. But then "Truth" is just a word. The more you are attached to words, the harder it is to find the Truth.

Look, it cannot be seen -- it is beyond form.
Listen, it cannot be heard -- it is beyond sound.
Grasp, it cannot be held -- it is intangible.
These three are indefinable;
Therefore they are joined in one.

Lao Tzu

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© 1997-2003 Tom Barrett