87 QUESTION: I’d like to ask you a rather vague question about truth. What does the phrase “artistic truth” mean, and how does it bear on objective truth, subjective truth and psychic truth?
ANSWER: There really is no such thing as “subjective truth.” I know such terminology may be used when finding a distortion or wrong conclusion. It is true that certain misconceptions exist and need to be faced. Then it is said that one has come across a subjective truth, but actually this term is a contradiction. Truth is objective.
Artistic truth is the result of the truthfulness of a person. If one is basically untruthful with oneself and with life, one cannot, in spite of creative talent and ability, produce artistic truth. There is no separation. The overwhelming existence of truthfulness will produce an overwhelming result of artistic truthfulness.
QUESTION: What is the best technique for distinguishing between truth and opinion? Or fact and opinion?
ANSWER: There is a substantial difference between a fact and truth. A fact is a segment of truth. You may be in possession of a fact, but you ignore additional factors. Therefore you do not have a true outlook on a situation. Let us assume you witness one person insulting another. This is a fact. But judging this fact alone may be misleading because you ignore what led to this insult.
Only the knowledge of all relevant factors can show the truth of the situation. To see truth is a very difficult task. As long as you are aware of this difficulty, you will not be tempted to believe you are in truth, when you are merely in possession of facts. This knowledge will increase your own truthfulness, whereas believing that you are in truth when you are not, can only increase untruthfulness.
The ability to acquire a deeper, wider and greater perception of truth is determined by your ability to face yourself truthfully and sincerely, no matter how unpleasant this may be. To the degree that you succeed in facing yourself, your ability to perceive truth automatically grows. It cannot grow by a direct technique or process. It is an indirect outcome of inner growth, self-awareness and self-facing.
QA130 QUESTION: If someone has a specific fear of a specific sickness, how could this person not be in truth, because sickness exists in this world.
ANSWER: You must not confuse a fact with the truth. There are many facts, and facts are parts of truths, a half-truth, fragments of the truth. You might just as well say we all – every human being who ever lived, has lived, or will live – must die. This is a fact.
But the fear of death is not the truth. The state of fear is not a truthful inner state, because in that state one fears, one experiences something that is not in accordance ever with reality. Now, I do not mean the intuition, a protective mechanism that, let us say, the moment you are in a fire, in an accident, the moment of fear brings up the defensive mechanism that helps you to protect yourself at the moment from a mishap. That is a healthy mechanism that has nothing to do with the state of fear. It is a momentary thing that subsides and serves as a warning for self-preservation.
A state of fear, whether the fear is a sickness or a death or whatever, is a state of error. For even though a sickness may be a fact, the fact that you fear it certainly does nothing to protect yourself from the disease, nor does it have any other constructive purpose.
QUESTION: In Lecture #129 Winner vs. Loser [Lecture #129 Winner Versus Loser: Interplay Between the Self and Creative Forces], you said the truth evolves slowly, and that I understand very well, because that has happened to us all as we’ve gone along the Path. We find a little bit of truth and then find more. But in the previous lecture, you said if man knows one truth, he knows all truth. And I can’t understand that. Please help me.
ANSWER: Yes. The answer is that here, of course, I am not referring to a partial truth. The way you are thinking about it is, in the terms of this Pathwork, where you discover an element and you become aware of the facts of, let us say, a misconception. It is true that you have this misconception. This will perhaps even give you temporary liberation and relief.
But being aware of the misconception, you are not necessarily yet in a state of truth. There are isolated moments within this Path where you experience a momentary state of truth, and in that moment you know all truth, and that is a difference. It is a difference of making the realization of a misconception and understanding it, being aware of what has kept you from expansion and from liberation, and even connecting certain aspects or a state of truth in which you experience Creation, the goodness, the richness, the abundance, the beauty of Creation.
When you experience the truth of love, for instance, you also have the truth of wisdom and the truth of beauty. Or from another side, you may experience the truth of wisdom. Then you know the truth of love. That is all one truth. Or the truth of life – of what it means to be alive, to be in tune with the cosmic forces. One approach to truth is all truth.
This is, of course, not the little truth or the facts or the factors of realization that all lead to one whole you go through in your Pathwork.
QUESTION: But then it seems that finding the truth, the real truth is far away.
ANSWER: No, it is not. That is just man’s error that he thinks it is far away – and therefore he alienates himself from it – for it is much, much, much closer than he ever believes. It is right here and right there. It is being the real self, being not even the real self in that higher connotation, but experiencing yourself in truth at this moment, right now, as you are, as you feel right now – that is truth.
You do not even have to become different if you really are in the Now and therefore in yourself. You are then in truth. But if you think you have to go through great changes that will happen in ten years or tomorrow, then you are away from the truth. Not because you actually need to be away from the truth, but because you do not see that the truth, yourself, is right here, right now.
QA139 QUESTION: I’ve had a recent problem. It’s about being honest with people. I find that sometimes – very often, in fact – I have this fear of being honest. With a close friend, I wonder whether they really want to know the truth about what I feel. If the person is a superior, like my boss, I fear that if I tell him what I really believe, I might get fired.
ANSWER: Let us take the first thing that you said – namely, do they really want to know the truth. Here, this is such an important thing, and particularly with you, where the compulsion is so great that everybody must be in truth because you think your life depends on it. That, of course, is not true. Your life does not depend – nor your happiness, nor even your well-being – on whether others are in truth or not.
You will have a problem about this if you feel they ought to know the truth – they must know the truth or else. Now you see, something else enters into this. The moment you feel you have this compulsion – this misunderstanding – that others must be in truth, there must be hostility and a forcing current in you. Therefore, even if the other person is ready to hear the truth when you say it, it might not go over; it might offend.
If you are free from hostility, if you are relaxed about it, if there is no urgent need and no forcing current, you will know exactly when the other person wants to hear truth and when not. You will not have to say it. You will be perfectly happy and comfortable not to say it, and when you do say it, there will be no trace of hostility, and therefore it will be accepted.
Therefore your problem in this respect is not a problem of the way you stated it, “Should I or shouldn’t I say the truth?” But the problem is: Why do you think your life and your well-being and your happiness and your fulfillment depend on the other person being in truth? This is the question, the point from which you have to look in yourself. For it is an illusion when you believe you depend on someone else for your happiness. Not really.
To put the problem in terms of a lecture to all that I have given a long, long time ago and that is very basic to this whole work [Lecture #84 Love, Power, Serenity as Divine Attribute and as Distortions], there is a conflict between submissiveness and aggression, the two pseudosolutions. On the one hand, you think if you submit, you will be liked and accepted. On the other hand, you think you must have your way, and if other people do not obey you become hostile and aggressive.
You fluctuate between these two pseudosolutions. You have not found your way yet – the way out of these two pseudosolutions. This is the problem behind it. Perhaps from where you are at the moment, the best, most immediate way to tackle the problem at this point would be to question yourself: Why do others have to be in truth? What do you want from them?
Let me put it this way. In this submissive solution, the way you think that you can be accepted is by compliance, obedience, submission. When you do that, you are not truthful with yourself. Either actually or imaginarily, you think you can only be accepted when you deny yourself, when you pretend, when you do things for the sake of impressing them, for the sake of appearance, rather than what really is. And that is where you are not in truth.
It is subtle, but at this point, not as subtle as you may think now, for if you look very carefully and closely, you will see it. You will then see that you project your own concern with your lack of truth onto others, and you become over-concerned with their being in truth. Your real concern is yourself, because you are so convinced that if you are in truth, you cannot be accepted – that the only basis of being accepted is by pretending something, by playing a role. That is your real concern – your guilt and your fear and your resentment and your self-contempt and your rebellion against others.
150 QUESTION: The expression “seeing yourself in truth” seems to have lost its meaning because a lot of people use the expression and claim that they see themselves in truth – yet I know they do not. An expression is often used in such a way that it loses its real meaning. Could you clarify this? Does it apply to areas where people don’t want to face the truth about themselves?
ANSWER: This is, unfortunately, the fate of all truth in the human realm, and it goes beyond the limitations of expressing spiritual truth in human language. Language can lend itself well to concealing, displacing and deceiving when you use the right words yet avoid the real issues.
No expressions in any language guarantee avoidance of subterfuge and self-deception. Only the profound sincerity of the inner will to be truthful with the self can avoid distortion. The human tendency to run away from the self prompts the use of language in ambiguous ways. One can generalize about the truth while avoiding specific truths about oneself. This is how a truth can eventually become a cliché. That is why I restate and reformulate the same truths in different words.
All I can add here is that one cannot be in the universal, general truth, the dynamic truth of life, unless one is in the truth of one’s self. And that includes the truths still difficult to look at. A person who refuses to face what seems most difficult is not in a truthful state. There are always areas one resists looking at, that offer opportunities for self-deception.
It is essential to say to oneself again and again: “I want to look at everything, even the areas where I am most resistant.” Then and only then can all the difficulties, all the apparently insurmountable obstructions, dissolve so that things fall naturally and effortlessly into place, and a meaningful life establishes itself.
The universal stream of life brings harmony where disharmony existed, meaning where waste existed, fulfillment where frustration existed, pleasure supreme where pain and deprivation existed. But the courage and humility to be in total truth about the self must be cultivated and summoned daily.
“I am not afraid to look at whatever it is, even if it is something I do not want to see. I request the divine wisdom and power within me to help me to see what I most need to see, so that I can change as I need to change.” Make this your daily prayer and you will liberate the real self from its shackles and attain the blissful truth of the universe.