Quest For Truth
As you travel through life, you may be challenged to try to define what is true or truth in terms of the universe, life, the world and you. When you start to question and explore for yourself, there is so much conflicting information out there that it is difficult to determine what is true, especially when it comes to spirituality.
The topic of truth or reality is a huge topic in itself. To determine what is the ultimate truth, and what is truth in spirituality, we must first explore what truth is, the different types of truth and how truth can be viewed and determined. Only then can you create parameters that may help you determine what universal and spiritual truth, or any kind of truth is for you.
What Is Truth?
Truth often used to mean being a fact or something that is known or certain. Determining what is a fact is dependent on how we define, identify and distinguish the truth.
It is one of the central topics of philosophy and a huge topic that we can only touch on here.
Determining truth requires a criterion with which to measure truth. The challenge in defining the criterion comes down to the logic and rationale that is used, the parameters that are selected to measure truth, and from whose perspective it is viewed.
Spirituality is a search for understanding, purpose in life, the world, the universe and you and finding meaning in something bigger than yourself. Spirituality asks big questions like… who am I, why am I here, what is the meaning of life, where did we come from, how was life created and many, many more.
Spiritual truth is the truth or the facts that answer these questions about you, me, the collective, the world, and the universe with certainty.
On a spiritual path, many people are looking for certainty and a clear, final answer or fact about how and what things are. The challenge is in knowing if and when something is certain or absolute.
Absolute truth is unchangeable and defined and exists at all times and places. It is always true no matter what, regardless of how it is being viewed.
Absolute truth is an inflexible reality with fixed, invariable and unchanging or unalterable facts. An example is that squares have four sides, triangles have three sides and the sky is blue.
Logically as humans, we require some absolute truth but some will argue against it to say it does not exist because the language and words and meanings we use are all constructed by humans and do not exist without humans.
If an absolute truth is that a square has four sides, they would argue that humans constructed the idea of sides, and also counting systems to define four. Without the social constructs of shape and numbers, a square would not even exist.
If an absolute truth is that the sky is blue, they would argue, which sky, at what time and what do you mean by blue?
To argue against absolute truth is to create an absolute truth in itself, in saying that absolute truth does not exist. It implies that truth exists in that there is no absolute truth. It is difficult to argue against absolute truth because in doing so, you are arguing for absolute truth.
An absolute truth may be something that we all experience in the same way, but we must be aware of the meanings and filters that we apply to the truth and the facts that may distort it. We all look at a square and assume everyone sees a shape with four sides the same way we do, but we will never know. We all look at the same sky and assume we all see the same thing and the same colour “blue” but we will never know.
Relativism is the idea that perspectives and views are all relative to the position and experience of the viewer. In other words, how one sees or experiences the world is dependent on the position they are viewing it from.
In a basic physical sense, the perspective or view of an environment or situation appears one way when viewed from one position, but may appear completely different when viewed from a different position in the opposite direction looking the other way.
The same applies to the perspective or view of an idea, ideology, philosophy or any other social construct. How one individual sees or experiences something is dependent on where they are coming from and the ideas, beliefs, thoughts and memories they already hold. How one views and processes the world depends on the sum of their experiences and understandings to date.
Subjective perspective is something being perceived as true that is the direct result of an individual position and perspective. Your perspective is formed from your sensations, thoughts, feeling, emotions, needs, desires, preferences, memories, belief and opinions.
If you are connected or identified with these aspects of yourself, you have a unique and individual experience and perspective which is like no other. This perspective is subjective and limited to the position you hold and view from.
It is this single perspective that creates subjective facts of truth. Something may appear as factual, certain or true, but only when looked at from one particular position or view. When the position is moved, the view changes.
To move beyond subjective perspectives towards truth, you need to be able to move your position and consider and allow other perspectives.
Human Objective Truth
For human beings, objective truth is true without the individual perspective and filters of an individual experience or position. An objective perspective is free from the personal bias of an individual.
Objective truth requires the ability to view and judge without bias and the influence of external filters.
As physical beings we each have a unique set of experiences that influence our sensations, thoughts, feeling, emotions, needs, desires, preferences, memories, belief and opinions, and ultimately who we are.
As human beings, it is impossible to free ourselves of personal bias because a big part of being human is to have a unique experience and individual perspective.
Every political, religious, economic and educational institution or system thinks they stand for objective truth or perspective. In reality, every human perspective is a subjective view of truth and reality, derived from a singular position. Otherwise, they would all have the same viewpoint.
Universal Objective Truth
At a spiritual and universal level, objective truth is the sum of every subjective perspective, which considered together forms and reveals the actual truth.
As human beings, it is challenging to find real objective truth as we cannot move into every different possible perspective and consider them all.
To move towards objectivity and objective truth, we have to move beyond the physical, human experience and the filters that we have created as a result of our experiences. We have to start to question everything that we know to be “truth” and allow alternative perspectives.
To find a more objective truth or reality, we have to consider all the different perspectives and views to reveal the reality of what is.
Almost everyone who imparts knowledge or information as a teacher, preacher, parent, authority or expert teaches what they perceive to be an objective truth or reality. But these are still just individual, subjective perspectives and opinions being communicated as absolute and certain facts and truths. They are subjective views about truth, reality and the way things are.
Anyone who voices their opinion or perspective about anything is speaking a subjective truth. All political, religious, economic, educational individuals, institutions and systems teach a singular, subjective viewpoint.
As a result, they often speak in absolute truths. It is important to note that it is difficult to speak in subjective truths. But if we understand that everything is subjective, we can discern the subjectivity of the perspective from the way it is spoken or delivered.
Even this perspective speaks in absolutes about subjective definitions of truth, subjectivity and objectivity and the topics discussed. It is intended to be as objective as possible. But based on my subjective perspective of the world, and as a human author, there is no way I can consider every human perspective ever experienced or expressed on the subject of truth to find true objective truth.
All I can do is to challenge what I think I know and consider other perspectives and viewpoints as possible to build a bigger picture and try to find the most logical and rational truth in that.
So how do you find the truth?
The process of finding the truth is always going to result in a subjective truth that needs to be considered as your perspective, based on who you are and what you know and have experienced. To find objective truth requires several steps that must continually be applied to refine and revise your understanding of the world and what is true.
- Awareness – Become aware of what you think you know to be the truth and what others have told you to be the truth and be open to other perspectives and viewpoints. Then be prepared to let go of it.
- Internal reality – Become aware of your internal sensations, thoughts, feeling, emotions, needs, desires, preferences, memories, beliefs and opinions and see them for what they are as an aspect of you. They are an individual response and a subjective internal experience rather than an absolute, objective truth of external reality.
- Make observations – Look at the external world for what it is, not what you think it should be or what you have been told it is. Consider what you are not seeing as much as what you are seeing.
- Gather data – Be open to alternate perspectives and viewpoints and consider the merit of them all. Read, research, listen, observe, analyse, critique and discuss.
- Form conclusions – Form conclusions about what is true for you at any time, based on what you know at that time. Be prepared to change it.
- Be open – Continue to question and be curious, gather data, and let go of any viewpoints should you obtain new, conflicting or different information or perspectives.
But even these suggestions are subjective!
Finding Spiritual Truth
As a spiritual seeker, finding spiritual truth is a lifelong journey. All you can do is acknowledge what you think you know, and start to consider as many other perspectives and viewpoints as possible. When you build as big a picture of all the possibilities and perspectives you will have a lot more information to help define the truth.
Using logic and rationale you can define a truth that works for you at any current point in your life. Be prepared to know it a perspective and not necessarily the truth and be prepared to change it over time. The very process of exposing yourself to more and more subjective perspectives will continue to shine a light on that which does and does not make sense and bring you closer to more objective truth.
Objectively, as a human being, your truth about the universe, the world and you are always going to be subjective and biased from your internal filters.
By searching for truth and what feels intuitively good and right to you, you will continue to align with the essence of who you are and the essence of truth. The more you question and clarify and search for yourself and try to look at a different perspective, the closer you are going to get to objective truth.