I’ve just read a chapter in Robert Masters’ “Divine Dynamite” about Truth and it enabled me to put two and two together about the relationship between truth and being.
I have for a while now understood how our conscience is our ability to know what is true and what is false. Conscience to me it is not connected to any sense of conditioned morality, as per Freud. Underneath it is simply about our ability to recognise what has more truth than something else. The development of civilisations is based on this it seems to me, otherwise the world would be much more profoundly chaotic than it is.
As I understand it, the way that some parts of the world are profoundly chaotic, speaks of the degree of societal trauma in those places, because it is the weight of trauma that buries conscience under all the of compensatory processes. This must happen on a societal as well as personal level.
So whilst conscience is obviously relative and subjective it must relate to, or be connected to something objective, or there would be no universal agreement possible, when obviously there is to some extent. We value fairness and justice and the rule of law, we know what deceit and lying are. Modernism is based on the acceptance of facts over superstition, and our relative ability to control the material world is proof of that.
On the personal level we sense deeply the difference between behaving from a place of compulsiveness with its negative consequences for ourselves and others, and that of acting from a place of more integration which feels more life affirming.
Conditioned morality is about what has been inculcated into us through punishment and this repetitive cycle generates the attitudes of “right and wrong”, “should and shouldn’t” with all its judgement and hurtful consequences for self and other. A more objective morality is a natural part of our humanness, i.e. our conscience. I will never forget travelling to India many years ago and seeing how the children along the way, up to the age of five or six were delightful, they still had their innocence and could be trusted, whilst in older kids that openness had gone and they had become manipulative and selfish. I could see how the harsh treatment as they grew up in those societies closed them down. The same is true everywhere, trauma in its widest sense of being confronted by difficulties that are too much to bear, leads us into adopting defensive structures that we are then stuck with.
The need to defend (who can bear an open wound being poked?) then dominates our relationship to life and can smother conscience to varying degrees. Pity those who lose touch with it entirely, whether through addiction (like I almost did once) or through getting lost in an ever deepening commitment to lying in pursuit of greed or power. This is the place of hell on earth.
So our ability to know our own truth is directly connected to our ability to find space that is not dominated by our need to defend / attack. This need is the same force that drives our, at times incessant, need to ‘do’. When we can just be, we can hear our conscience and act, not from a place of ‘shoulds’, but from an increasing knowledge of and desire for the freedom that is being. Our choice is, as ever, “to be, or not to be”.
Connecting, however tenuously, to the non-subjective, to the objective, to ‘Being’ or ‘God’, is the means by which, our hearts, minds and bodies are able to open and our lives be illuminated by the space, silence, presence, joy, sorrow, the divine, by the love and consciousness that this contact bestows. I am now clear about how ‘Truth’ can only in the end be known through this connection, although I am also very aware of how these words are a only remote best guess glimpse of how it is and that my ability to live them and embody what they mean, is tentative. What I do know though is that the path for this connection is always through the here and now, always opening to this very moment.
The integration of the self that this connection enables can bring a clarity, a deep lack of internal conflict, and from such deep moments of presence we can perceive the “truth” about ourselves and the nature of the universe in a way that can inform us for the rest of our lives. In other words the more we can “be” the closer we are to the “truth”, to seeing ourselves and the world more objectively, freer from conditioned and compensatory perspectives.
Jim Robinson July 2013