Photo by Fabrizio Conti on Unsplash

Seeking Truth

We are busy living our lives. You know, the life that has a typical pattern of being born, school, fun, career, family, and death. We’re so constantly distracted that we do not have time to communicate with ourselves. Our attention span shrank due to the amount of info we are processing, we run away from pain and crave for only happiness, we judge people so easily without filtering our thoughts or judgements.

Let’s just shortly put everything aside and connect with ourselves, put our attention to our body, feelings, emotions and perceptions. Once we can connect and communicate with ourselves, it is easier to communicate with others as well. One main reason is that when we connect with ourselves, we see the suffering inside. If we are able to understand and take care of this inner suffering, in our communication with others we do realise that they most likely have their own sufferings and thus creates the empathy.

Once connecting to ourselves, we start to question everything again, or in other words we start to seek truth. Seeking truth is heavily obstructed in contemporary world of ours. There is an external force that controls how we should live in order to have a “pleasant life” and we should follow it, because it works. There is enough to consume, and we are trading off our time, energy, body and mind in order to consume more. Seeking through is discouraged in this setup.

Seeking truth is the core of religions, history, science, especially philosophy. Aristotle, Spinoza, Berkeley, Hobbes, Descartes, Kant and many other philosophers have been searching for wisdom. The pattern of seeking for truth looks like following: we begin in ignorance in regards to the truth, and we use specific truth-seeking methods and procedures (i.e. observation, revelation, introspection, etc.) to gather more data. At one point based on the data gathered, an outcome should be formed. It’s important that the truth-seeker should not have a biased assumption while searching for it. Any piece of truth found should be questioned on the opposite side to identify if it is falsifiable or not.

Eastern philosophy approaches it completely differently. According to the Buddhist teachings truth is ineffable. Our language can only frame and explain our conventional reality, not the ultimate reality. There are certain experiences (meditative states, psychedelic trips, death-like feelings) that we cannot describe, because talking about it makes it part of our conventional reality. Thus they are ineffable.

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

Bertrand Russell

Very paradoxically, me trying to talk about the ineffable truth itself means I try to describe it thus I make it part of our reality, not the ultimate. However, I take it as part of my learning journey and it’s fine if I make such mistakes. Those mistakes are defining the way to progress. As mentioned before, it’s important to follow the process of truth seeking regardless what happens not predetermine the outcome. Anyways the truth does correspond to reality, at least our conventional reality.

Finally, for a good communication, Bodhisattva teachings provide guidelines for Right Speech:

  1. Tell the truth – do not lie or cove the truth
  2. Do not exaggerate – Provide just the facts with no personal flavor added
  3. Be consistent – no double-talk
  4. Use Peaceful Language – Do not insult or become violent in communication.

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