What is Truth?
Jesus gave us the truism: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
Question: In what way does the truth make us free? Give an example.
Readers made some great comments but let us focus on this one:
“I think it is also interesting that Jesus doesn’t state that ‘knowing the truth shall make you free’, but ‘the truth shall make you free.’”
Most people know about the truth; fewer know the truth; fewer still are the truth.
So what does it mean to know about the truth? You know about the truth when you have memorized some facts that are true. For instance, Grant is buried in Grant’s tomb is a fact of which most of us know, but it does little to make us free.
Jesus says you shall first know the truth, and then it will set you free. If you do not know the truth through rote memorization then how is the truth known?
In fact, an alternative meaning of the scripture is revealed with a slight rewording.
“You shall know what truth is and knowing this principle will set you free.”
When one reads the regular translation, the average reader gets the idea that you are to get some true facts in your head (like Jesus is the Messiah) and this will set you free.
On the other hand, we know that even some good true facts do not necessarily bring freedom. For instance, the Conquistadors enslaved the Native American Indians with the idea of convincing them that Jesus was the Messiah. In this case a true fact helped to enslave rather than bringing freedom.
Even though true facts are useful, this is not what brings freedom.
If true facts by themselves do not bring freedom this must mean that truth itself is a principle different than a true fact. What is this principle of truth and how does it make us free?
The Hierarchy of Truth
JJ: The group gave additional good thoughts. This statement “The Light of truth” is a profound one and suggests the group use this as a seed thought and see what comes to mind through contemplating it.
Obviously, facts are useful and true facts are liberating to a degree, but the principle of truth that makes us free goes beyond facts on the physical plane.
That the sun is shining may be a fact, but it does not shine all the time. To understand the principle behind its appearance one must understand the principle of rotation and cycles leading us to understand that the sun rises and sets approximately once every 24 hours. This understanding keeps us from going out to get a suntan at midnight. We can calculate when the sun will appear and also when it will be in its strength. This gives us the freedom to use its power to our advantage.
I have said many times that a principle is worth a thousand facts, but it takes a thousand facts to paint the picture of one principle.
The truth that makes us free is found in the understanding of true principles.
The challenge for us to advance from facts and data to the language of principles and then, when a principle is understood, advance to a higher principle still.
There is a hierarchy of truth. The bottom of the hierarchy is truth manifesting on the physical plane. At the top of the hierarchy is the truth that there is One Great Life we call God. I am only stating God as a fact, a piece of data, because the principle behind God is a great mystery which has never been revealed.
As we advance from physical plane truth to truth on the higher planes, that which binds us is loosed and greater freedom is obtained.
As we seek to advance up the hierarchy of truth we must understand the steps on this ladder.
Question: How is truth manifested on the physical plane? The astral or emotional plane? The mental plane? The Buddhic plane or the plane of the soul?
Why did I ask these questions in this order?
Because the highest truth originates from God and the lowest level is the physical plane. See this God point as a mustard seed which sprouts and grows to a great tree with a great trunk, many branches and leaves. The leaves are the physical plane. To find the higher truth one must find the truth on the physical plane first (the leaves) and then follow the life-giving fluid to the branches, then the trunk and finally the root.
The problem had by many is that they want to miss all the steps and make one giant leap to the root. This may create the illusion of returning to God and finding the ultimate truth, but in reality such a move creates a fungus which is in a place where it does not belong, attempting to drain the life energy it has not yet earned.
Instead, we must start out where we are, as a leaf and follow the life-giving energy until the source of life and truth is discovered.
To make this journey we must learn to recognize and embrace truth in all the spheres. If we cannot recognize truth on the physical plane then we have no chance of understanding truth on the astral and mental planes.
So how is truth manifest on the physical?
Answer: On the physical plane truth is manifest as facts. Now we know that even though facts are not as useful as principles that they are still guideposts to higher truth and, if ignored, will cause the pilgrim to stray from the path.
The average person ignores facts he does not like and embraces those he does which causes him to wander in darkness until he corrects the problem. Before he uses the truths on the astral/emotional plane he must face the facts, good and bad, in season and out of season and put them together to face the full picture.
The difficulty in doing this is illustrated by the frequent political debates.
There are problems with both presentations, but both sides brushed off facts they do not like and presented a distorted picture of their guy’s success.
People want the truth to verify their desires rather than lead them somewhere unforeseen.
If facts belong to the physical plane, then where are the truths on the astral plane? Name a truth to be discovered on this plane? How is a truth from the astral plane used here in a physical body?
“Be not afraid of going slowly; be only afraid of standing still.” Chinese Proverb
Sept 30, 2004