Following Truth (truth, prt 5)
Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black. — Henry Ford
Remark about the Model T in 1909, published in his autobiography My Life and Work (1922) Chapter IV.
If I could write one statement that would pretty accurately sum up how most people live in relationship to the truth, it would be this:
Any person can tell me any truth they want to tell me, as long as it makes me feel comfortable and happy.
Ridiculous? Yes. Said out loud? Never. The default sub-conscious mindset of most people much of the time? Definitely.
As I have already written, there is no point on the truth journey where the option of denial is not available. But for those who choose to stay on the journey, the next step after finding truth and facing truth is following it. Finding the truth simply involves being exposed to it. Facing it means admitting that the truth is true, and moreover, that the truth is true about you. (We have little difficulty facing the truth about other people). Following truth means intentionally deciding to move out of falsehood and make one’s home in what is true. The journey isn’t easy and there are some things you’re going to need to bring with you.
First, you’re going to need commitment. Truth can be uncomfortable at first. Since denial is constantly available, we can just forget that what is true is true, and go back to living the way we were before. It takes steady commitment to follow truth where it leads.
Next, you’re going to need humility. When we find and face the truth, we realize we have been living falsely, and this can be frustrating or embarrassing. It takes humility to admit this to ourselves and others. (By the way, summon just enough humility to do this, and the admission itself will build greater humility from there.)
Third, you’re going to need courage. Falsehood almost never requires courage because falsehood is usually what allows us to live comfortably and not have to change or take action. If you lack courage, or are unsure what it looks like, watch a good war movie, like Saving Private Ryan, or Braveheart, or We Were Soldiers. Observe how scared warriors are, but how, despite their fear, they move forward anyway. This is what courage is, and that is what it takes to follow truth. You don’t know where it will take you, or what you will find, or what it will require of you. The unknown is a natural fear for human beings. But if you are going to make your home in the truth, you must soldier on.
Finally, you’re going to need faith. You must believe that no matter how hard following truth may be right now, ultimately you will be happier and better off living in truth than in falsehood. You, in fact, must believe that truth is better than falsehood simply because truth is true and falsehood is false. If you’re unsure that living in truth is better than living in falsehood, that probably explains most of the falsehood in your life right now.
These are some of the things you’re going to need if you’re going to take the journey into truth.