What is truth? What is reality?
Truth and reality are not what you think. They are, rather, what you are.
You are truth and truth is you. You are real and reality is expressed through you: your experiences, your existing, your being.
That is truth: being, experiencing, existing — as opposed to thinking, conceptualizing, or imagining.
Truth is Found in Experience
This is different from what we are traditionally taught to see as truth. We're taught that truth consists of facts or beliefs, that it can be conceived or imagined or known.
But mental facts will always be limited. It's as to say, that no matter how many words I may write about anything real, I would always come short of fully describing that reality. I would need infinite words and infinite time to fully and truthfully describe even the simplest of things in this world.
Any idea expressed by the human mind suffers from the same limitation. Words and language are an invention of the human mind, and therefore a direct expression of its inner workings — and limitations.
The mind is limited. It may only grasp a vague approximation of true reality. If we know this, and accept this, then the mind becomes a friend and ally in the quest for truth.
If, however, we come convinced that what the mind sees and understands is the whole of reality, then we become lost. Lost in an illusion. Or perhaps more accurately, lost in delusion.
The Mind Can't Grasp Reality
Those who confuse the mind's contents with reality are lost indeed. But since virtually all of us are raised to pedestalize ideas, facts, and beliefs over experience — throwing away what we discover from personal experience when it conflicts with our teachings — then most of us are, quite simply, educated into being lost and confused.
When we live in the mind's crude version of reality, we lose touch with our senses. We start confusing past, present, and future — memories, reality, and imagination. We become stuck in an endless cycle of doubt, worry, and regret triggered by our inability to differentiate the real from the unreal.
We come obsessed with fixing the past; desires of a perfect future come to control every aspect of life. The present — the reality of now — becomes trumped under the vastness of what the mind can conjure out of nothing.
This is the problem with the mind: not the mind itself, but our edification of the mind as the almighty ruler of me. If we begin to look at ourselves as a hierarchy of power, with the mind in charge at the top, then what the mind creates in itself will unavoidably become more real than the truly real.
Thus are we taught to trust our minds more than our senses. We believe the stories we create more than the experiences that surround us. Should a child question naively, we are quick to correct them and discouraged further enquiry — I suspect most of us have been accustomed to the phrase: You ask too many questions.
You Are Not Your Mind
If reality does not live in the mind — heck, if the mind can't even truly know reality — then what is reality, and how can we know it?
The answer is simple, yet elusive…
Reality is all around. Reality is here and now. Reality is what you are, what you do, and what you feel.
Your memories are real, yet reality cannot be memorized. Your imagination is real, yet reality cannot be imagined. Really can only be lived, experienced, witnessed, and savoured in the infinitesimal instant of now.
Yet most of us are pushed rather heavily into running away from reality. Society provides countless tools for numbing the senses, for holding on to the past, or for dreaming of a better future. So much that we are all trapped in a mind-world of artificiality and belief.
Your Mind is Your Prison
When we confuse the contents of the mind with reality — when we project one into the other — we get judgment. Judgments are, in simplest terms, borne of a reality twisted by confusing thoughts and beliefs with the real world.
Truth is everything judgments aren't: reality, uncorrupted by the mind's emotional whims and crazy interpretations. Truth, therefore, only blossoms when we detach or disidentify from the mind and from judgment.
This is not to say that the mind is evil, nor that judgments are inherently wrong. They have their uses. We only come to suffer when we get lost in them, when we come to drown in them, losing touch with the real that lies outside the mind.
How can we get out of the mind, then? How can we touch base with reality in daily ordinary life?
The simplest way goes through the senses: smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing, and most importantly intuition.
Learn to Trust Your Intuition
Intuition provides much to our experience of reality. It knows of things one could hardly fathom when confined to the mere five physical senses. Yet, clearly, most of us are very mistrustful of it — and with reason.
Intuition must be trained. We have to learn to use it and listen to it with wisdom and maturity before it comes to its full power. Most of us are, however, unfortunately educated to dismiss intuition entirely, often equating it to the unpredictability of our animal instincts.
Yet intuition is not instinct. Instinct is a biological program that's part of us from birth. Intuition is the complete opposite: it's liberation from programming. It's higher consciousness. It's self-determination to the highest level.
Intuition allows us to peer beyond mere biological or social conditioning. It sees truth and clarity where the mind feels only doubt and confusion. That, above all, is the greatest advantage of learning to use intuition: its inherent ability to see through the unknown, bringing peace and harmony where we might otherwise only perceive chaos and fear.
Zen, the practice of meditation in every aspect of life, aims at developing our sense of intuition and giving it the rightful place it deserves as part of a healthy, wise, and mature spiritual being.
The Zen Path to Yourself
Meditation is much more than simply sitting in silence or relaxing. It's developing ourselves into a more complete and integrated being. It's taking those parts of us which modern society has simply thrown aside, re-integrating them — becoming whole again.
Yes, becoming whole again — that is the power of meditation. Because the belief that we are simply minds encapsulated in bags of flesh is perhaps the biggest hoax in history.
You have a mind, yes — but you are not just your mind. Your belief in your mind being the boss of you is the ultimate prison… a prison you've been tricked into building yourself. Freedom from this belief is the greatest sigh of relief you could experience.
The greatest thing you could ever accomplish in life is not to build things, accumulate fame, or leave a trace in the world… The most fantastic adventure is that of exploring who you truly are, of shedding those beliefs and judgments which only serve to limit the fullness of your experience of life.
Meditation is the gateway to truth you've been searching for all of your life. The truth of you. The simplicity of being.
Start today… do the little step. Begin by sitting with yourself and saying: Hello, friend. It's been a while, hasn't it?