“The world is full of confusion and contradiction. We cannot expect to do anything that is absolutely right. We can only measure rightness by the truth within ourselves. And our own truth will never be quite the same as somebody else’s.” ~ Jay Woodman, SPAN
When we are young, we are taking in so much of the world.
As the world whispers softly to us, we grow, we learn, and we form our purest convictions. But childhood cannot exist forever. It, like everything contained here, must come to an end. And in its ending, we lose touch with the forces which made us stand tall one day and say to the world—this is who I am.
Along the path of life, we eventually come to a place where each moment brings us face to face with our own personal truth. We’re offered a choice in each moment to be a good person, or not. To be true to ourselves, or not. And with this choice comes the first step of self-realization along the path towards true self-gnosis.
But we often avoid this choice. We avoid what makes us grow only because we know growth is painful. Knowing this, we retreat into the recesses of our minds, to a place where we cannot be touched by the pain of self-realization.
So, what is your truth?
This is not an easy question to answer. When you finally look at life as an adult, we’re too often busied with trivial matters, with matters that matter little. More often, our days are filled with the menial tasks of day-to-day management. We are no longer enchanted with the wonder of a new day as we once were in our childhoods. We no longer learn from the source of the river, instead, we experience life at a quickened pace by traveling with its current.
I’ve spent a lot of time relearning my childhood lessons, revisiting the times when I was the master of my own universe.
I’ll rewatch old cartoons that filled me with a sense of adventure, pick up the old books which held stories that shaped my mind and imagination. I reflect on past moments that shaped my young life, and sometimes get lost in the reflection. In doing this, I wonder just what it was that etched so deeply my first ideas and thoughts of life. Was it one story, one place that I visited, one particular experience, or was it the culmination of all these which made me first form the foundation of my personal truth?
I can tell you truthfully that, for me, I do not know where it began, or where it came from or why, but I do know that it is there—deep within. And in knowing this, I find peace in the fact that my personal truth continues to influence every decision I make, and the results.
Maybe you believe that you can bend here and allow there, that a personal truth can be flexible. Perhaps it has the ability to continuously change form and definition.
But what remains of its foundation?
I argue that the first blocks of any personal truth cannot be changed, that it is this “firstness” that made all of the building possible, and to tear down a personal truth to its foundation is to tear down the self entirely.
Many philosophers have argued that a personal truth, once developed, is infinite. Though I think this is a grand, hyperbolic statement, there might be more “truth” to it than what we see on the surface.
As a young boy, my deepest love was of the world, of learning its cultures, its faraway places. I was obsessed with different languages, maps, creation stories and religions. But a young mind grasps softly to these concepts.
However, this love and interest is what made me who I am today. It was the basis of what made life interesting for me. Nature, the waters, laying in a field of grass or climbing a tree all kept me in touch with the world, and they made me fall in love with the beauty of creation.
But to many, this does not describe a personal truth. For me, it describes its essence—its first form.
A personal truth is subjective. It’s based on opinion, belief, and life experience. Inspiration is a fundamental building block of personal truth and conviction, and without acknowledging what inspires your heart, you cannot acknowledge your personal truth.
Further, you cannot know yourself without knowing (for you) what breathes love into life.
If you’re searching for your personal truth, begin by asking yourself what makes life worth all the fuss.
What are those things that you value the most deeply? What is your defining characteristic of respect, or of worth? What truly inspires you in this world? These questions can often be answered through rediscovering what you found to be the most inspiring in your youth.
To identify your personal truth is perhaps one of the most important (and difficult) things you can ever do in life. This is the act of defining the self, and living this ideal is even greater a task.
I invite all of you to consider what truth is yours. What connects you to this life? And do you stand by your convictions when you wear society’s mask?
Do you actually obey your truth?
All of these questions are valid for the true seeker. And they allow light to fall on the one true face, the face you rarely show the world.
So, take off the mask. Look in the mirror. Seek the inspiration that filled you with life’s love in your youth.
Seek, and you shall find.