“What I’m telling you is the truth Sensei!”
This statement is made by the Zen-Do instructor sitting in front of me. It’s April 2009, and I’m trying to solve a dispute between some of our Team Members. It seems there’s a huge perception gap, and it’s pretty clear that the guilty person sitting in front of me, is not accepting any responsibility for his actions.
“Look,” I say. “You cannot claim that what you’re telling me is the truth, when everyone else disagrees with you.” “They’re all lying Sensei. I’m telling you the truth,” he replied stubbornly. He sounded like he was making a proclamation. And you know what the scary bit is? I think he actually believed his own lies.
I’ve been having some problems with this young man. It seemed to me that he was a bit of a narcissist, and could not take into consideration any one else’s view of the world. It was his view or none at all. This had been going on for months, and it was now becoming a serious problem.
I gave him a long lecture about the dangers of statements like “what I’m telling you is the truth” because they don’t allow for open a dialogue. He could not comprehend what I was talking about. A couple of weeks later he caused another problem between the Team Members, and after investigating, I decided to demote him a belt rank. His sensitive ego could not handle that, and he burst out of the place, never to be seen again.
Good riddance! Who wants a guy like that working for him anyway.
So why am I bringing this up? Because (as usual) there is a lesson to be learnt. The lesson is that there is no such thing as truth, there is only your perception of the truth.
consider this example; you and your loved one go see a movie. When it’s over you walk out so excited because you just loved the movie. It’s the movie of the year for you. But you look at your better half, and realise from the expression on their face that they hated it. So, which one of you is right? The movie is the same, right? So if the movie has not changed, then -rather obviously I know – your perception of the movie is what matters. You’re both right, and your both wrong. There is no “truth” here.
And so it is with lots of things in life. If you proclaim to know the only truth (just like my ex-instructor) then you’ll lead a very limited life, with little opportunity for real growth. In my not-so-humble opinion, real spiritual growth and awakening happens when you accept other truths. They maybe really different from yours, and you may not agree with them at all, but the more accepting you become of them, the happier and more fulfilled you’ll be.
I’m telling you the truth.
Talk to you soon.