The Many Angles Of Truth
Alright friends, this one got a little heady on me. If you don’t want to think, stop reading now.
One of the more interesting ideas that I’ve uncovered as an adult is that of truth.
I used to think that the idea of truth and what is or isn’t true was the same for everyone, relatively speaking. That we were “all in this together” and that my range of truth was similar to those around me – friends, family, etc. That I lived within a span of reality that I couldn’t really ever ascend or descend, and that those in and around my life lived in similar limitations of how good or bad life could be. Some might be slightly lower or higher depends on their specific scenarios, but generally speaking, we were all in the same relative lifestyle range; we were all in the same range of possibility.
I have since learned that is just not true.
Truth is an interesting thing because you begin learning about what’s true for you as a tiny human being. You learn it mostly from two places: from your own experiences in the world, and from what other people experience and by default end up teaching you.
The thing I most misunderstood about truth though, is that I’d always thought that when things were true, that they were true for most everyone. And some things are, like hitting your head. It’s painful. Although there might be a range of pain felt in your head from any given encounter with a staircase, generally speaking, the result is negative. What I did not learn as child, however, was that there were other things that not only weren’t true for everyone, but that I could actively decide what was true for me and what wasn’t.
I once read a book called The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien. It has a part of it in particular that has stayed with me the longest, far after I was required to read it in order to teach it to a high school English class when I was student teaching at Stevenson back in 2011.
In one of the chapters of that book, the author talks about a man that died from stepping on a bomb in a war. The author was there and saw him die, and what he remembers is his truth from his memory, but how does he know if it’s actually true? If three other men were there and they all saw the same man die from other angles, then they all see the same thing but have a different version of it, so which is accurate? If you see something happen and regale your account of it moments later, you give a particular description. But 10 hours later, what if that isn’t quite how you remember it? And perhaps more importantly, does it matter?
Truth is an individual experience. We learn what’s true for us as we grow and move through life. Many of our beliefs come from people who taught us, who were trying to help and protect us, but sometimes unknowingly transferred their fears, worries, and beliefs to us instead.
There is a story I heard Wayne Dyer tell once, about a family tradition. At a holiday, someone saw that a woman cut the end off of the turkey before she put it in the pan to cook, and asked her why that was. She said it was tradition, that they’d always done it that way. So then they asked her mother why they’d done it, and she said it was tradition, that they’d always done it that way. They went to the grandmother, she said it was tradition, that they’d always done it that way. And then they went to the great-grandmother, and asked her why they’d started that tradition and she said, “well back in the day, the pan was too small.” If you don’t question your own truths, you may never find the answers you’re looking for. Or be able to experience a vastly different version of life.
In reality, truth is flexible.
And most importantly, what is true for you is completely your decision.
Magical, amazing things happen to me all the time. Because I hit a point last year where I actively decided that was going to be how my life goes moving forward. And the more I observe that happening, the more evidence I have that that’s how my life works, and then the more it happens.
This week I finalized the kindest divorce I’ve ever witnessed, and I’ve seen a lot of them. I was filled with so much gratitude. And on the same day got a new job where people pay me to cook and play with food and go grocery shopping. If you know me at all you get how much I would love this. And all I did was send an email and have a heartfelt conversation. Like are you kidding? You can’t make this shit up.
So let me ask you: what is true for you in this moment, and where did you learn this? What truths are serving you that you’d like to keep? And what old stories have you been telling for years that you’d like to let go of, or rewrite the ending to?
Because magic is real. But only if you believe it is.
With so much possibility,