August 12
Truth does not change
according to our ability
to stomach it emotionally.

Flannery O’Connor


Today's Meditation:

"Truth" is such a hard word to put into a box and view objectively.  After all, just what does it mean?  And since we all agree fundamentally that each person's truths are a matter of individual perspective, how can we possibly be able to define the term?  After all, my truth is that doughnuts taste awesome, for the most part, but I know other people whose truth is that doughnuts don't taste good at all.

Flannery, of course, is more than likely talking about objective truths.  It is true, for example, that over five million children die each year of causes related to hunger and malnutrition.  That is an objective fact.  Yet what are the truths behind that fact?  For one person, one truth may be, "That's really sad, but that's happening far away from me, in a country where I have no influence at all, so there's nothing I can do about it.  This, of course, is true also.

But my lack of influence doesn't change the fact that 10,000 children are dying daily from hunger, even though the world does produce enough food to feed everyone.  Our explanations of our own truths are simply a way to distance ourselves from the reality, and they help us to cope with what could otherwise be a completely overwhelming concept (even as I write this, the thought threatens to overwhelm me).

We all cope with the unpleasant in different ways.  But the unpleasant remains the unpleasant.  I think what Flannery is hoping that we learn from her words is the idea that we need to be aware of truths completely, and not explain them away or avoid them, for only with full awareness can we hope to create our own lives as a part of the whole of human existence.  If your friend is hurting, don't explain it away or avoid it--know it, feel it, and do what you can about it, no matter how slight your effort may seem to be.

Questions to consider:

How many people do you know who tend to explain away truths in such a way as to take all responsibility off their own shoulders?

Why is it important that we face even those truths that we have a hard time facing?

What are some of the potential benefits of facing truths boldly and honestly?

For further thought:

At the core of everything I write is the feeling that the denial
of the truth imprisons us even further in ourselves.  Of course,
there's no one "truth."  The great things, the insights that
happen to you, come to you in some internal way.

Paula Fox


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