This article is an excerpt from
V. M. GOPAUL
Knowing the truth is our anchor to reality, and without it, life is filled with paranoia. Unable to distinguish between falsehood and truth is like navigating your way through New York City without a map or the ability to ask for directions.
To explain further, let’s look at two examples. Say your father has always claimed that you are his biological son. One day in a heated argument with your sister, she tells you that you are only her half-brother. You approach your trusted uncle in search of answers, and he explains that you were conceived during an encounter between your mother and an alien. Faced with all these contradictory facts, you shake your head and wonder, “Who is telling you the truth?”
Secondly, let’s say you are not feeling well and your doctor diagnosed your illness as a heart problem. Subsequently, the cardiologist tells you that you had an anxiety attack and your heart is just fine. A third medical professional tells you that you have cancer. Now you are totally confused. Whom can you trust? Depending on your personality, you might think there is a conspiracy against you. Or, upon a rational analysis, you decide all three are not lying, but each physician came to a diagnosis based on their own perception of reality. Since your life depends on what to do next, obviously you want to know the truth.
When it comes to personal threats, searching for the facts becomes crucial; it is like walking on firm ground. We rely on the power of understanding, a gift given to every human being, which we use since birth to fill our consciousness with knowledge that we think is true and not false. Two things are happening: an influx of information and, through a filtering mechanism, translation of the data into a world that feels real.
Once a piece of information is accepted, it is integrated into our personality. Let’s briefly explore this most important aspect of being a human. We are bombarded with information daily, since the moment of birth, from parents, siblings, teachers, TV, leaders, scientists, friends, newspapers, heroes, experts, mentors and so on. The stream of input is endless, and it is getting greater in volume as technology explodes every few years. Businesses, marketers, and politicians understand how our belief system is molded.
Should we guard our inner self against abuse? Of course, we should, you might say.
Sometimes the acceptance of data as truth can happen instantly. For example, Sylvia was searching on Google for an arthritis remedy. After listening to a presentation by GuruNath, a Hindu teacher, she not only instantly accepted his cure but became his devotee too. On the other hand, Joe, who believes the Earth is flat, will never change his mind regardless of how many presentations he watches. Both Sylvia and Joe are my friends, and I respect them.
Generally, it takes three encounters from seemingly different and independent sources to mold a human belief. From whatever is planted in our consciousness, we act in certain ways in different situations whether we play the role of parent, friend, boss, philanthropist, doctor, nurse, neighbor and so on.
It is so easy to pollute our consciousness and, subsequently, our actions; therefore, both deserve a closer look. A scary part of life is if we do something horrible based on advice from others. Keep in mind that each of us is accountable for our deeds regardless of where or how it occurred.
In this discussion of accountability, truthfulness is crucially important. Many articles and books have been written on this most critical issue that shapes individuals, societies, nations, and the oneness of humanity.
In Truth vs. Falsehood: How to Tell the Difference, Dr. David R. Hawkins, a psychiatrist, explains: “The intention of this presentation is the alleviation of suffering by virtue of replacing falsehood with truth and sharing the knowledge of how to arrive at truth on one’s own, for the pathway to its source resides within. For those who are aligned with truth, the path lights up; for those who refuse it, the path is darkened. All of us are free to choose.”
In the article, “11 Ways to Tell if Someone is Telling You the Truth, According to Science,” Erica Florentine lists ways to tell if someone is speaking the truth:
- Their story is long and detailed
- They’re holding the right amount of eye contact
- Their breathing is steady
- Their voice is steady, too
- They neglect to blame negative outside forces
- You haven’t noticed them touching their nose
- They’re not covering their throat
- Their rate of blinking doesn’t change
- They’re speaking in complete sentences
- There’s no fake smile in sight
- Your instincts are telling you it’s the truth
We all accept some basic truths: there are seven days in a week; death is natural; humans need food, air, and water to survive; and we can’t live without our electronic devices.
As we travel the path of life, we end up absorbing some weird beliefs such as the earth is flat, humans will not exist by the end of the century because of pollution, Earth is only seven thousand years old, or the world will end on a certain date. Also, nothing is permanent, as every belief can be rejected or replaced at a later time.
The question is how do individuals accept the truth? It is a complicated process. Many of them rely on authoritative sources, such as science, Holy Scripture, gurus, the Internet, and so on. The power of comprehension also plays a key role. It happens through the mind and the heart. The intellectual faculty processes the incoming information and accepts it as part of reality. For example, I believe in evolution, that the Earth is round, and that atoms exist. I can’t prove or witness any of them, so I rely on scientific facts. Anything that goes through my senses to my brain is rigorously examined before it becomes part of me.
When it comes to taking baby aspirin, I am totally confused. I have heard conflicting advice from scientists, my cardiologist, and the media. I am shaking my head like Elvis.
At a social level, I embrace the oneness of humanity, consider helping others as a good thing, believe equality of gender is an undeniable truth, and trust that acquiring the right skills is a ticket to success in life. Again, it is credible sources, personal experience, and my own power of comprehension that allow my inner self to be filled with ideas that I can accept with a peaceful and clear conscience. But I am also open to different ideas.
I accept life after death, not in re-incarnation to Earth. I am unable to prove it one way or another. For sure, after my passing, I’ll find out and possibly change my mind on re-incarnation and many other issues.
There is another kind of belief that comes through the heart. For example, after being an atheist, I now believe in a Creator. I have never met this all-powerful, compassionate, and all-loving Being, yet I accept it as reality. Simply put, I feel the Divine presence, and that is good enough for me. The spiritual realm cannot be proved scientifically or by rational thinking. I have met many who have never been schooled in intellectual learning, yet they are as certain as the light from the morning sun that there exists a spiritual reality. In some cases, their conviction is so deep and intense that they will sacrifice their lives to defend their belief in the Divine.
One thing of which we are certain—no one will knowingly accept a falsehood. Also, we feel cheated when we believe a fact and later find that it was a lie. How do we safeguard our integrity from being hijacked by fake data, misinformation, and manipulations? Remember, many would love to control our minds and hearts for their own personal, political, or corporate benefits.
How do we avoid being cheated? Independent investigation of truth, as Dr. David R. Hawkins mentioned in his book, is the key to avoid being cheated with falsehood. Whatever is in your consciousness is yours, and there is no denying it, just as whatever goes into your stomach is your responsibility.