For many decades, a great number of people have expended energy trying to tell me the truth.
People get so worked up about truth – cling to it, evangelise about it, live by it and die by it. I think I’m fairly relaxed about mine. It isn’t as if it’s going anywhere or I need to prove it to anyone. It just sits, very comfortably inside me as I go about my life. When I die, I’ll simply take it with me, because it fits there too.
My truth has changed over the years – that’s what the life experience is all about, after all; it allows us to consider and hone and reshape our truth.
I’m going to run through the evolution of my truth in this post, not because I think it’s better than anyone else’s, but because it’s there, and may provide you with a useful comparison for your own.
As a little child, I started with a truth I’d been given by those around me. It never felt quite right, but when you’re small, you are told to accept what adults tell you, because they know best. This truth said that if I was ‘good’, I’d go to a place called Heaven when I died, but if I was bad, something not-so-good would happen. The adults were a bit hazy about that side of things, but I was left in no doubt that it was in my best interests to be good.
I dumped that truth, finally, when I was about 12. I’m not saying it’s wrong. It’s a truth that serves millions of people all over the planet. It just isn’t my truth.
My next truth was a direct result, I suppose, of growing up in the sixties. Like many of my contemporaries, I became interested in Eastern religions. I recognised the truth of reincarnation. I adopted the truth of tit-for-tat karma. My truth became a desire to build ‘good’ karma for the future and, when I saw people around me behaving in ways I considered to be bad, I’d tell myself they were storing up bad karma and would have to work through that, either in this life or the next.
It took me a few decades to drop that truth. Again, it serves many, many people, and that’s just fine, but it isn’t my truth.
My next truth could be described as a more nebulous ‘New Age’ way of thinking – ‘What goes around comes around’. It involved being as pleasant as possible, in the hope that good deeds would return to me in spadefuls if I hung on for a bit.
Perhaps you’ll have noticed the Santa link in all these truths? In their various ways, they come back to the same idea – there is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviour. In some way or another the good behaviour will be rewarded, while probably the badly behaved among us will meet their comeuppance somehow, even if the righteous don’t get the satisfaction of watching it happen.
Maybe it helped that I worked for so many years in that crystal clear microcosm of life, the primary school. Behaviour there was clearly and rigidly divided into good and bad. There were rewards and punishments aplenty. If anything should have convinced me of those truths I’d rejected, surely it was this place.
The trouble was, I didn’t see any ‘bad’ behaviour.
Oh I saw acts of vandalism, bullying, emotional cruelty, violence and plenty of blaspheming on a frequent basis, but every single one of the perpetrators was acting from what seemed to them a reasonable viewpoint. Their behaviour represented the best they could manage, given their experience and outlook.
People bullied, because others had bullied them and it felt like the only way to gain any semblance of self-worth. (Note that I’m not saying it was a ‘good’ way to act, just that it was the best they could manage at that stage in their lives.)
People swore because it provided a release for feelings – ones which might otherwise have resulted in physical damage.
People attacked property as a way of ex-pressing (pressing out of their bodies) frustration and unhappiness.
They attacked others – verbally, emotionally or physically because they couldn’t find any other ways of releasing the emotions seething within themselves.
Many a child ‘acting up’ in my classes was astounded to hear me say, “I’m sorry. I know you are trying your best to get me to order you out of the classroom.
“I know it’s because you’re desperate to avoid the task I’ve set you. I understand that you’re frightened you might fail and be laughed at by the others, or told off by me.
“The trouble is, I need you to stay here and master this skill, if I’m to do my job properly. So if the other children will promise to honour your efforts, and if I promise to support you, please will you put the chair down and come and have a try at the work? You’ll feel so much better when you’ve managed it.”
Throughout our lives, we ALL come up against situations and make the best choices we can, given the circumstances surrounding us.
That leads to my truth as it currently stands. There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I have no right to judge the behaviour of others. I will make choices that feel like the best choices to me at that time. So will all my fellow humans. In that way, I will constantly be gaining experience – which is why I’m here – and so will they.
When I end this physical incarnation, I will have the opportunity to add the experience from this lifetime to that of all my other lives. This will be valuable and will expand my being. Should I wish to gain some different experiences, I will be free to start a new incarnation and expand still further.
It works for me.