I read a book by Paulo Coehlo, much earlier in the year, The Pilgrimage. There were so many golden nuggets of inspiration in his writing…but one quote gripped me strongly… I posted a picture of it in IG many many months ago while pondering the words over and over for a given time…and then seem to do what most of us do with inspiration - I let it go… Or at least let it slip into the back of my mind… Until today while I was on a peaceful walk with Mowgli…and the words came rushing back to me - taking over my thoughts - tugging strongly. And I couldn’t get it out of my mind. (See above)
How true are these words? How many times in my life have I done this? Is this the true reason behind my attempts to push my theories of truth onto others? How many times have I truly not even at my core believed in a “truth”, yet persuaded others to buy into it, because of a deeply rooted unconscious need for “it” to be true, believing that other’s validation of “it” would make it truth? If I have learned ANYTHING in my later years of life, it is that there is no one truth - and there are different truths for each of us. What is true and real and works for one person does not work for the next. If we could each be so connected and confident to our truths that we could stand independently in this truth, without needing others to agree in order for us to justify our belief in the regard we could all be at more peace and probably experience more truth then we ever have. Rather we all push our truth onto each other all the time - and create wars, hatred, and angst when our truths aren’t recognized or validated by another. It’s a flawed psyche system we live in.
I know my flaw is sometimes I discover something - a possibility of truth - and I need it to be true so badly - I want it to be true so badly - that I try to get others to join me in the idea of this truth - in implementing whatever this truth is - before I have even fully experienced its truth in execution - in hopes that through the power of us all believing - it will indeed be truth. This often still fails me. What if I could learn to detach myself from the outcome - what if I could learn to detach myself from the need for absolute truth - then perhaps I would just experiment w/ an idea all on my own with confidence and ease - to determine if it is a truth for me, having compassion and understanding that because it is for me - does not mean it will be for you.
There are just too many endless factors of consideration in any simple truth. Perhaps something that works for me I come to understand as truth - but you try it and it doesn’t work for you because of different factors in your life. Then it is not your truth - but it doesn’t lessen my truth. We all are so vastly interconnected yet so vastly unique on so many levels- from molecular - to thought - to experiences - to our dream of life - to our conditioning - it is impossible for us to all experience every truth as universal truth.
What if sometimes not knowing is ok too? What if it is just completely ok to not know a truth? To boldly express and say, “I do not know the truth - and I am not sold on your truth - and I am ok with not knowing or attaching to any specific truth” And even better, what if we could actually honor someone who is bold enough to admit that? How often does this happen though? Not often enough - I know I am guilty of arguing my ways onto others - as well as guilty of having others ways pushed onto me. And IF I know anything - I know that for me - one of the worst feelings in the world is when someone is a “know it all” or “pushy” or “overly persuasive” - I can’t stand it - and the more I experience it - the more i realize I don’t want to be the one doing it -to anyone - ever!
Now some of you might be reading this and automatically think that I am referring to some huge ideas of universal truths or the reason for existence or religion or if there is or isn’t a God or a Heaven or a Hell… but I am actually NOT. While those are all big juicy topics -(and I am sure that on a deeper level it is exactly what he is referring to) my mind, when I read this quote, goes to all the small stuff - the little nugget that add up to make up life..the little things we push on each other all the time. Stuff that maybe even science or research or experiments or experience has proven truth for one or many - but not all. Here is just one simple example in hopes to paint a picture of what I am referring to:
Let’s say there is truth behind the idea that eating a clean diet of natural fresh organic foods will improve someone’s health. Logically on many levels this can make sense….However, let’s say that someone who is extremely busy in life - already overcommitted, and possibly low of income tries to adopt this mindset - they immediately transition from their old fast food habits to clean eating - all organic natural foods. They find themselves now committed to an additional 10 hours / week in the kitchen prepping and cooking - and their grocery bill rises an extra $200/ month. This otherwise healthy lifestyle change has now just added exponential stress to this person’s life. He is stressed over money because he has to figure out where that extra $200 is coming from on an already tight budget, and he is stressed over time - because he has to sacrifice other simple life pleasures and forms of relaxation to accommodate the time spent in kitchen. This added stress is constant - he begins suffering head and neck aches, finds himself up later then usual some nights worrying about how he is going to sustain this and get it all done. IS that truth really truth for him? In this moment in his life, executed in the way it was executed, do you really believe that he is going to buy into this truth? No - he is going to be emotionally and physically strained… in addition - stress is EXTREMELY unhealthy for us - and all he did was replace one stress for more stress in different form - It’s not a win… So maybe someone else has a more flexible job and a slightly more stable income - or just less financial obligations and she makes the dietary adjustments - She could have an entirely different experience of this truth - it could be truth for her - It could be fun - or an exciting challenge- because it didn’t add stress she could start to notice the benefits - she might have more stable energy in the day - I might sleep better at night - she might notice her waist line slimming… These are two different people that implement the same “healthy truth” change in his/her life. Two totally different outcomes… This is HUGE - and so important for us to be aware of and sensitive to -It doesn’t mean that there isn’t a different solution to help person A find a happy medium and minimize the nutrition stress without replacing it with other stress - it just means that wasn’t the right solution for that person at that time - therefore - not his truth.
I especially need to be more considerate of this - as I am in an industry where it is natural for me to professionally want to place my expectations of healthy practices on people I love and care about - but as a professional it is very important for me to assess each persons current lifestyle, state of health, stress levels, stress management, and so many other factors before trying to define or push a truth onto someone as if it is absolute when it is indeed NOT absolute ever. There is NO such thing as a one size fits all prescription - not in exercise - not in nutrition - and ESPECIALLY NOT in life. As I am also learning to respect boundaries and value and appreciate or unique differences and experiences, my request is that each of you take a stand and do the same with me - let’s create more space in our world for honoring uniqueness - recognizing that there isn’t a universal truth and that is ok - our truth can be our truth if it works for us - even if it doesn’t work for another person on the planet. Belief is real - the placebo effect works for a reason. Let’s just practice more love - more acceptance - more patience - more understanding - more compassion - more forgiving - less ridicule - less need to be right - less selfishness - less judgement. Let’s take the time to truly know someone and understand why a thought or theory we found to be truth didn’t work for them and work together to find what truth might - rather then insisting they are wrong. Let’s let go of the idea that one size fits all.