Truth Week 4: Staying Open

This is what I know about Truth: it takes courage to stand in it, whether it’s your own Truth (particularly if it’s your own!) or another. Sure, we sometimes face it fearfully, with anger, or agitation, but the question becomes, can we lean into those areas of trepidation and stand in Truth, anyway?

I believe so. Some days I’m more courageous than others, having to redraw and redefine my own lines around boundaries, I first have to uncover what my Truth was.

I often think about the Sufi wisdom around Truth:

Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.

At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’

At the second gate ask, ‘Is it necessary?’

At the third gate ask ‘Is it kind?’

— Sufi saying

I love this saying, and I reflect on it often, particularly when it comes to my Truth. I often picture the gatekeepers in my mind standing at their assigned gates, asking me these questions. The first asks me if it’s true, and more often than not I am allowed passage to the next gate, where the gatekeeper asks if it’s necessary. This gatekeeper has a serious face, standing before the gate, intent on not allowing anything unnecessary to pass. Sometimes I don’t get past this gate. I often pull up a bench nearby, stop and ask myself if it’s necessary, when the inner dialogue emerges and follows it with “Necessary to whom?” 

I take a deep breath and reflect further. I have often pictured the third gatekeeper playing a delightful game of Solitaire, waiting for me to approach him. When I do, he smiles joyfully and playfully, giving me the sense of satisfaction that I have successfully passed through the previous two gates. Then he says with a smile, “Is it kind?”

I’ll be honest that I sometimes never get passed this gate. Sometimes I’m unable to, truthfully, answer this question — is it kind, for you, for me? In these situations, I take my petition back to my journal, where I am able to release while not crossing the gate. Sometimes the passage from the second gatekeeper leaves me with the gift of discernment.

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The truth is that, given enough time, life bestows its gifts, a drop at a time, if we can find the courage to stay open to the mysterious flow that is larger than any one event. — Mark Nepo

The quest becomes about staying open to our Truth. When we know it, understand it, embrace it, we can then receive it more clearly from others.

In the end, this is what I know about Truth: it is an act of courage, and it is an act of self-love.

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Next week we’ll explore where Truth will take us in our Intention series!