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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Want to know how to stay safe?

     Here's the answer. Marcus Aurelius said it:

I seek the truth by which no man was ever injured.

     But is that a true statement? And just what is the truth? Who decides? Is there a Truthmeister somewhere handing out edicts? Is the truth relative? Absolute? The same for everybody?
     A lot of questions to be sure, but the truth is still out there and still reliable.
     Remember the movie "A Few Good Men"? Jack Nicholson's character yells: "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"
     There's a lot to that statement. Everybody thinks they're living in the truth (just like everybody thinks they have a good sense of humor), but how many people really are.
     The fundamentalists think they have the truth. It's in their sacred book. The ideologists feel they have it. It's in their ideology  The rationalists. The atheists. The pragmatists. Everybody thinks they're living by the truth, but I would assert that almost nobody is.
     Really living in the truth takes unbelievable courage. Most people walk around in denial of the truth. They're "blanking out" the truth via rationalization, fundamentalism, ideology, politics, busyness, alcohol, drugs, sex, whatever.
     When was the last time you thought about your imminent death? I'm not saying anybody should morbidly dwell on their death, but most people almost never think of it. Personally I think living with an awareness of the reality of our upcoming deaths is essential to living in the truth. Look at how absolutely powerfully a person's life changes when he gets a terminal diagnosis. In fact, it's often only then that that person starts approaching living in the truth.
     A person is hustling around, working, playing, planning, dreaming, distracting himself with myriad media and technology, and then one day the doctor says, 'There was a problem with your test results.'
     POW! Most everything that had seemed so important in that person's life now seems trivial. NOW he or she finally starts focusing on what's really important, finally starts living the way human beings are intended to live.
     There's a Buddhist saying:

All must one day die. He who knows this fact in him all strife is stilled.

     Believe me, I'm not trying to be morbid. I'm not morbid. But I try really hard to live in the truth and living with an awareness of my approaching mortality is part of what it means to live in the truth.
     Like the Aurelius quote: seek the truth, you'll be safe there. But just know, it's gonna take a lot of guts.

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