LOTUS OF THE HEART
Living in Love beyond Beliefs
All is Welcome here
there're no final answers
truth can't be held captive in the mind
like a bird in a cage
it's not a thing
it's not nothing either
so how could one, its friend or foe, imprison it?
truth is too free for captivity
moves and moves, yet not restless
truth into truth
mystery merging with mystery
wonder wedding wonder
no ending, there's always more
for the seeker of truth worships
at the altar of Truth
for even one glimmer of light
leads us to the Light
* * *
In my last year of teaching in college, my colleagues in the religion department privileged me with electing the most outstanding ministry student. I chose Roger. Later, one day, sitting before me in my office, Roger told me of visiting his home church the prior Sunday. A man was teaching a Sunday School class. Before class ended, he asked if anyone wanted to share anything. Roger, taking this as a sincere offer, gave an opinion that did not fit the beliefs of the teacher. The teacher scolded Roger there and then. Roger said to me, "I'll never give my opinion like that in a church again." I thought later, "How sad, such a kind and intelligent young man, and he does not feel free to express himself freely in a church." Yet, too, I understood. I could not say, "Roger, you're overreacting." He was not.
The church, as I had known it, had become an unsafe place to reveal a passion for truth, rather than a repeat of beliefs. I had been part of a church culture where persons equated deeply-held convictions with truth, whether they were true or not. And the words "heresy" and "heretic" people used of persons who believed what is true is more important than what others say is true.
* * *
The Sage knew a man whom he would sometimes talk to on his forays into town. The man described himself as faithful to his convictions, and he was proud of this. He was miserable, however, and persons did their best to avoid him.
The Sage said, "You speak of your convictions, but you're not joyful. Truth brings one joy, my friend. Something's wrong. Don't you think so?" "Yes, I sometimes feel so," agreed the man. The Sage said, "You remind me of Maise in the tale of sad Maise." The man said, "I've never heard of that tale. How does she remind you of me?" "Well," said the Sage, "sad Maise suffered much for what she believed in." "How's that?" asked the man. "Sad Maise was convinced she could wear a size six pair of shoes on her size eight pair of feet."
* * *
When I decided to go off to college, at age 19, to major in religion, an uncle and leader in our church met me in private. We sat together in the sanctuary. He informed me that often boys would go off to school and be misled, so forsaking the beliefs their elders had given them; he meant conservative evangelical views. I listened closely. I was sure this would not happen to me. But it did, for some years after that night, I had discovered joy in the pursuit of truth. I cannot say this happened quickly; I cannot point to a moment when this became so. Instead, it was a process over many years and included many changes in my life. Among the changes, I resigned the professorship and left the religious group of my unbringing. I came not to feel a need to defend the, or any, faith, but rather to follow truth wherever that would lead.
I came to see that conviction has nothing whatsoever to do with what is true. Conviction only has to do with feelings about what one thinks is true. I came to see how persons of such deep conviction often appear to be the most insecure in what they believe. This, while persons secure in their beliefs, can quietly hold them, rather than feel a need to defend them or push them onto others.
In this love-affair with truth, I became a joyful person, when before I was not. Truth corresponds to the Divine. Hence, to give oneself to the love of truth, this is to give oneself to the Light. We love the Truth by our devotion to truth.
* * *
A follower met privately with the Sage...
Sometimes you talk as though you're a Buddhist, sometimes a Hindu, sometimes a Sufi, sometimes a Christian. Why is this?
I'm a servant of truth, and truth is not Buddhist, is not Hindu, is not Sufi, is not Christian. There is no version of truth.
What is it, then?
Truth is truth.
* * *
©️ Brian Wilcox, 2020
*Brian can be contacted at email@example.com; his book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, is available through major online booksellers, including Amazon and Books-A-Million, or via the publisher, AuthorHouse.