You can’t organize truth. That’s like trying to shape a pound of water in wrapping paper. ~Bruce Lee
I was having a discussion with a friend about a particular theological concept, one that has defied any sort of sensible explanation for centuries. We had read various scholars’ analyses; we had listened to podcasts interviewing well respected teachers and experts. I listened as my friend tried various approaches to understanding, until she finally threw up her hands in unhappy defeat.
Then she asked what I thought. Hmm….
I think that what I think doesn’t really matter. As Adyashanti says, we cannot think our way to truth. We are so wired to analyze, to categorize, to explain, and by so doing, to understand. Our sweet little brains just cannot stand to not know. It’s like a toothache that we keep probing with our tongue. Relief comes only when we have an answer, and we are so relieved to have one that we are loath to question it in case we find it lacking and have to start again.
But our answer is not truth. I can put water in a cup, but the water is not the cup. I can put truth into a belief or a concept or some sort of thinking structure, but truth is not that structure.
So is there a test for truth? Maybe…
Can you explain it? It’s not truth.
Can you describe it? It’s not truth.
Can you disagree with someone about it? It’s not truth.
Can you understand it? It’s definitely not truth.
The Sanskrit expression “neti, neti” meaning “not this, not this,” is a practice or meditation to reveal truth by identifying what is not truth. It is comparable to the via negativa or apophetic theology, which seeks to remove all blocks from direct experience of the divine.
We don’t find truth. We don’t need to find it because it was never lost. We live in truth the way a fish lives in water. Its eternal presence is revealed when we drop all the barriers we have put up with our beliefs.
If you can understand it, it’s not God. ~St. Augustine