Question Everything In Order to Find Truth
This is my seventeenth post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.
Q= Question Everything In Order to Find Truth: The only real way to find Truth is to question everything. This is true in our daily lives in the external world, as well as in our inner spiritual and psychological development. Questioning allows us to truly explore and examine a topic, a situation, our beliefs, and even our prejudices in a thorough manner, which can lead to surprising insights and positive changes.
In our external lives, we should always seek to question and verify the things that our political leaders, news sources, and especially social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) tells us. I can’t begin to even calculate the amount of misinformation, contextual exaggerations, and even outright lies and hoaxes that circulate on a weekly basis in digital news sources, and especially in social media sites like Facebook. What is really sad, and disheartening, is that almost all of this disinformation can be proven to be false, with a simple Google search; however, people are too eager to buy into the misinformation, to take a few seconds to verify the authenticity.
I have been especially saddened by the amount of disinformation being slung around in the current U.S. presidential race. While “truth” always appears to be a relative term in elections, truth seems to be a precious commodity in this election. Whether or not you like a candidate (or anyone in your regular life), if you have to start making stuff up, or relying on half-truths to justify your position, then your position stinks and needs to be reevaluated. Regardless of what side you are on, when a top presidential campaign aide defiantly states that, “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers” – Neil Newhouse , which is in essence, “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by truth”, you should have cause for pause.
In our spiritual and/or religious lives, if we do not question our spiritual or religious beliefs, then we are in effect living a life of blind faith, because instead of relying on our own mental and spiritual faculties, we are relying on the beliefs and interpretations of others. I am constantly amazed at the number of people who would never simply take the word of someone else in their professional life, yet when it comes to their spiritual life, which is much more important, they are willing to simply be spoon fed spiritual teachings. In my professional life as an attorney, the first thing I do when someone, even someone I work with, tells me that the state of the law is ____, I check their sources and read it for myself, not because I don’t necessarily trust them, but since my professional life and credibility depends on accuracy, I need to ensure that what I believe to be correct, is actually correct. In the same way, if I receive a spiritual teaching, or interpretation of scripture, I read the scripture for myself to see if the interpretation given to me jives with the original context of the scripture, as well as my own beliefs and understandings. This isn’t to say that organized religion is bad, but one must be careful to not simply allow themselves to be passively fed spiritual teachings, because in the end it is you who will be responsible for the accuracy of your beliefs.
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” – The Buddha
If we fail to examine all of our beliefs, including our prejudices, then we can easily become prisoner to our false beliefs. While we can never truly have all of the answers, by questioning everything, we can make great strides towards gaining a more accurate picture of the world, and of ourselves.
Practical Tip: During the week, if a preconceived notion, thought, or belief enters your mind, examine why you believe that to be true. Also, when reading or listening to news or even spiritual teachings, examine why you agree, or disagree with those beliefs and statements. Finally, take time to examine the authenticity of claims and assertions that you hear this week. Google is your friend!
I would love to see your thoughts and comments on what you have done, or plan to do, in order to use the powerful tool of questioning in your life. If you wish to use questioning as a point of reflection during the week, I would love for you to share any thoughts or insights that come up.
Please come back next week for the next installment of this series, and as always if you enjoyed what you read, please share on social network sites, subscribe to this site, and share this site with others!
Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)