Week of 3/6-11, 2023: Our Search for Truth, the True Self & the Ground of Being

March 6, 2023. Thomas Merton and the Search for Our True Selves
Truth is something the mystics and the prophets teach, but it’s not only vitally important in public venues; it’s also essential to find truth within ourselves. Our authentic self is our inner self, our true self, as opposed to the false self which is more concerned with outer appearances and expectations. Catholic monk Thomas Merton spoke of the importance of being true to oneself. We are “at liberty to be real or unreal . . . be true or false, the choice is ours.” Some people hide behind masks and never reveal their true selves. Eventually, living as a false self, continually wearing a mask, is so uncomfortable it will require the assistance of a psychiatrist “to scratch the itch.”

Removing the Mask by Mike T on Flickr

March 7, 2023. Merton, Eckhart, and the Search for Our True and Deeper Selves, continued
As we continue to explore the importance of being in touch with our true selves, Matthew reminds us that when our deeper selves, our truer selves, is ignored, the gaping hole in the soul seeks to be filled by something else. Often that something is else is drugs, alcohol, overwork, or some other kind of addiction. Being in touch with our true selves means being aware of our shadow, as well, both our personal and collective shadow. When we sink into our deeper, truer selves, we connect with the Christ within (or the Buddha or Image of God.) St. Paul said, “Not I, but Christ lives within me.” Meanwhile, Merton declares that We are other Christs…. Who am I?  A Son of God…My true self is the self that is spoken by God—‘Thou art My Son!’

March 8, 2023. Julian of Norwich, Eckhart, Merton, Suzuki on Digging for Truth
Julian of Norwich urges us to become gardeners of the soul as well as the soil.  Eckhart liked to refer to God as the “ground of being,” which was a phrase Thich Nhat Hanh favored as well. Buddhist scholar D. T. Suzuki teaches that the “True Self” is the formless, original mind. Merton says that Suzuki was “obviously thinking of Eckhart” when he talks of the light of Prajna penetrating “the ground nature of consciousness” and illuminating things inside and outside.

Photo by Visual Karsa on Unsplash

March 9, 2023. Eckhart, Suzuki, Merton on Truth, Formlessness & the Original Mind
D. T. Suzuki talks about the “formless, original mind.” This reminded Matthew of a great, transcendant dream he had while recovering from back surgery many years ago. In this dream, Eckhart came to him and they went walking along the beach together. Matthew tells us “he was wearing a Dominican habit with the capuce covering his head but he had no face as such—it was formless.” Shortly after, Matthew began working on the book which is now called Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart. Eckart taught that: The truth does not come from outside in but from inside out and passes through an inner form. Merton tells us: In Zen enlightenment, the discovery of the ‘original face before you were born’ is the discovery not that one sees Buddha but that one is Buddha. Matthew reminds us that “this is Cosmic Christ language.”

March 10, 2023. Our Chakras and the Search for Truth
As we continue our exploration of the theme of Truth, we note that both Aquinas and the Jewish tradition speak of truth as being found in the heart and not just in the head. Truth can also be revealed through our chakras, the sacred centers of our bodies and our true selves. In the first chakra, we find our connection with the earth beneath our feet. In the second chakra, we can experience truth through lovemaking. In the third, we recognize truth in our gut, as well as falsehood. And, of course, our heart knows Truth, truly. Our fifth chakra is how we speak truth. Our sixth chakra is our intuitive knowledge of it. And our seventh chakra connects us with ancestors and wise ones, truth-seekers, truth-finders, and truth-speakers.

The Kundalini serpents of energy rising through the chakras. Image by VaXzine on Flickr.

March 11, 2023. On Faux News and the Opposite of Truth
Matthew was taught by one of his professors in Paris that “Sometimes it is best to go to the opposite of a spiritual concept first in order to get to the fuller meaning of that concept.” And so, even if it is unpleasant, sometimes exploring falsehoods and lies can better help us to understand the vital importance of truth and how the lack thereof can be extremely damaging to the healthy functioning of a society and a democracy.

Banner image: True Self and the Ground of Being. Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash

Recommended Reading

A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey

In A Way to God, Fox explores Merton’s pioneering work in interfaith, his essential teachings on mixing contemplation and action, and how the vision of Meister Eckhart profoundly influenced Merton in what Fox calls his Creation Spirituality journey.
“This wise and marvelous book will profoundly inspire all those who love Merton and want to know him more deeply.” — Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism

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9 thoughts on “Week of 3/6-11, 2023: Our Search for Truth, the True Self & the Ground of Being”

  1. Avatar

    Pilate asked, “What is truth?” Gandhi said “God is truth.” Jesus said “I am the Way. the Truth and the Life.” Putin and others like him have made a mockery of truth. Yet the truth is always within, in our hearts, as Meister Eckhart, Thomas Merton and others have proclamed. That life is short, death certain, and eternity for everlasting, is a truth that we may hide from, but a truth nonetheless.

  2. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    I find it intriguing, that when Pilate asked Jesus what truth is, Jesus gave no answer. Is this because we each need to search for the way to truth… through the mystery of our own soul sense of self… hence discovering through the experiences of life… glimpses of that which grounds our being. Perhaps this is what Jesus really meant when he spoke the words, I am the way, the truth and the life? It seems to me, that this is what we see, unfolding, evolving and emerging within the divergent and convergent testimonial stories of the mystics.

  3. Avatar

    I am in agreement with everything that is shared in this DM. I love the way “The Thread” of truth is woven through the different spiritual traditions. When we recognize this thread, it can lead us anywhere TRUTH is because truth is boundless, limitless, unconfined, liberated and liberating. In all our human efforts to define truth, it cannot really be defined. I believe all the great spiritual masters express this in one way or the other.

  4. Avatar

    Is there Life after death? All living things die. It is observable Life never dies, simply because resurrection and Life are inseparable as living and dying are inseparable. It is then a conclusion, we can’t live unless we die. We follow Life by simply living. This is the Way, in Truth all living things are predestined to live. There is only one universal Truth, and Life, that Jesus claims to Be. All living things experience this one invisible, silent Life, that is with us always. We are never alone. Life is why we multiply, by moving and having our Being in. In death we experience the fullness and abundance of Life in Our Father’s House of billions of Life’s presence, in Blue Planets. Living things are Life’s most precious gift.

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