What is the barometer of ‘truth’?
We continue here a series of articles arising out of an entry made on this page on January 3rd by a reader named Carol Bass. I found her entry wonderfully illustrative of the thoughts and feelings I hear expressed by many people during these days and times. I would like to re-print her entire Comment here, to catch you up on this exchange if you are just jumping in…
ON JAN. 3 CAROL BASS WROTE…
I don’t think I have ever had such a unsettled feeling about the future of humanity. At my age to feel so much fear and uncertainty is not a good place to be. It seems that so many have turned their back on what is right and what is wrong. The ten commandments according to the bible has become just another thing to cast off as just someone’s religious beliefs but not necessarily truth.
I am not a young person anymore and have lived allot of life but yet I seem more confused today about life, religion, morals, truth, than any other time in my life. I think it is perhaps that I try to be open minded and listen to all points of view and am always searching desparately for the truth and why we are here in the first place. It is so easy for anyone with talent for stating their views with eloquence, and the right choice of words to make a case for just about anything…But where does it all end? What do we use for our borometer for right and wrong?
I was taught as a Christian that it all goes back to the bible and the ten commandments. But not all of us are Christians. We live in such a diverse world with so many belief systems. But don’t all religions believe that good, love, peace should always prevail? It just seems to me that evil would be despised by all people. We can not keep going on killing, hating, raping, abusing, ignoring the needs the weak without our spirits being broken. We must find a way to do better.
We only have control of ourselves but we can sure start there. We can and do have a influence on the people we love and the contacts we have in our lives. People do pay attention to how we live our lives. I have started in my life by standing firm in my beliefs as a person of God. I will obey the commandments, I will live a honest God fearing life, and I will not tolerate deceit, lies, injustice, and behavior that is hateful without saying something to stop it. I will love my fellow man and be helpful when there is a need. I will encourage anyone that I may come in contact with that appears to be in some kind of struggle to turn to their God for guidance. I will continue to pray for guidance myself and for the betterment of our humanity. I will always ask God to turn our heats back to Him where the truth is and always will be. That is my daily prayer.
Now, from me in response…
AS YOU KNOW if you read our last entry here, I have done my best to address the question of “right” and “wrong”. And there is more on this topic right now just above, in the copy element on this page labeled Excerpt from Conversations with God. I do hope you read it, Carol…and I hope that the rest of you take a moment to read it, too. I found this exchange in the dialogue with God to be remarkably opening and helpful in allowing me to re-contextualize my understanding of “right” and “wrong.”
This article is Part VI of an ongoing series:
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR TOMORROW
Now, I would like to move to this Comment by Carol: It is so easy for anyone with talent for stating their views with eloquence, and the right choice of words to make a case for just about anything…But where does it all end? What do we use for our borometer for right and wrong?
That, it seems to me, is a very fair question. I, too, spent 50 years looking for that barometer, Carol. And I found it in Conversations with God. Does that mean that I had decided that CWG is “the truth”? No. Actually, just the opposite.
Listen to this dialogue that I had with God about just this topic, Carol. This is a direct lift, a word-for-word transcript, of a passage from the Conversations with God books…
GOD: Religion is also a manifestation of humankind’s instinctive awareness that rituals, traditions, ceremonies and customs have enormous value as markers that assert a peoples’ presence in the world, and as the adhesive that secures that presence by holding a peoples’ culture together.
Each culture has its beautiful and singular tradition honoring a beautiful and central truth: that there is something larger and more important in life than one’s own desires, or even one’s own needs; that life itself is a much more profound and far more meaningful experience than many people at first imagine; and that it is in love and mutual concern and forgiveness and creativity and playfulness and the joining of hands in a united effort to achieve a common goal wherein which will be found the deepest satisfactions and the most wondrous joys of the human encounter.
Take then, each of you, your own path to Me. Undertake your own journey home. Do not worry or render judgments about how others are taking theirs. You cannot fail to reach Me, and neither can they. Indeed, you will all meet again when you are together at Home, and you will wonder why you quibbled so.
NEALE: Oh, and we have argued, haven’t we? We have argued endlessly. We have quarreled and we have fought and we have killed and we have died because we have insisted that ours is the right way—in fact, that ours is the only way—to heaven.
GOD: Yes, you have.
NEALE: Yet now here you come to tell us that “no path is better than any other path.” And I must gently ask, how can I believe this? How can I know what to believe?
GOD: Whatever you do, do not believe what is said here.
NEALE: I’m sorry?
GOD: Do not believe a single thing I say. Listen to what I say, then believe what your heart tells you is true.
I ask only one thing.
NEALE: What is that?
GOD: Do not tell others that unless THEY believe what is in YOUR heart, I am going to condemn them. And whatever you do, do not condemn them yourself, on my behalf.
NEALE: We keep doing that. We don’t seem to know how to stop. And we’re putting ourselves through sheer hell.
GOD: Yet now here is the Good News: Humanity need not go through hell to get to heaven.
So there you have it, Carol: the answer to your question. Your barometer for what is “right” and “wrong” is found in your own heart. Your heart is the bridge between your mind and your soul. Listen to what your heart tells you is “right” and “wrong” and live by that — just as your statement above indicates, Carol, that you have done. This is precisely what you have done, and God bless you for it. You need no other barometer than that. For it is as Shakespeare wrote:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Carol Bass Dialogue continues in this space in entries ahead. You are invited to check back for the newest entry.