To grasp what is happening in America at this time, it might be good to first meditate on Truth.
For many, Truth is another name for God. In my recent book on Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God.Truth is one of those important names for divinity. This means that when lies abound, God is banished, for God is truth.
To approach Truth is to approach God. To seek truth is to seek God. The pursuit of truth is a godly act; it is a prayer. Study is a prayer provided that the goal is not ego-enhancement or fame or power but that a pure heart is brought to the project. This means the study of anything—stars or birds, mathematics or engineering, psychology or the origins of life, the mystics or politics—all of it is a journey to the Divine. Theologian David Bentley Hart writes: “In God lies at once the deepest truth of mind and the most universal truth of existence, and that for this reason the world can truly be known by us.” We all seek truth and we are all capable of finding some.
Our yearning for truth is deeper than ethics, as Rumi observes:
They say you bring the word of God
Yet all I hear is talk of good and bad—
Nothing of love or truth.
And again, “Beyond the teachings of right and wrong there lies a field. I will meet you there.” God is a field of Truth, the field where we encounter truth and truth encounters us.
The Bhagavad Gita declares that a world without truth is a world without God and in such a world desire alone will rule.
Mahatma Gandhi, father of the non-violent revolutions that liberated India from colonial rule and, through Howard Thurman and Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others, undergirded the civil rights movement, and was applied to South Africa by Nelson Mandala, had much to say about God as Truth.
Here are some of his teachings, so worth our meditating on in this time of untruth in the media, politics, and many hearts and minds and souls.
There is no God higher than truth.
Truth is my God.
Truth is the substance of all morality.
Truth is God, and truth overrides all our plans.
Without truth and non-violence there can be nothing but destruction of humanity.
Truth is the first thing to be sought for, and Beauty and Goodness will then be added unto you.
There is no other God than truth.
Thomas Aquinas said that “the proper objects of the heart are truth and justice.” Without truth and justice our hearts are starved. Without truth, there is no justice.
Historian Timothy Snyder, in his valuable short study On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, lists Lesson Number Ten this way: “Believe in Truth.” Why is this important? “If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.”
See Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, 65.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, #42.
See Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 101-109.
Banner Image: “(Mahatma Gandhi leading) the Salt March to the remote seaside village of Dandi, and the Civil Disobedience campaign it launched was the greatest nonviolent battle by history’s greatest nonviolent campaigner.” Photo by Jyoti Prakash Bhattacharjee on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
What does Truth mean to you? How do you understand divinity and truth?
Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God
Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview. In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.
The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times
A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of the mystical/prophetic genius Thomas Aquinas, offering a profound roadmap for spirituality and action.
“The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
~ Dr. Carolyn Myss