“When you feel a peaceful joy, that’s when you are near the truth.” Rumi
A few years back my world turned upside down (you can read more about that here). As in many cases it took this mayhem to start me earnestly upon the path to spirituality and seeking Truth, with a capital T.
There is a Buddhist proverb that says “when the student is ready the teacher will appear”. As I was trying to pick up the broken pieces of my life the first teacher to appear for me was the beautiful Louise Hay who became a kind of Spiritual Kindergarten teacher for me. I had a recording of her Affirmations that I would play over and over and over, her soothing voice repeating the words that began the job of healing my shattered spirit. “Life loves and supports me. I am safe and all is well. Deep in the center of my being there is an infinite well of love. I now allow this love to flow to the surface.” Hundreds of affirmations, over and over until, miraculously, my brain began to rewire itself and these thoughts began to spontaneously form on their own. And I began to heal. It was a miracle.
Louise was the first of many teachers along my path of self discovery. I read voraciously, one book after another, learning about different modalities and belief systems, taking them all in and trying them on to see if the fit was right. Building on the affirmations that served me so well I would begin each foray with my newest teacher by stating “only the Truth (with a capital T) resonates with me.”
Then one day the light went on. Hey wait a minute. If my soul recognizes the Truth then maybe I already have all of the answers inside. This twigged a memory that led me all the way back to my kindergarten days with Louise. Plugging in her affirmation I listened again for the thousandth time and sure enough there it was. “Inside of me lie all of the answers to all of the questions I will ever ask.” Inside of me! Truth with a capital T resounded.
But then the tricky part was how to get access to this great wealth of wisdom that was within. In my journey all roads lead to meditation, so I set myself down with some groovy binaural beats and asked a question: “How can I know if something is the Truth?”
Then I sat. And waited. And listened.
Hmm. Somehow I imagined this would be easier. I finished up my meditation with no answer to my question, then picked up the latest book I was reading. It was a step by step guide to inner peace and tranquility. I opened to where I had left off and began to read. Almost immediately Simon the cat jumped onto my lap. I gave him a scritchy under the chin then kept reading. Where was I? Oh yes, there it was. Something about following the correct path. I turned the page and Simon lifted his paw and smacked the book. I laughed and scooted him down off my lap. He’d never done that before.
I continued reading about the right way and wrong way to enlightenment. Simon jumped back on my lap and stared at the page. I laughed again. What was that crazy cat up to? He swatted the page once, then swatted again and this time he left his paw right smack dab in the middle of the page so that I couldn’t see the words. I moved his paw and tried to read. Two words in and he swatted the page yet again and this time rolled right on top of the book, completely blocking my view.
Confounded and confused I continued to attempt to read the book and every time I tried Simon would block me. The cat had gone stark raving bonkers! He’d never acted like this before. What was up with him?
And then it hit me. Ding ding ding! Bells and whistles! Here was the answer to my question. How can I know if something is the Truth? My cat won’t stop me from reading it.
Of course it hasn’t always been as easy as this particular time, but the Truth has a way of finding me and I have been able to recognize it. Sometimes it is simply a recognition, as if I knew it all along but just hadn’t come up with it yet. Sometimes it is a feeling, like anxiety in the pit of my stomach, that lets me know that while this is somebody’s Truth, it is not mine. Sometimes Truth puts the dance in my step and the song in my heart. It is all about feeling. When I feel good, I know that I am feeling God… so to speak.
As many people as there are, there are that many paths to the Truth. We all have our own to walk, and each path leads up to the mountaintop. I tend to follow my inner GPS now and sometimes it leads me on a solitary path and sometimes it brings me to my next teacher. I always learn what I can from the next person, book, lesson or ideology, take what resonates then move forward to whatever or whomever comes next.
What I have learned along the way is that accessing my own inner guru is easiest if I take a few simple steps. (hold onto your hats, people, here comes another list!)
1. First I ask the question. What is it I need to know at that point in time? Sometimes it is specific, such as “Is this author’s work Truth for me?” and sometimes I ask a more general question. “What is the next action step on my spiritual journey?”
2. Then I get quiet. This is step two. I close my eyes, get into position and sink into as deep a meditation as I can manage. Sometimes I go profoundly still, and sometimes the monkey mind won’t shut down, but either way I intend for the silence to bring me answers and usually it does.
3. Third step is to listen. Observe how my body feels and pay attention to any quiet thoughts that may pop in from realms unknown. Many times I will simply experience a knowing during the meditation, as if I always had the answer. Other times nothing seems to come and then later in my day or week I will have the answer show up in other ways, signs from the Universe, as it were. These take the form of things like random bits of conversations or song lyrics that seem to speak directly to me, or I will suddenly start hearing over and over from various sources about a certain person, book, or program and realize that this is something I am supposed to investigate. And sometimes my cat lets me know. (okay I’m just kidding. Simon has only done that the one time. But how cool would it be to have an oracle cat??)
4. And the fourth and final step is to trust what comes to you. Trust the messages. Trust the visions. Trust the cat. Even if it belies your ever present logic, trust it anyways. Your inner guru is the best guide you have. That piece of you that is connected to the Divine, where all Truth lives. Trust it. It will not lead you astray.
I use the information and guidance that the teachers bring to me to guide me along my path. I beware the self evident truths that others espouse because I understand that as soon as people label something or create rules and regulations around something it becomes more about the people in charge than about the spiritual truths they teach. Sometimes a frog is just a frog, no matter how they try to spin it. I take the good, I leave the bad and I forge ahead on this journey of discovery.