There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. -Buddha
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. -Galileo Galilei
Last week, we started discussion of truth with a handful of women at CRCF. It presented clean slate, a process, and, perhaps, a contract with the new year. One of our agreements is to offer writing space to any woman seeking honest self-expression. As we study the nature of truth, we commit to seeking the truth of ourselves on paper, even if those truths appear painful or threaten to change us.
One woman characterized truth as a kind friend. Another called it a primordial thread. Another called it love. Another doubted it even existed. This is a joke, right? She said. It became clear that our relationship to truth can be as complex as our relationship to love, freedom, wonder, any necessary but abstract notion, really. Truth is a concept that demands action but offers no guides, no answer, no clear road map. This leaves the potential for pitfalls, mishaps, and loss. As we started to write, we were all a little afraid. This is often the case.
Turns out that prison is good place to write the truth. Not because the stimuli is simplified by bare walls, rules or uniforms, not because we don’t have a choice, not because there’s nothing else to say. It’s not that reductive. But it seemed to me that once we let things be quiet amidst the chaos and uncertainty, truth lived underneath the tension these women experience most days. We just needed a place to put it. By then, it’s a relief to speak the truth, this hounding thing, the words that seem to seek you as you seek it.
Below you’ll find the word from a woman brand new to the group. She seemed to have the hang of it already.
THE PRIMORDIAL THREAD
On good days I see the truth of the primordial thread that weaves its way through all persons I come in contact with and even those I am not fortunate to know consciously. I wonder how I can share my blessings and elevate others’ hardships that are most assuredly my own. I trust this is a good attitude to have if I’ve got to have an attitude.
On bad days truth is something that I know is there but can’t quite pull my head far enough out of my ass to see. On these days, truth is to me that my mashed potatoes know what they’re doing. I trust this will pass.
The truth is that my blessings are not my own, that my heart is borrowed and that my hands make art that I didn’t create. My children are on loan and mind is a useless organ of hinderance. My inadequacies are imagined and my shortcomings forgiven.
The truth is that God loves me unconditionally and I trust that he loves all others the same. Truth has never been a concept tangible by a hand other than the one that reaches heaven. The hands that know not which words to write under the categories of good and evil or give and take. If I dared to be brave enough, I would define truth as the greater intelligence (love) that exists in all matter from atom to molecule from tree to star, from toenail to intellect.
Someday I will have truth tattooed on my forehead and I will trust that it was a wise decision and in my best interest.
All the time I wonder why truth can be so allusive and relative depending on season, mood, temperament, even motivation, things that are harshly concrete, attempting to explain something so beautifully abstract. I trust that this is impossible.