In the Christian world we continuously repeat the mantra: Jesus is the answer, Jesus is the truth! Vi repate it over and over again and it most often seems to mean that outside the person of Jesus there is no truth. We seem to believe that Jesus statement means that everything else is untrue, lies.
I think that it is about time that we dive deeper into this statement and have a look what Jesus actually is saying here.
Jesus says Kai he Aletheia, literaly: and the truth. The word does mean truth but Aletheiais much more multifaceted than that.
Aletheia (Ancient Greek: ἀλήθεια) is truth or disclosure in philosophy. It was used in Ancient Greek philosophy and revived in the 20th century by Martin Heidegger.
It is a Greek word variously translated as “unclosedness”, “unconcealedness”, “disclosure” or “truth”. The literal meaning of the word ἀ–λήθεια is “the state of not being hidden; the state of being evident.” It also means factuality or reality. (WIKIPEDIA)
Unclosedness / unconcealedness
The first meaning of the word means to not be closed but rather open. This in itself gives a whole new meaning to the statement. When we think of truth in a Christian context it becomes such a rigid, closed and final thing. However the word Jesus chose to use has a different flavour, a flavour of openness, the meaning here is not anything goes but rather, not hidden, revealed open for everyone to see. The way is not closed but open, for all to walk.
Jesus first and foremost makes the statement that God or the gospel is not a secret, not a hidden thing but open, welcoming and available.
Disclosure / revelation
Deeper into this is the concept of revelation, Jesus makes clear that the life of god (and we know that when John writes the life, he generally is referring to that elusive state that the other gospel writers call the kingdom or rather the queendom of god.) is now revealed, made manifest in him. There is an idea here that the idea of god, and the reality of god the truth of god has been disclosed for all to see.
Not hidden but revealed
So rather than making an exclusive claim about his teachings, Jesus is merely pointing out that in his person god and gods queendom are no longer hidden but revealed. Jesus is not saying that his teachings are the only true ones but rather that he is the revelation and without the revelation of the divine within without this way being opened, made visible, there is no access to the life or queendom (The greek word basileia, normally translated kingdom, is actually in feminine form so it would be more correctly translated with queendom) of god.
In a roundabout way we also learn that the way to life os the opening up, coming out and revealing oneself so that the divine may be seen through the clutter and debris of ego.
The truth shall set you free
So by understanding this correctly we realise that it is the truth in Jesus that sets us free not the truth about Jesus if that makes any sense. It’s the truth that liberates us. Not the truth about Jesus but the truth about us. The truth about us as divine human beings that Jesus came to make clear/unhidden.
Just as full disclosure liberates us from shame it also sets us free to accept and acknowledge exactly where we are and therefore gives us the ability and possibility to deal with our current situation.
The freedom achieved by people who grow beyond the limitations of their childhood conditioning is freedom from their own minds. Freedom from one’s own mind is freedom to create. But in order to have some say in creating life, you must be willing to tell the truth. Telling the truth frees us from entrapment in the mind. (Brad Blanton, Radical Honesty)
So, only through telling the truth and giving up on all our lies can we break free from the prison of our minds (and EGO) and live as our true self.
Telling the truth, after hiding out for a long time, reopens old wounds that didn’t heal properly. It often hurts a lot. It takes guts. It isn’t easy. It is better than the alternative. (Brad Blanton, Radical Honesty)
When we give up on our lies, posturing and posing we stop giving nourishment to the EGO, a starving EGo is a dangerous animal that will stop at nothing to reinsert itself and reclaim its throne in your life. When we starve the EGO by only speaking truth, by not pretending and trying to make ourselves look good can often feel like dying, it is the EGO not dying but letting go of control in your life and it feels like a death before death.
You might call it “dying before you die,” which is always the secret of the saints, and the heart of any authentic spiritual initiation. (R.R. Eager to love)
But you are not dying, it is the false self being crucified, Blanton writes:
What dies in telling the truth is the false self, the image projection we have presented to the world, and come to believe as a result of our own press releases. (Brad Blanton, Radical Honesty)
This is where we must not falter, we have to give up all notions of fitting in, of being politically correct and we even have to give up the idea of being liked. It is evident when we look at Jesus that he spoke truth unapologetically. He had no hidden agenda or ulterior motive, he simply spoke truth. regardless of the feelings it may inspire. He constantly called the EGO into question and was willing to question himself.
Why do you call me good, only the father is good…
Jesus had no time for politeness or politically correct statements.
The first thing you have to get over to tell the truth is politeness — modification of your report of your experience out of “consideration” of the other person’s feelings. (Brad Blanton, Radical Honesty)
This new way of being might drive people away from you, and your ego will tell you that you are going to end up alone and bitter. In reality when we are living in and by truth we create true opportunities for real intimacy, real closeness.
Telling the truth creates clearings between yourself and other people where there is a possibility of sharing in creating together. … When we reveal more, we have less to hide. When we have less to hide, we are less worried about being found out. When we are less worried about being found out, we can pay better attention to someone else. In this way, telling the truth makes intimacy and freedom possible. (Brad Blanton, Radical Honesty)
The truth is of course that it is when we are hiding in our EGO structures that we are really alone.
Hiding our true selves from others then makes us feel even more alone. (Kristin Neff, Self compassion)
The road to freedom
So how do we go from our life of lying/hiding to a life of truth and freedom?
Brad Blanton suggest three major steps to freedom:
The three levels are: revealing the facts; honestly expressing current feelings and thoughts; and, finally, exposing the fiction you have devised to represent yourself and your history. (Brad Blanton, Radical Honesty)
First we need to come clean and come out of the closet
The first step is to go to the people that matter in your life and reveal the lies that you have kept from them. You know all those old stories that are hidden in the past and cause a distance between you and your loved ones.
Now the temptation here is to gloss over the details and generalise your behaviour, this to is hiding and lying. What you need to do is to tell the truth with all the details reopen the wound completely and leave nothing untold. This is like cauterising a wound to really cut out and burn of all the infection and only allowing healthy tissue to remain. Full disclosure, nothing hidden. This way you truly clear space for real/true/honest communication and relationship to remain.
The rule of thumb here is that if you feel like hiding it to protect yourself or the other person you probably should say it.
Honestly expressing current feelings and thoughts
Once we have cleared the past and tossed out the skeletons out of the closet we need to make sure we don’t create any new ones. This means speaking the thoughts and emotions as they come to us. To immediately expose the EGO every time it exposes it’s head by not hiding our selfishness and weird stuff right away by speaking it loudly. By not hiding it we make sure it does not get to create shame and bottled up emotions to haunt us later.
Again if you feel like hiding it you should probably share it.
Exposing the fiction you have devised to represent yourself and your history.
The last level is to continually expose the EGO and the different masks the EGO would have you put on to refuse to live the lie but to live out from the truth and recognise that the truth is alive, it changes daily. No EGO box, no category, no role and no identity label can contain you. When I am with my kids I am in the role of parent, but parent is not who I am, when I am standing up here I am in the role of pastor/teacher but that is not who I am. When I am with my wife I alternatively take the role of husband/father/friend/lover and neither is my true self. They are roles I play and some of them beneficial to my life but they are not me, they are true in that moment but maybe not in the next.
The process of demythologizing yourself is begun by bragging about all the things which, in your false modesty, you were pretending you didn’t care about. You have to go through your vanity and the suffering associated with it. You have to show off and be embarrassed, both of which are egotism, and you can’t skip, dodge, or get around this step. You have to praise yourself openly rather than manipulate to suck praise. You have to acknowledge being a secret hero to yourself and confess the putrid vanity of all of your usual phony self-denigration. You have to admit what a worm and a liar you are and go through the feelings that come up when you tell the truth about all of this. If you have never truly embarrassed yourself by what you had to say about yourself, you don’t know shit from shinola about transformation. When you get to telling the truth about all of it, you are at level three. Who you are becomes more a description centered in the here and now, and less of a story about your life.
So letting go of the story of our lives and only sharing the absolute truth about what is here and now, complete disclosure that is the point when you like Jesus can say I am unconcealed, unhidden, revealed, truth. As the layers peel of and you shed the layers of story you have wrapped yourself in so tight that you could no longer see the difference between the story and you.
This is the point when you slowly through the love of the divine start to transform into your true self and you can, like Jesus say, I am the truth.
A revolution of truth
To be able to live like this we need to surround ourselves with people who are equally committed to telling and hearing truth, to allowing each and everyone be totally and compoletely who they are without masks or stories. And therefore finally able to hear the whisper of divine love deep within.
The kind of inner anarchy we need is not swapping a traditional or conservative ideology for a more liberal or progressive one, but to stop trying to resolve things by depending on “knowledgeable” sources outside ourselves. What we need is to turn within and access the life-giving Spirit within us all. We do this by speaking out our deeper feelings and speaking honestly between us. (Jim Palmer, Inner Anarchy)
Are you ready for the revolution?