In my early thirties, a beloved teacher asked me a question that was foundational to a new direction in my work.
He asked me if I was interested in "becoming the truth".
In the fascinating conversation that followed, he made a distinction between three levels of interest, all excellent in their own right.
The first level , he said, is interested in the question “What should I believe?” This is the domain of religion.
The second is interested in the question “What is the truth?” This is the domain of philosophy.
The third asks the question “How shall I become the truth?”
What is sought here is sought through direct experience and the deep investigation of reality, known in all mystical traditions as Inquiry. This, he said, is a process of maturing through a gradual change of perception and a growing awareness about WHO is experiencing any particular moment.
It is a skill of connecting ourselves with life without resistance, and it has nothing to do with belief. It is actually empty of belief. From his experience with this method, the only limitation to a direct encounter with one's deep, essential wisdom is awareness.
He was a great story teller and began to talk about the life of a seed. He asked me to consider that a seed has no energy of its own, but it can come alive in the right environment. Can you find the environment that allows the seed to grow? he asked.
Can you penetrate beyond religion and philosophy and become the truth?