The ultimate Truth – is to discover that of our own selves, we cannot know anything. Real knowledge is vested in God; the Devine Mind. Jesus explained it very well when he said that he knew that he could not know anything of his own self, that it was the Father in him that knows. Real knowledge is vested in the Devine Mind; and we can only know what this Devine Mind is giving us to know, if we sincerely seek and are sufficiently receptive without collective ideas and opinions. Human collected knowledge of the world is not real knowledge, but only information. The Devine Mind is omniscient, all-knowing, and to which human consciousness can be a medium through. The Zen Master says, “Knowing comes from not knowing.” He who knows, does not know; and he who does not know will come to know. The brain does not know anything. So it is absolutely necessary to come to understand that there is a God and that we are not divided from this Infinite One Mind; which is the source of all wisdom, knowledge, life, energy and love to all what is.
Jesus didn’t say: Ye shall believe in the right things, and the belief will make you free. He said: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Certainly, our beliefs determine our experiences. Now the question is, what happens if we believe in the truth? We wind up getting involved in contentious arguments and polemics. We become religious dogmatists and live in fear of someone perhaps succeeding in throwing a monkey wrench into our belief system.
Believers are very vulnerable and can easily become very violent in their beliefs. Believers have invented the word and term of blasphemy to their own ‘justified believing’ defense. Though out the ages and even today, many individuals have been ‘justly’ beheaded, hanged, crucified and murdered by many various believer’s to those individuals who even dared to entertain these conjectured blasphemous views. This is the basis of religious intolerance and of man-kinds created wars. If we believe intellectually, we tend to become argumentative; if we believe with our emotions, we can become very emotionally disturbed.
It is of course; very unfortunate and easy to become a believer. We just join a group, an organization, a movement, or a church and we participate in a collective belief. As long as no one is challenging our beliefs, we find comfort in numbers knowing that others believe what we believe. All over the world people have a tendency to join organizations, clubs and churches in this behalf.
Someone may say at this point that the bible is full of exhortations to believe, and that even Jesus spoke of the need to believe. However, epistemological and linguistic studies in the history of the writings of biblical texts will give us sufficient justification to interpret the word “believing” as connoting more a need to understand. Therefore, whenever the word “believe” appears in the Bible, it is more profitable to substitute the word to “understand”. For as it is impossible to understand something that is not true. It would be impossible to understand that two and two is five. It can only be believed. This was my life lesson given to my very young Grandchildren, who believed my age was 29; until they came to understand that this could not be.
When we are believers, we are doubters. It is impossible to be a believer without being a doubter at the same time, because if we didn’t doubt, we wouldn’t have to believe; this explains the dynamism of insecurity. The flip side of the coin, so to speak. When we come to know the truth and understand God in an existentially valid way, we are liberated from the necessity to believe anything. Carl Jung was once asked the question whether he believed in God, and he replied: “I don’t have to believe, I know.”
Understanding is a higher level of consciousness, it cannot be willed, it can only be sought. It is important to know the difference between willing something and seeking something. The Bible says: “If thou seek him, he will be found of thee” (I Chronicles 28:9)….. “If ye seek him, he will be found of you” (II Chronicles 15:2)….. And ye shall seek me, and find me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13)….. “ Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)
Truth is what really is. Reality, understanding and absolute truth are synonymous; which is all good, perfect, healing, liberating, and imparts harmony toward the betterment of all things and anyone
In mankind, the closer we are to the truth, the less popular it is. Just consider all the various fads which have sprung up in our culture and spread like wildfire. We could ask the question: How is it possible that invalid ideas gain such rapid acceptance, that new ideas and new fads are coming along, and that people are eagerly jumping on bandwagons and repeatedly winding up disappointed?
It is interesting to recall what Jesus said: "Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away" (Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33). Is this an arrogant statement? How could he make such a statement? What did he mean? He meant that the phenomenal world comes and goes, but truth is eternal. Truth is seldom popular but it validates itself. How do we know whether something is existentially valid or not? Truth is health-promoting, life-enhancing, harmony-inducing, liberating, healing, inspiring and leads to perfection and long term happiness.
Excitement is popular. Excitement is counterfeit happiness. Most people want to have an exciting life and yet excitement, when considered phenomenologically, is a disturbance. It is something that disturbs the homeostatic balance. What is homeostatic balance? It refers to the harmonious order of physiological processes in the organism. Excitement, which is believed to be an aspect of the good life, is actually a disturbance.
How can truth be proven and appreciated? By its effects. The main existential impact of truth is freedom. Freedom is an essential element of the fundamental order of existence and of health. Here again, Jesus beautifully defined truth as that which sets man free. Free from what? What kind of freedom does truth confer? The freedom to be what we really are. What is preventing us from being what we really are? Is there anyone who can unequivocally make a statement that he is actualizing in his daily life the truth of his being?
We have heard here an implied definition of freedom: To be able to act as we feel. Acting as we feel is not freedom, it is license. This was the fallacy upon which encounter groups were founded. Those too passed away in spite of their great popularity. Some people define freedom as freedom of choice. But in order to choose freely we would have to be able to cognize correctly. Do we have the faculty to cognize correctly? Are our perceptions reliable? If they are unreliable, it is illusory to talk about free choice. We have also heard here an implied definition of reality: What society says; that is reality. Is that true? Society is neither reality nor the arbiter of reality; it just represents the demands of the culture. Society only requires us to be realistic, society does not claim to know what reality is. To be realistic is to pretend to be real. Realisitic man pretends to live in reality.
What is a person? Are we persons? "Person" is not what we are, it is what we pretend to be. The question "What are we really?" is at the core of existential psychotherapy. Every one of us has to find the answer to that question, and when we do find it, we are enlightened.
Now if "person" is something we pretend to be, and if we have interpersonal relationships, what is going on? What is going on in an interpersonal relationship? A friction is going on. Two fictitious characters are trying to interact with one another. If we consider this fact about interpersonal relationships, we can sit in amazement, contemplating the multitudes of people investing time and energy using interpersonal transactions for therapeutic purposes. How is it possible for one fictitious character to improve the health of another fictitious character? Interpersonal relationships can only improve the pretense, not the health of the persons. The real issue is an inter-personal situation is the altering of pretensions, which is called functioning, adaptation, relating or getting along or adjustment. What is being adjusted? How well we play the game. We learn to play the game in a socially acceptable manner, but we are still alienated from the truth of our self-identity. It stands to reason that there is no hope whatsoever of discovering the truth of our self-identity by focusing our attention, deploying our energies into improving the fiction we believe ourselves to be. Now when we consider truth as the fundamental factor in liberation, and when we consider the objectives of existential psychotherapy as the realization of our true self-identity, then we see how precious and how important it is to be after the truth, rather than after an improved pretense.
What is the method whereby we would endeavor to attain the goal of authenticity? Actually, it is very simple. All we have to do is to learn to ask the right questions. The entire field of psychotherapy is victim of an unfortunate choice of questions. What are the questions that are asked most often in this field of endeavor?
The first question is: Why did it happen? This is a cause-and-effect question? It is assumed that something has happened, it must have had a cause or a reason. This sounds very logical, but unfortunately it is not valid in a broader context.
The second question: Who is to blame for what happened? This is personalistic question. Nobody is really to blame. There is neither cause or culprit.
The third question: What should we do? This is an operational question. It presumes that we can fix whatever went wrong. Man is not really an operator.
The fourth question: How should we do it? This is a process question. It resume that the repair that seems necessary entails a certain process.
These questions are tragically midleading. Whenever we successfully answer any of these questions or all of them, we have embarked on a "wild goose chase" which has no hope of profitability.
To speedily attain the goal of realizing the truth, there are two valid questions which we may ask.
The first question we must ask is: What is the meaning of what seems to be?
The second question is: What is what really is?
What do these questions help us to understand? First, if we are to know the truth, we have to awaken to that which is not true. We need to understand the meaning of what seems to be. This, in turn, will help us to realize what really is. Phenomena, as we know, are appearances, things that seem to be but are not. Phenomena are thoughts externalized as perceptible manifestations. When we ask: "What is the meaning of what seems to be?", we are inquiring into the mental equivalent of phenomena. Suppose someone gets angry at his wife. He gets red in the face, his blood pressure rises, he is ranting and raving, he is upset. The naive thing to say about him would be that he got mad at his wife, that he seems to have had a temper tantrum. But this would just be judging by appearances. Now the temptation would be to ask: Why is he mad? But as we said, that is a wrong question to ask, it would not help us to really understand him. The second question would be: Who is to blame for his having gotten mad? But this would also not be helpful, it would only lead to further recriminations. Then we could ask: How could we calm him down, and what should we do so that he wouldn't be so mad? This would seem to be the natural questions to ask but it too would not help us to understand.
If, however, we ask: "What is the meaning of his seeming upset?", then we are seeking to understand the mental equivalent of this phenomenon. We are actually asking: What are the thought processes that underlie this particular appearance? If we sincerely want to know and are willing to resist the temptation to figure it out, then it will come to us. It may come to us that this man was thinking about what his wife should have or should not have done. That he entertained certain mental assumptions about what should be or what should not be. And when these assumptions were frustrated, he had this reaction, which is really nothing else than this man insisted that his assumptions be fulfilled.
Most of the time when we are frustrated, it is not because someone else did something or didn't do something. It does not have a cause at all, it only indicates that we are in the habit of thinking in certain ways, most of the time in terms of what should or should not be.
In inquiring after a meaning of a phenomenon, the mental processes which underlie that phenomenon are revealed to us. And once we understand the meaning of a phenomenon, we can ask the final question: What is what really is? In order to get an answer to the final question, we need to understand something about the context in which real man lives. From what was said until now, we can see that the real man does not live in the context of interpersonal relationships, nor does he live in the context of society. The real man lives in the context of reality, absolute reality. What is absolute reality? A wave lives in the context of the ocean. Real man lives in the context of divine reality. Real man is as inseparable from devine reality as the wave is from the ocean. Devine reality is the existential context of man. "In him we live, and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)