What is Truth? What Do the Scriptures say about Truth?

by Joshua Tilghman on April 5, 2017

What is Truth?There is an old Zen saying that states: “In order to get to the truth, have no opinions.”

There is immense wisdom in that saying. It tells us, first of all, that our opinions cloud our judgment. We certainly can’t trust them. Historically, it has been the opinions of some that have caused much injustice in the world. On just a religious level, consider the Inquisition. But even in our day-to-day lives, can all say that we have unjustly condemned someone because of our opinions. And this is why Jesus tells us, “Judge not, least we be judged. And in the same measure that we judge, it comes back to us.”

Upon reflection, I have found this to be so true in my own life. As we grow in wisdom with age and experience, and then realize the great extent of our egos through that experience, we come to understand that we are almost always wrong. But…it takes a greater experience where we realize a bigger overall picture to bring us to this realization. And the cycle repeats and grows evermore. Let me give you an example:

I used to think that going to work every day to earn money and do more would be the life! Put in eight hours a day for a week, get a paycheck, and then spend it however and on whatever I wanted! Ah, I could be happy. But as I got older and then landed my first job, for some reason my priorities changed! Life didn’t seem so cut and dry anymore.

Another example:

That odd kid who sat quietly in class and didn’t interact in my own preconceived cool social circle was weird and lacking. But many years later I saw his success on Facebook and suddenly realized that his choices weren’t so bad. Perhaps. But now I have a greater level of understanding to even think…perhaps. But at a certain time I was certain he had made some better choices.

Yes, very crude examples that we can all relate to, but you get the picture. No doubt, opinions can be a dangerous thing, leading us down many rabbit holes until we have a greater perspective. Some opinions are better than others, to be sure (or are they?), but none really equate to the truth. Why? Because life is a continuous change based on experience and circumstance.

The absence of opinions is why the scientific method has been as successful as it has—it uses a carefully constructed process to eliminate opinions when observing the natural world, the world in which we live, the world of the senses. But even the scientific method has its limitations: we still don’t understand how the universe really works, although we have gleaned much about it up to this point. But quantum physics has shown us that the universe behaves in weird ways at the micro level that doesn’t align with the macro level, which is the level at which we perceive things working. This article is not a scientific one, so I digress. But I mean to say that the physical senses are very limited in their nature of interpretation. They cause us to develop opinions about ourselves, our neighbors, and the way we think things should be. This extends to belief systems, such as religion and morality. Take all the opinions of a society and we would have complete and udder chaos without laws that supersede our opinions. That’s a good thing, because it allows society to function at large, although it’s still not perfect. Some still slip through the cracks and get unjustly punished. The Constitution of the United States has helped close the gap over the governments ruled by monarchy, tyrants, oligarchs, etc. But it’s still nowhere perfect. And with each new generation opinions change those laws, or expand them to include rights to others which have previously been denied. Sometimes these rights are good (such as the Civil Rights Act), but other times they may cause more trouble (insert many over the past decade – but remember, they are just my opinion and are subject to my flaws).

America itself seems to be undergoing a major change in societal beliefs in the past five years, and we’ll see how it all turns out. Regardless, opinions will never produce a perfect society, and neither will laws which associate with those opinions. So we can safely say, opinions will never have us arrive at the truth, because in reality, at least in the world of the senses, truth is always relative to the individual. So consider:

Proverbs also states,

“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in opinions.” (18:2).

This takes the Zen saying a step further: The one who lives by his opinions is really a fool. Ha! How all of us have been fools at one time or another, or maybe even on a daily basis. Why? Because if we are honest with ourselves, aren’t much of our daily lives lived by our opinions. Think of all judgments we pass each day!

So what is truth? Does the Bible tell us?

Actually, it does. But it’s still needs some major decoding. Let’s go to the story of Jesus and Pilate to discover more.
As the allegory goes, Pontius Pilate once asked Jesus, “What is the truth?” (John 18:38).

Surprisingly, the scripture doesn’t record an answer from Jesus, but rather makes it seem like Pontius asked a rhetorical question. But to be fair, we have to take into account the context of what happened before.

Jesus just got through telling Pontius that He was the truth, and that His Kingdom was not of this world. What was meant here?

It’s quite simple. The truth is not of this world. In this world, you won’t find it. This world of senses is too complicated to navigate. Always mired by opinions. They always feed us information that we interpret incorrectly because of societal inputs and impetus that cause us to form those opinions in the first place. This is one of the reasons I advocate meditation in so many of my articles. Meditation takes us away from our opinions and causes us to tap into a higher intuition when done properly over time. This intuition may be slow to come at first, and rightly so. Think about it. True meditation takes us beyond the prison of our own mind with all its opinions. In a sense, it’s the process of stepping into another world, a world of silence. The mind is quieted. Our thoughts, our opinions, are quieted.

So what is truth, really? It’s not something I can plainly tell you. Truth is a higher experience that changes us from the inside out, once it is experienced. Meditation, even the typed studied through the scientific method, causes us to drop beliefs and opinions, because it allows us to see into a higher dimension of reality. Eventually, and when done properly, it causes us to see ourselves for what we really are: a conglomeration of opinions and ego. Meditation, proven to bring us many health benefits, provides us with a psychological overhaul. And this is the reason for its many health benefits: It causes us to decondition ourselves. And this is why all the major Biblical figures advocate it.

Consider the Psalmist who states:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Being still is the process of letting go of who we think we are for a time. Because, let’s face it: when we strip away all the ego and opinion, we come to a certain peace. Why? Because all that is left is God, the basic and most true state that we are. Mind you, this state of being may take years of meditation, because we have to strip away so much, but it’s there to discover. It’s the Christ nature of us all.

Consider that the scripture tells us that Elijah didn’t find God in the fire or whirlwind or the earthquake, but in the still quiet voice. To put it in New Testament terms, it is the Inner Christ coming forth through the death of the ego, the process of crucifixion. The process gives us a higher perspective on life, and causes the higher brain function of intuition to come forth.

Why is it that some of the greatest spiritual masters of all the great religions have to retreat away from civilization, away from man’s ego and opinion? Didn’t Moses go to the mountaintop? Didn’t Jesus retreat to the Garden? Didn’t Buddha sit quietly under the Bodhi tree? All of them alone with God? Of course! Because God answers to no man, to no opinion. The truth, which is beyond the world of the senses, also answers to no man, and no opinion. God is truth, and to find Him, we have to leave all opinions and judgments behind. And there, in the stillness of the mind, lies an experience of the truth on a higher plane of consciousness. Few there be that find it, because few there be that move beyond the world of the senses to really see. And the truth discovered there has no words, but rather action that is produced through higher intuition. I cannot tell you the truth. But you can experience it for yourself.

When I first began to see this, I suddenly had a great appreciation for the esoteric interpretation of the Scriptures. The literal interpretation suddenly faded in meaning, and the higher spiritual concepts that lie hidden beneath the literal interpretation began to come alive. Certain scriptures seem literally to tell us to search for truth in the world of the senses, but the overall picture points us in a different direction; one beyond the senses. It is my great honor to point you in this direction. And remember, no one person, not even me or this website will ever reveal to you the truth; only you can bring yourself there. This website and its articles can only point in the right direction and hopefully close certain doors…the door of thought and opinions and ego. But beyond that, it is up to you. Happy hunting through meditating! There are more than few articles on this site which reveal more about proper meditation. Use the search bar and if you find them worthy, and if so, good luck!

Blessings!

Wanjiru Muigai April 6, 2017 at 4:14 am

Hello.
This my very first time to comment on this blog which I stumbled on sometime last year (2016). I can attest that indeed truth can only be experienced from deep within, never relayed. After many years of searching and even giving-up on God things, it dawned on me that I can get answer from deep within. Although am still struggling, especially on meditation, I know God is in me.
I still find some of the issues discussed contentious, others incomprehensible but I read on. The humble and accommodating approach you and other contributors take is in itself very assuring. In my opinion (oops!), this is a warm community in search of truth.
Thanks
Wanjiru Muigai

Joshua Tilghman April 6, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Wanjiru,

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I’m so glad you learned to go within to find some answers. It’s refreshing when we finally arrive at this conclusion. I hope you will glean more from the site in the future, and no worries about finding some of the information contentious. I completely understand:)

Blessings.

Robert April 6, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Josh,

Very interesting topic. I seem to be in tune with the direction you are going. Truth is not of this world.

A few weeks ago I arrived at a new appreciation of that. I was driving to work listening to polical commemntary on the radio and just got sick of it all. “It’s all crap” I thought (which is easy to conclude these days) . And I turned it off. Then the idea crossed my mind that I am a media receiver taking in information bombarding me all day long. The radio of life in this world is always turned on and playing with my consious and subconsious mind. But I know after years of mediating for 15 minutes every other day or so that I can shut down the chatter and then I feel better. And the idea came to my mind in the car “Its all crap”. Not just the radio. Everything I take in. So I said it again with this new shade of meaning, “Its all crap” and in an instant I felt the chatter of the world drop off from me. I felt warm. I felt love. I was happy. I felt like whatever happens good or bad it does not matter. I was still able to drive. I would slowly drift out of this sate of mind. But I could bring it all back by whispering ‘Its all crap”, and bingo, I’m in the zone.

I realize that my new mantra is somewhat bizarre, but it works for me.

I thought about the verse you mentioined where Pilat asks “What is truth?” and then there is a long silence. There is a lot that can be read into that long silence. The fact that Pilat finds he cannot judge Jesus immediatly after that is also revealing.

Thanks for the article.

Robert

Joshua Tilghman April 6, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Robert,

Great to hear from you. And by the way I really did enjoy those articles you linked to.

And thank you for your example, and the further idea about Jesus’ silence. So true. Another article could be written on just this one topic.

Take care.

Tommie April 16, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Robert,

I arrived at the same conclusion. I used to be a news junkie, but like you I’ve decided the media is full of junk! If you want mind control instead of truth, just tune in to CNN, FOX, whatever. Since I stopped watching and listening to any form of news, I am much happier and less stressed. To misquote Timothy Leary, “Turn it off, tune it out and drop the crap!”
Peace,

Tommie

Phil Steele April 6, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Josh,Thanks for your insight and spiritual discernment. I have followed your site for over three years and find it to be an excellent source for looking at scriptures through an esoteric lens.This was an excellent rendering of what truth actually involves and how to separate your ego from the search for truth. As the Christ reveals to us He who will lose is life (his own opinion of himself) will save it. An interesting parallel to this is the use of the word persona. This word is from the Latin and means sounding through a mask. It describes the use of a mask used by actors in medieval times during plays. The persona is a mask(false self) or our own opinion of ourselves. Only through the Christ in us can we see our true individuality through the correct lens. Thanks for your insight and wisdom. Also I found the Gaskell Dictionary to be an invaluable resource.

Joshua Tilghman April 6, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Phil,

Great comment on revealing the persona. So glad you liked Gaskell’s dictionary as well. That was recommended to me by another reader about a year after I had developed the site, and I knew it was an instant treasure. Gaskell put together an amazing resource for us all.

Blessings.

Christine Hoeflich April 6, 2017 at 7:18 pm

So true Joshua, our opinions are so strong it takes something big to override them … like the whisperings of our own heart, or an aha moment during or after a meditation, or something that gets clarified in a dream.

Joshua April 6, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Thanks Christine! As always, your comments are valued.

Gerard Hoornweg April 7, 2017 at 7:45 am

Many Blessings Joshua,

Truly a lovely read you have made, and I feel you strongly.
Having experienced an Ego-Death a while ago in a prolonged meditation, I came to realise that all physical originates out of an always present consciousness, inherently good, that wants to observe itself BEing in all possible forms through the endless dance and newness that is Life.

Everyone is unique, and those that are trustingly true in the moment with peace in their hearts and happiness in their soul, true to themselves in the Now, without opinions- without being subject to the mind, but trusting surrenderly to it- and on to It- those are in Alignment with, expressing the Self through spontaneity that Is, wants to Be, Feel, and express, as the uniqueness that everyone Is and is part of, in the possible experienced wholeness of the moment.

That might be deep, but that is how It Felt, and how I’ve experienced it 3 times now. The first time it happened I had to laugh hard, because it couldn’t be, it was impossible, both in terms of my worldview, and because when I came back out of that state, I had to reconstrue my ego realizing I lived in a physical world.

We are all part of it this journey, and god works through human consciousness through underlying mechanisms others would describe the Law of Atrraction.
Those who seek, will find. We can all experience, and as you say, people should seek and find themselves, but one mystery for me still is:
How is it that after meditation, you can attract or envelop more spontaneity and personify good moments, whilst you yourself are cognitively controlling Less? With less cognitive control: more Wealth in moments. It is flow.
Jacob meditated as well, and what a blessed man he was.

Consciousness is all-present, and you see that: brother, I truly love your work.
Many people find it a hard pill to swallow that Jesus did not literally say himself he was THE son of god. He even said to others: ‘Ye are gods’ (John 10:34), emphasizing that just as Jesus is In the father, and the father is In him, so are We ALL panentheistically In the Physical – connected to Consciousness.
Science will catch up to this, and this has even been hypothesised already by many a physicist.

Jesus was a son of god, just as he said himself, and a truly spiritual man, symbolically ‘chosen by ‘. But we should ask ourselves what ‘chosen’ means.

It saddens me to see later bibles has edited the scripture (John 10:34) to ‘I am THE son’, instead of keeping what was truly intended, i am A.

Anyway, keep up the good work.
Many are being misled, saddingly.
I believe the intended will get there, though.
And you are helping them with it.

Many blessings,

G

Joshua Tilghman April 29, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Gerard,

I really appreciate this heartfelt comment. Thank you for adding to post. I like the touch to John 10:34, something I had never really considered. Blessings to you as well.

anny April 15, 2017 at 3:40 am

Josh,

A great article that I largely agree with. However, my view on opinions as such is different.

You write: “There is an old Zen saying that states: “In order to get to the truth, have no opinions.”
There is immense wisdom in that saying. It tells us, first of all, that our opinions cloud our judgment. We certainly can’t trust them. Historically, it has been the opinions of some that have caused much injustice in the world. On just a religious level, consider the Inquisition. But even in our day-to-day lives, can all say that we have unjustly condemned someone because of our opinions. And this is why Jesus tells us, “Judge not, least we be judged. And in the same measure that we judge, it comes back to us.”

Of course I agree with how you feel about this but I am not sure if this is a correct description of the concept opinion as such.

I see opinions as one of the tools to play around with in this world of illusion in order to help us grow, determine who we are and to interact with each other in the correct way. Forming our own opinions can help us think independently if we do it right. Important here is not to consider your own or anybody else’s opinion as the absolute truth. Important is to be open for each other’s opinions and to learn from each other. One can have opinions about anything at all and they do not necessarily have to be judgements. Like my opinion and your opinion about what is or is not true in Bible interpretation are different sometimes but that does not mean that I consider my opinion to be the truth and your opinion false. We just think differently about this subject and that is okay.

My opinion on the above Zen saying is that it means: if you want to get to the truth, having opinions does not help. Indeed, as you write further on, meditation leads to that. However, it does not say: “have no opinions” as such. But of course you are free to disagree with me.

Anny

Joshua Tilghman April 29, 2017 at 7:48 pm

Anny,

Thank you for your comments as always.

You have a great point! What I mean by that quote is that opinions mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, at least when it comes to being right and wrong. Sure, they help us play here, which ultimately leads to us discovering truth about ourselves, when we allow it. But they are, as you say, an integral part of our individuality, and therefore, necessary. However, we shouldn’t put much stock in them when it comes to the bigger picture of spiritual truth. When we discover a truth on our own, whether from experience or an esoteric interpretation of scripture, how we convey it will still come across as an opinion. It’s all about our own perspective in the end.

Tommie April 20, 2017 at 8:51 pm

Hey Josh!

I love your choice of topic. Your topics and words are inspired as always. ‘Opinion’ lies in the subjective consciousness as unsubstantiated ‘belief’ and ‘conjecture’. Opinions are filtered through a biased cultural lens of what is and what is not, according to the particular culture or religion to which we have been exposed. As you say, at the macrocosmic or superficial level.

Truth is found, as you say, at the microcosmic level. It is not of the intellect or of things “learned” in our life experience. Truth lies in the shared Cosmic Mind, Source, the One, God, or whatever we may choose to call it. It is not alterable or subject to our worldly predjudices. As a son of God Jesus knows this.

In this scripture you have chosen, Jesus is the microcosm. Potius Pilot represents the macrocosm. Pilot asks the question, “What is truth?” Jesus does not answer. This is significant. Why? Truth is not wound up in a set of commonly held beliefs (opinions) to be argued in a court of law. Truth is on trial here just as much as Jesus is on trial. Jesus himself is the embodiment of truth.

“KNOW” the Truth, and it shall set you free. (John 8:32). As esoteric students, we understand the difference between ‘knowing’ and believeing – ‘believing’ being synonymous with ‘opinion’.

Peace!

Joshua Tilghman April 29, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Thanks Tommie. So true.

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