November 20, 2010 11:31 am EST
Some believe there are but two levels of truth, absolute truth and relative truth. Absolute truth, often spelled with a capital “T”, is thought to be the highest truth, God's Truth, the “real” truth. Relative truth then, is everything else, based on our human perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, and actions.
We like to see things as simple, as black and white, as this and that, as right and wrong, but can life really be that simple? I think not.
With a little quiet reflection, it's relatively easy to see that our existence, our perception of existence, and our created existence (by our patterns of thought), can be looked at as a series of levels: instinctual, sensory, cognitive, intuitive, awakened, divine, inclusive. (Of course, this model, like any model introduces limitations, but regardless, models can be useful in the dissemination and understanding of ideas and ultimately, knowledge.)
Accepting this model of levels of awareness, of life as humans, may be somewhat illustrative of our lives; we may then compare and contrast the concepts of relative and absolute truth at the various levels of understanding.
At the instinctual level, we see neither variety of truth, as our lives are ruled only by thoughts of need. I'm hungry; I eat. I'm tired; I sleep. I'm scared; I fight. Neither relative nor absolute truth reside in the perception of those at this level - only perceived needs and the satisfaction of those needs.
At the sensory level, we add want to need. I enjoy how I feel when the sun warms me so I like spending time outside on warm days. I enjoy the taste of chocolate so I buy it often. There's some awareness of choice at this level; all truth is of the relative variety. It's all about me and how I can find pleasure in what I want.
At the cognitive level is where the distinction of relative and absolute truth becomes important. I think, therefore I am, but I am also willing to believe there is a greater Truth I can never understand, at least so long as I'm here on earth. There's hope of one day reaching heaven and seeing and experiencing Absolute Truth, but in my world view, it's inaccessible, as inaccessible as building a rocket and taking a trip to a faraway star. Here is where duality is ruler of thought. Human and divine. Relative truth and absolute. Utterly separate, black and white.
At the intuitive level, we begin to wonder if maybe it's okay to explore mystery. We start to wonder if perhaps we can indeed experience some small taste of Absolute Truth. We become willing to set aside our beliefs and seek something higher. We explore dreams, we seek soothsayers and sages, we look for more. We begin to hope that some sense of divine awareness, of Absolute Truth, may become visible, even in our existence in the relative truth of our humanness.
When we reach the awakened level of existence, we see the glimpses of infinity, of the universe, of God, that we began to wonder about, to wish for, at the intuitive level. We see the Light. We wake to the glowing dance, we taste the Beauty of Forever. Here, relative truth loses meaning as we seek to dwell in the Light we have glimpsed, as we seek more Truth. The world becomes an inconvenience; we desire only the pleasure of Love.
Evolving further, we reach a level of divine. We live in constant thought of Love and Peace, wanting only to experience and share ever-increasing amounts of these beautiful and pleasing gifts. Thoughts of relative and absolute truth fall away as we realize that the experience of God, of Love, has replaced the need for faith. Faith is belief in things unseen; seeing God, concepts of faith and truth are no longer needed.
Then one day we wake a little more. We realize that we are here, in this existence, in this world, in human form, for a reason. We have come to know that there is no distinction between free will and divine will as we are truly and utterly One with Divine. It matters not whether we have chosen these lives or they were chosen for us as these are one and the same. We are God. God is Us.
And with the perfect knowledge of the oneness of humanity and divinity, of free will and divine will, of perception and reality, there comes the realization of the oneness of relative and absolute. There is no duality, no distinction, no separation. Truth itself, the concept of truth, has no meaning in the experience of oneness.
Is there more to learn, to know, to experience? Yes. Beyond all these levels of existence, beyond the perfect understanding of Oneness, there is the recognition of Plurality. We're each unique. While we're all connected, we're also all separate. And there's no need to fear that uniqueness. And here, Absolute Truth evaporates, leaving only the distinct and relative truth of each of us. That relative truth changes with our moods, our thoughts, our new experiences, our wills. All truth, in the perfect understanding of reality, is relative.