Sometimes dealing with truth can get a bit airy fairy. I’ve spent the last 2-3 years considering what tangible, concrete tools and vehicles best equip the student of life in his/her attempt to tackle many of life’s overwhelming, yet persistant questions.
In no way am I claiming the title of philosopher. I’m just someone who feels compelled to know what is going on, and to live in congruency with what I believe or understand to be true.
Despite my title as a non-philosopher/wanna be, as I continue to grow in familiarity with many of the larger questions of life, and the ways people are exploring truth, I hope to be able to still offer some insight and motivation to wrestle with these questions yourself.
Whether or not you see yourself as an armchair philosopher, or just someone who is still awake, with his/her childlike curiosity still intact, here are some of the decisions, activities, or tools that have really helped me begin this journey. Feel free to suggest the things that have helped you along the way.
We are still just beginning. Pack well.
“The unexamined life is not worth living” – Plato
Suggested Packing List
1. Life Journal
I’ve often read books on writing, and when they recommend the concept of writing a journal, some small part of me would agree with the wisdom, but still cringe at the thought of actually being consistent at this activity. And then I would imagine little books with locks on them, tucked behind some 12 year olds chest of drawer. But there really isn’t anything girlie manish about learning to articulate your thoughts. Writing is thinking clearly. And that is something that exploring truth requires.
“One should always have the book they are writing and the one they are reading with them at all times.” – ?
2. Develop A Reading List
One of the easiest ways to join this ongoing conversation of truth exploration is to read the authors who have been wrestling with many of these ultimate questions since the dawn of the printing press. For us to take this journey seriously, it would serve us to lean on those who have walked this way before. Check out the suggested reading list I just put together: 110 Books That Will Change Your Life.
Consider yourself a student of life, and your graduation date is the day you die.
3. An Appetite For True Conversation
Have conversations with people who do not share the same core beliefs as you do, and just listen to them.
Although this seems like a simple idea, I have had to intentionally make this a point of priority. This blog has certainly helped in this effort, but prior too this, it was very easy to remain in my comfort zone, where those I associated with tended to hold fairly similar ideas on most subjects. Now I find, that if I am open to it, other views sometimes are better equipped to point out my blind spots, and sometimes I can do the same for others.
Another large purpose of why this blog began was to toy with how alternative communities could be, and are formed in order to best foster safe places for people to be able to air out their deepest questions, doubts, and ideas concerning ultimate truth.
Admittedly I haven’t really focused on that topic too much. So far I have been able to have some great conversations via facebook, and the twitter extensions of this site(exploretruth.com). But ultimately I hope to move more fully into being a part of growing better venues(both online and offline) where seekers, and explores alike can enter into real conversations, and where the truth of someone else’s spiritual experience is not only superficially heard, but given its due respect, and appreciated on a deeper level.
4. The Truth of Creative Expression
The Industrial Revolution during the 18th and 19th century brought unprecedented growth to people’s income and way of life. It spurred on a creative explosion in the world of science, bringing with it much of the conveniences we take for granted today.
But it also brought with it specialization…the need for people like you and I to focus on our skills, and work very mundane jobs. Further smothering the very essence of what it means to be human – Creativity.
And being creative doesnt have to be regulated to a narrow depiction of The Fine Arts. You don’t have to mimic a mic snatching Kanye West to realize your true creative potential. The myth that some people are creative and others simply serve up our eyeballs in amazement is unfortunate. Although some are especially gifted, we all have a fundamental gift of creativity.
Any act that allows you to express the truth about who you are, will reconnect the missing link that allows our electrical life force to flow in from the source of Great Ideas and then out again, as we shine what we are learning into the dark areas of our world. The world desperately needs you to be creative.
5. Great Walking Shoes
Besides the obvious benefits that exercise brings to simply staying alive, just walking around can be the perfect mix of quiet reflection and that life extention plan you’ve been looking for. You’ll also use them for all that intentional traveling and reflection retreats you’ll need to break away to, in order to escape the hustle and bustle of distraction city.
6. Truth Serum
Ok, I’m sure this actually exist is some secret government detention center. But for our purposes, we just need to pack a healthy committment to traveling naked. The days of hiding behind our favorite myths, white lies, and walls of denial, do not serve us well on this type of journey. Plus liberating yourself from all of them extra clothes can be well…liberating.
7. Intentional Travel
Sometimes it takes being snatched out of your normal environment, to shake your attention from all of the superficial things you have so desperately wanted to trade for a much needed moment of reflection. Taking that vacation may just be what your soul is begging you for. Check out the interview I had with Brandon James as we explore the inner and outer world through travel. He is currently bicycling across the world!
8. A Sense Of Humor
Sometimes it hits me, that so much of what we take so seriously is about a few decades away from being completely irrelevant. It’s nice to be able to laugh at yourself, and just relax sometimes. It’s really not that serious. I’ve often underestimated the moments of clarity that can occur perched up on a bar stool and in the company of a good friend. Someone says something offhand, funny, you laugh…and then an epiphany hits you.
There is truth hidden between laughter.
(Need a laugh: Check out the Dave Chapelle interview on Inside The Actors Studio. He shares some interesting thoughts on life…all with the usual Chapelle antics)
There are truths that only the most introspective ones can whisper. If all the music dies, and the poets went to sleep, our world would be a darker place. We need the watchers, the seers. The wise ones who are dedicated to awakening and lending us some of their sunrises. Use the light of your fellow sojourners as you go into the dark corners of your life travels. For it is the job of the poet/musician/artist to live this truth journey out-loud. And in the end, aren’t we all seeking to know how those around us are getting through this thing we call life?
Check out a poem from Reggie Eldridge, who is a spoken word poet here in Tampa. I’ve been listening to his stuff lately, and really enjoy his insight.
10. Duck Tape & An open mind
It’s great for packing. But it’s also pefect for keeping your mouth shut. I’m not speaking freaky talk here. I’m simply stressing the importance of the art of silence…and listening. There are answers all around us, inside of us, but our lifestyles often crowd out the signals, jamming the answers we so desperately seek. Close your mouth more, and open up your ears and eyes. Duck tape just means humility. The fix-it-all for the temptation of hyper-certainty.