Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Staring Down The Barrel of Truth

A former student once described me as a "buddha with a shotgun."

Excuse me?

"You enlighten gunpoint," she explained.

I couldn't help but laugh at her description. She's always had a way with words.

"Seriously," she said, "you make us see things in new ways. You rip off our blinders, you tell us like it is, you make us face things about ourselves and life that we would never consider. I sit in class and wonder what bullets of truth you're gonna shoot our way. It's scary at times, but I love it."

That was probably the best compliment, or criticism, I've ever received from a student. The image of a gun-toting buddha, though, seemed paradoxical. The more I thought about that image, the more I thought about truth and how it comes to us.

Sometimes truth comes gently to us, on the soft sound of sandaled feet, at which we sit and listen and learn.

And sometimes it comes like a shot...BOOM...jolting us from our stagnation into a new state of awareness.

We are either ready for it, or we are not.

No matter how truth comes, once it is revealed to us, then we are left with the question of what to do with it.

Some people will integrate the truths they learn into their lives to live more fully and authentically, while others will simply shrug their shoulders or walk away in denial.

Some may even use the truth to hurt others; they may use it to justify their need to gossip or talk negatively about others, twisting truth for their own selfish gain.

And others may not know what to do with truth; they may let it incubate for awhile until they figure out what to do. Some will go on to test the truth.

Sometimes truth is not always the truth. This doesn't mean it's a lie. It just means that what is true for one person may not be true for another. Discernment is key here.

Truth can be scary. It can be challenging. It can be downright painful at times. It takes courage to wake up to it. It means pulling our head out of the butt of our ego and doing something to help or better ourselves.

Whatever the case, no matter how truth comes to us, we must learn to respect it. We must take responsibility for it. We must learn from it, no matter how ugly it may appear. We must address it with care, with maturity, and with humility. Sometimes we will accept it; sometimes we will reject it. Sometimes we will learn from it; sometimes we will hide from it. Our state of readiness will determine how we'll deal with it.

What are your thoughts about truth? How does truth come to you? How do you handle truth when it comes?


The biggest blur in life is the fact of our mortality. Death is one of those truths in life that strikes fear in many people. Looking death in the eye, or even thinking about it, is not easy for some, but it's inevitable. We tend to think of death as some grand abstraction. The poem I want you to read brings it into a more concrete perspective.

Consider that every year, we celebrate the day of our birth. But have you considered that during this past year you have passed over the very day that will turn out to be the anniversary of your death? Think about that. Brings shudders, doesn't it? What day comes to mind?

Read the poem "For the Anniversary of my Death" by W.S. Merwin (click here).  Note your thoughts, feelings, and responses.

Sometimes it takes the realization of our mortality to wake us up into living a fuller life. What will it take for you to begin living a fuller life, and to being living your truth?

Related Posts:

Read the introduction of 31 Days of Spiritual Growth here, and find links to all posts in this series.


  1. Hi Penny!

    I have a very healthy relationship with death as I believe death is a transference of energy which is forever "eternal" so the thought of death doesn't frighten me or make me uncomfortable.

    I don’t know why I was put on this earth, but I do know one thing – I’m intended to be here. I’m intended to change, I’m intended to grow and I’m intended to evolve.

    I’m here to learn from my mistakes, grow through my pain, and be transformed into something more honest, more courageous, more gentle, more peaceful, more dignified and more loving.

    For some reason, speaking my heart and telling my truth is an important part of my transformation process and I’m learning more about myself everyday.

    That's my whole truth and I'm sticking to it!! :)

    Thank you for another amazing day in spiritunities!
    Love and Light

    1. That is wonderful to hear, Gena. You have a healthy attitude about death and life. I, too, see death as a transference of energy; we shed these physical shells that house our spiritual selves so that our Light can be freed up for higher purposes. I am not uncomfortable around it.

      It's all an evolution process for us. Some of us embrace it; some of us don't. But the ones who do, end up living their lives fully and authentically, and it sure sounds like that is what you are doing. Amen to that.

      You are one of those Lights that people need in the world, so I'd say you are living your purpose.


  2. Truth does shock some people. The actual date of ones death does shake me to the bone.
    My cousin was digonose with sercoma cancer. He passed away at 43. It has sat in me and to appreciate life tons more. Its a shame that knowing his death would have left this thought of my own death n making everyday a gift n b grateful...

    1. Truth is a strange animal. How we approach it and deal with it is our choosing. Other people's truths will not be our truths, and so we must seek and honor our own truth, whatever that may be. Truth is subjective and wars have been started over what is the REAL truth, if there is such a thing. When we get past all the judgment and subjectivism, what we will find is Love.

      It sounds like your cousin's death hit "home" for you and made you face your own mortality. That's not a bad thing. If it opens the doors to living fully and authentically, then we should be grateful.


  3. I find seeing the truth about myself the hardest thing to do. I think I'm being authentic, but then I'll be shown something to show that actually I'm not. If I don't happen to spot that straight away then with hindsight I can see it has appeared over and over until in the end it's like being hit by a speeding train. Oh, yes, got it now, thanks. A couple of years ago I made a commitment to myself to be honest and truthful about what I said and felt both to myself and others. I thought it would be really easy...ha ha! It's both easy and hard at the same time, but being truthful, for me, has brought its own freedom which I love. I can feel myself expanding and it's perfect. Death, the final truth, is so hard for many of us to face and explore. I like the thought that it is a transition, not necessarily so final as we may think, as mentioned in a couple of comments on another blog. I find that very comforting. Great post (again); looking forward to the next installment!

    1. Hi Andrea!
      Seeing the truth about ourselves can be tough, depending on what that truth is. Accepting it can be even harder. But, like you said, once we face it, there is a freedom in it that allows us to go forward into our authenticity, and it's a freedom that is priceless, no matter what may be happening around us at the time.
      Death is one of those truths that reminds us to live our fullest in this plane of existence. And when it comes time to unzip ourselves ourselves out of these human suits, then we will unite with all the other Beings of Light who have gone on before us. Their Energy is waiting for us and is always around us.
      Blessings, my friend.