Decide to Never Let Fear Keep You from the Truth

the truth -- never let fear keep you from truth

The most significant moment of my moral life was the moment I decided to never let fear, or being offended, to keep me from considering whether something is true.

Make that commitment and your life will never be the same. It’s the moral equivalent of taking the red pill.

When you make that decision, you wake up. You start seeing with clarity you never knew was possible. The first thing you start to see is your own fear and defensiveness, how deeply rooted in you they both are, how quickly you become offended and fearful.

Once you wake up to this, you realize that you have lived your whole life trying to keep certain ideas out of your awareness because you knew they would scare, anger, offend, or otherwise upset you.

You almost immediately begin to discover that some of them are obviously and unequivocally true. This is when you realize how deeply you have participated in your own deceit.

You remember how passionately you used to believe this thing and that, how some of those beliefs may have even cost you friends, how you were willing to die on some hills that you now realize were nothing more than anthills all along.

No wonder people are often reactionary, easily offended, and difficult to talk to. The journey I have described is one of constant growth, and growth requires change, and change usually brings fear.

At least until you realize there really is nothing to fear.

You cannot realize this until you decide to vigorously, consciously, and actively seek out the truth, and not be deterred by anything.

When I say “truth” I do not mean some objective truth that can always be argued in a propositional way. I am talking about the truth of what is going on in you in any given moment of time.

“I’m offended. There’s something here I need to look into.”
“That idea scares me. Why? I need to dig into this.”
“That idea makes me mad. What am I mad about really?”

Fact: No idea or opinion, in itself, makes you mad, or offends you, or brings strong emotion. The strong emotion comes from a place in you that is terrified and/or feels deeply threatened in some way. I promise you this is the case.

Part of you thinks, “If this is true, I won’t be able to tell right from wrong any more.”

“If this is true, I won’t understand who God is anymore.”

“If this is true, I might not be able to remain a conservative/liberal anymore.”

“If this is true, everything I thought I knew about [xxx] is wrong.”

“If this is true, then my grandmother/father/teacher/pastor/accountant/mother must have been wrong. That can’t be.”

“If this is true, then what does the Bible mean in [xxx] place?”

“If this is true, what about that two years I spent raising money for [xxx]?”

“This is going to severely affect my religion.”

You hear things all the time that, if you consider them for a few moments, will require large sections of your current understanding to change. This takes time. It sometimes requires that you ask questions that are scary, uncomfortable and not easily answered.

That’s why so many people, most people, just keep getting upset and offended and thinking it’s the ideas themselves, when it’s really how much they have to lose, change, or give up if they take ideas seriously.

The problem is if an idea is true, and you don’t accept it, it really doesn’t matter why. You are living in falsehood.

Both living in truth and living in falsehood bring suffering.

In my next post, I’ll talk about why the suffering that truth brings is better.

Question: Can you think of wrong things you used to believe passionately that it took a lot of courage and honesty to admit to and change? Let me know in the Comments section, below the Subscribe box.

 

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  • steve

    nice post

    • Thanks, Steve. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      • kevin

        Very captivating article Dave. I will respond with a more detailed response after a rigid self survey of my own thoughts and feelings. I can at this time say that one cannot know what is true if he or she does not know what is false.

        • Remember, I’m not talking about propositional truth, something you can simply analyze and determine objectively if it’s true or not. I’m talking about your own subjective experience. “What is REALLY going on inside of you in this moment?” That’s the truth I’m talking about.

          • kevin

            Ok. One of my college courses was Psychology and by definition objective meant concrete and subjective meant oppinion. With that said, I will write subjectively. I never want to believe anything that is false to be true. I must have a method for measuring or judging (source) to cross reference whether or not what I believe to be true is actually true. I try not to allow my emotions to cloud my decision making; yet, I have failed to be consistent with that process. However, my ongoing self dicipline abets me to maintain clarity of what my inner core values are. I fear the idea that my mind will never be mind independant of meds again like it use to be until I was thirty-nine-years old. I’m in aghast as to how enviromental factors can affect one’s mind. My meds keep me balanced. Praise God.
            I once had a therapist instruct me to say four statements, then verbalize how I felt after stating them. I thought the simplistic statements would be easy to respond to with complete honesty. Oh how wrong I was at that time. I deceived myself when I responded. Sad I know, but true. Statement (1) I’m ok. I deviated when I said, I’m ok considering the load I carry. Statement (2) I might be ok. Statement (3) It might be ok to say I’m ok. Statement (4) Maybe it might be ok to say I’m ok. I wrestled with this assignment for two arduous weeks before I could respond with complete honesty. This therapist challenged my way of thinking and I was able to stop deceiving myself and respond with complete truth. I fear the idea that I may have falsehoods that Is unclear to me.

            • Thanks for this great comment, Kevin. I know what you mean about meds. Cymbalta saved my marriage, I’m sure, and quite possibly my life.

              I too was raised to believe objective means something that is definitely true or false and clear to everyone, and subjective means a matter of opinion. Generally this is true, but if you take it down another level, you get into something strange. What is happening inside of you at any given moment, emotionally, and in your thoughts, is clearly observable for you, but not in any way observable to anyone else. Even though it’s observable to you, you still must look very deeply to discern what is really going on, so it doesn’t seem to be clearly objective.

              That’s the level of truth I’m talking about. Your experience is subjective to me, but objective to you, in the sense that you experience it, but Freud and most other therapists would say that your thoughts and true feelings are often not immediately knowable to you.

              • kevin

                While Signond Freud was popular at one time, Keep in mind that Aaron Beck, Albert Bandura, and Eric Erikson broke away from sigmond for his eccentic theories. Maybe I didn’t understand what kind of truth you are asking of.

                • kevin

                  Also, I’m very glad that meds have served you well. You being well has a ripple affect in that others can and will benefit from you being healthy. That is awsome.
                  I know my wife, children, and others have benefited from my continuous existence. There is always room for improvement on my end. Each day God enables me to grow as a husband, father, friend and to be a more obedient child to God. In my session with my therapist I really believed that I was ok. I truly was not ok at that time and it was ok to say that I wasn’t ok. The four statements really moved my emotions and caused me to acknowledge and accept that I had embraced falsehoods which held me back from seeing the truth. I can say at that time I was very confused, angry, and, sad. I have employed a treatment plan which aids me to be more introspective of what is actually happening inside of me at a given moment.

                • kevin

                  For some reason I’m not able to view the additional comments Dave

                  • Yeah, they aren’t showing up on this end anymore either. That’s a concern. I’ll see if I can find out what’s up.

                  • I just had to rewrite my post about Freud. I will totally understand if you choose not to rewrite any of yours!

                    • kevin

                      I value your input and appreciate your feedback. Thank you Dave.

                • Dude! By no means is psychoanalysis a thing of the past. Freud’s contribution to modern psychology is massive and without him we wouldn’t have the discipline at all. Ideas still in common use that came from Freud include:

                  *Development happening in stages
                  *Defense mechanisms
                  *Life and death instincts
                  *Topographical model of consciousness (unconscous, preconscious, conscious)
                  *Structural model of consciousness (id, ego, superego)
                  *Many of his ideas about anxiety

                  There are many more!

                  • kevin

                    Very true. Freuds concepts are still prevelent and utilized amongst many therapist still to this day. However, not all of his ideas were and still not believed to be useful which is okay I presume.

                    • Oh, huge amounts of his work has been scrapped! No doubt about it.