Embracing the Sweet Truth

“Sometimes speech is used as a weapon. When speech is used as a weapon, you take truths, and structure and sculpt those truths into a blade that makes you different to whatever it is you’re describing. This is not communication. This is weaponized speech.”

Thom Knoles

“The truth hurts!”… or so we’re often told. Many of us have no problem being truthful, even if the recipient gets hurt in the process.

After all, isn’t honesty the best policy?

On the other end of the spectrum, for those who have difficulty telling the harsh truth, a “white lie” can often be a compelling and justifiable alternative.

In this episode, Thom argues the case for something in between—the sweet truth—not only because it has a more unifying effect, but because the “truth” itself, isn’t as black and white as we like to think it to be.

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Episode Highlights


The Idea of Sweet Truth



Dressing Up Truth



The Absolute Truth



The Only Truth: Unified Field of Consciousness



Trotaka’s Story



Temporal Nature of Truth



Absolute Truth Without Cruel Truth



Embrace Sweet Truth With Meditation


Jai Guru Deva


Embracing the Sweet Truth

In my course, which all of you can take by simply applying to take it, the course entitled The Power of Speech.

[00:59] The Idea of Sweet Truth

I mentioned that meditators should, while favoring truth, favor the sweet truth.

And sometimes people ask me the question, does that mean it gives you permission to lie? And that’s not actually the same idea. The idea is to be able, whenever required, to describe what’s there, but to describe it in ways that are relevant socially.

So let me give you an example, and this is an example that comes, by the way, from the Srimad Bhagavatam Mahapurana, one of the great texts of the Veda, written by Veda Vyasa, describing various scenes and scenarios which are supposed to be illustrative of different states of consciousness at play. But I’m going to just borrow the story holus-bolus and change it into a modern context.

And so someone who has a very clear intellect. A scientific mind. Let’s make this person into a professor of medicine and particularly a specialist in the subject of anatomy and physiology, someone who knows what is behind the skin, what is behind the fascia, what is behind the muscle tissue. Someone who has dissected hundreds of times cadavers, human bodies that have died for whatever circumstance, either through “natural” causes or through accidents, and so on, people who’ve donated their bodies to science.

[02:55] Dressing Up Truth

And this physiology professor, anatomist, and so on who knows absolutely everything about the human body and all of its forms and functions sees you come walking into the room and says to you, expressing nothing but truth, “Oh, here comes yet another disgusting bag of skin, filled with fascia, muscles, blood, pus, urine, feces, bile, and all kinds of disgusting things to have to smell.

“Because I’ve opened bodies many times and seen that. Dressed, as I can see, to cover up all of that in your wonderful autumn clothing, which might make you think for a moment that I don’t know what you actually are, you bag of skin. What can I do for you?”

Now, here’s an example of someone telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. From a particular perspective, that’s what another human and the human’s body is.

Is there nothing more than that? A disgusting bag of skin filled with bones and pus and feces and slime and all kinds of things that you wouldn’t want to have to look at, but the anatomist cuts open those bodies several times a day and peers straight into it and smells it all so he knows exactly what your body’s made of.

[04:35] The Absolute Truth

How helpful is it for someone to tell you the total truth? Is it a lie when you walk into the room wearing your little red beret that you got from Paris, with a beautiful matching scarf around your neck, with your hair brushed into a beautiful, smooth style, with a lovely pin made of turquoise stuck in your hair, with fine silk fashion hanging from your graceful shoulders.

With a skirt that drops just to your knee, made of the finest Scottish wool, woven so delightfully. And on your two feet, the finest shoes imaginable. Can we stop there? Are we just going to look at the clothing?

What about the personality? The witty, clever, smiling, intelligent, perceptive, knowledgeable personality residing in that bag of skin.

And so, where do we want to stop with the truth? Basically, truth needs to have its limits, doesn’t it? Is truth absolute? No truth is absolute, except one truth, and that is the truth of The Absolute itself, which is able to be true because The Absolute itself, the underlying unmanifest field, never changes.

Only that which is never changing is true. Anything that changes is only temporarily true. Temporal truth is truth with a lowercase t. It’s, what’s the weather? Well, look outside. Take a snapshot. It won’t be the same in 15 minutes, or 20, or in 10 days, or in 6 months.

So whatever you say, whatever comes out of your mouth is a truth that’s going to last for, what, minutes, maybe an hour?

[06:57] The Only Truth: Unified Field of Consciousness

What is the truth of a thing? Ultimately, there’s only one truth. One indivisible, whole consciousness field, the Unified Field of Consciousness. But we can’t relate on that level.

“Hello, Unified Field of Consciousness. I’m very pleased to meet you because you’re not nothing but my own Self. Now, let’s sit down and do business.” And the person who’s coming to meet you basically all they wanted to do was to deliver the FedEx box, and here you are sitting in your chair addressing them as your own very Self, the Unified Field just like me.

And what happens, the FedEx delivery man just drops the box and runs away for his life because they think genuinely they’ve met an insane person.

What is the relevance of communicating? To communicate means “comm” with “une”: commune means to experience unity with somebody or something.

What is it that’s going to create unity? Is the truth of everything going to communicate unity? Bags of skin, pus, feces, and bile? Or is watching the way that somebody’s taken trouble to dress themselves and the extent to which they have shown you their willingness to interact with you at a level that is scintillating to your consciousness.

This is what we mean by sweet truth.

[08:44] Trotaka’s Story

When Maharishi had to describe one of the disciples of the great Shankara. Shankara, Lord Shiva incarnate, as they say. A mighty intellect. The man whose name was given to the entire Vedic tradition of masters, including all those who came before him, are now considered to be members of the Shankaracharya tradition, even though he was one of the last members of that tradition in the early history of It.

Shankara had a disciple by the name of Trotaka. And Trotaka, by some descriptions, was a simpleton, someone with far below average intelligence, someone who was intellectually compromised and incapacitated and had to be guided through the simplest tasks, but who was indeed in possession of a very heightened and developed sense of devotion, even though, in the desire to apply his devotion, very often he required guidance because of the lack of discernment and differentiation.

And his behavior, though he was a young man of about 18 or 19, his behavior, though lovable, was nonetheless something that brought a knowing smile to the lips of the other disciples of Shankara, by whom Trotaka was surrounded on a daily basis.

And they were smiles of, isn’t it cute? He’s so stupid. But Shankara, when he described Trotaka to someone, said the following words, that his virtues were not limited to those of someone who is possessed of cerebral virtues. He was not limited by possession of cerebral virtues. This is sweet truth.

[11:10] Temporal Nature of Truth

You could say Trotaka was a dummy, or stupid, or intellectually inept. You could use epithet, and it would be true. Or, you could describe him in ways that allowed for and guided the mind in the direction of appreciation of his finer virtues, his finer values.

Now, historically, it’s also a fact that Trotaka, upon gaining the highest consciousness state, transcended his intellectual incapacities and turned out to be one of the most eloquent of the masters of our tradition.

That’s a different story. Which basically just shows that limitations need not be defining forever. Again, truth is temporal, or temporary, unless we’re talking about The Absolute, which can only be The Absolute Truth, capital T, because it’s unmanifest, because it’s non changing, because it is the source of everything, though itself not capable of change. It’s the source of change.

Anything that’s changing, anything that is in the relative world, anything that is a form or a phenomenon, is not able to be defined by words that remain true for very long. Anything you say about it is not true after a relatively short period of time. So we are left with, what kind of truth would we like to compose?

And when given such a choice, it’s considered to be extremely helpful to our evolution and the evolution of others that we don’t present limitations on someone’s behavior and capability by using limited truth.

[13:15] Absolute Truth Without Cruel Truth

Limited truth could have another way of phrasing it: cruel truth. It’s possible to speak with Absolute Truth and be nothing but cruel. You see what I mean?

And it’s also possible to allow truth to be there on your lips but to have in it the potential for growth, for expansion, and for a description of virtues that are more relevant socially than simply the cruel truths that you could compose by using truth as a weapon.

You see, language, although it is a candidate for communication, is not on its own necessarily communing; comm with union, uni. Union. Communion, Communing, Communicating.

Speech doesn’t always achieve it. Sometimes, speech is used as a weapon. When speech is used as a weapon, you take truths, and you structure and sculpt those truths into a blade that makes you different to whatever it is you’re describing.

Something that divides is not communing. This is not communication. This is weaponized speech. Speech that underlines and underscores the difference between the Knower and the Known. That kind of speech is the speech that helps to create ignorance.

And it’s not communication because it hasn’t done any union with, it hasn’t done any commune. Only speech which is structured in such a way as to sculpt truth into something that can create empathy, something that can create a sense of oneness between the Knower and the Known. Only that is true communication.

[15:41] Embrace Sweet Truth With Meditation

So speech, though it is a candidate for communication, doesn’t always communicate. Sometimes, it divides. The way to cause speech to become a means whereby communing happens, communication, is to lean into sweet truth.

Let’s find that which structures the experience of unity rather than finding that that divides us and you know, makes somebody have to feel big at the expense of somebody else feeling small.

Sweet truth is the habit of the Vedic meditator. We find spontaneously that, as we practice Vedic Meditation, morning and evening, as we settle down into that least-excited state of Unified Field value, it’s natural that it begins to have an impact on our thinking and on our speech. And one of those impacts is that sweet truth tends to dominate in the speech of the meditator, not cruel truth. And may it ever be so.

Jai Guru Deva. 

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