The relationship between horse and rider is sacred. Each must adapt what is natural in movement and balance to accommodate the other. Watch a riderless horse in a turn, for instance, and you may see him transfer weight to his inside legs, leaning into the turn and twisting himself to counterbalance the centripetal and centrifugal forces that come with the change in direction. A well-trained horse with a knowledgeable rider, however, maintains his rhythm, latitudinal and longitudinal balances and moves with lightness while lifting his rider high.
As the elusive and delicate balances are approached in any one of the gaits, resistance builds, signifying progress toward the ideal. Just on the other side of the resistance lies a unity that comes only with careful preparation and deliberate execution. The turbulence is a positive sign, not something to fret about, struggle against or cry over, and every good rider knows to hold steady through the rise and fall of resistance.
The experience of truth is much the same. As you approach, tension mounts, placing strain on the ties that bind you to untruths, misapprehensions and faulty logic. If you react to the increasing demand from truth’s call to precision, you will fail. Throw your head, buck and rear and you only place yourself farther from the state of union with the truth that you seek. Relax into the understanding while giving more than you ever thought possible, on the other hand, and you will move quickly past the point of resistance to the point of union with the aspect of truth at hand.
William George Jordan offered a compelling description of truth in his book “The Power of Truth, Individual Problems and Possibilities”:
What is the truth? Truth is the rock foundation of every great character. It is loyalty to the right as we see it; it is courageous living of our lives in harmony with our ideals; it is always—power.
Truth ever defies full definition. Like electricity is can only be explained by noting its manifestation. It is the compass of the soul, the guardian of conscience, the final touchstone of right. Truth is the revelation of the ideal; but it is also an inspiration to realize that ideal, a constant impulse to live it.
Truth is the only substance strong enough to penetrate the armor of human nature. Humanity is the loyal subject of human nature, fearing it, seeking to control it, yet inevitably succumbing to its wiles and creature comforts. Only a handful of our forefathers managed to overcome its gravitational pull, yet oddly enough those who escaped and pointed to the exits were at first reviled by the very prisoners who seek release and then removed, often violently, from the scene.
Rational thought would question such an conflict-ridden approach, but rationalization quickly seals off the exit doors, blocking out the light which shines brightly from the inside out. The mind strong-arms the heart, whispering “better to be in familiar darkness than to risk seeing that you’ve been deceived when the lights come on.”
What is now normal is not necessarily natural. Human nature has become what it now is over time and gives evidence of the wear and tear of living just beyond the borders of truth in the world of unreality. Any time that border is crossed, the light of truth reveals the lies and misconceptions for what they are. You may feel a fool or wish you could have realized the truth of the matter earlier, but hold steady and the embarrassment and shame are quickly healed by the warmth and comfort of new-found understanding.
Now matter how unfair, confusing or harsh the world may be, you were born to be a companion of the truth, to know its sweetness and to revel in as well as magnify its beauty. How, you may ask, do you come to know the truth? Jordan notes four practical points of connection:
The power of Truth, in its highest, purest, and most exalted phases, stands squarely of four basic lines of relations,—the love of truth, the search for truth, faith in truth, and work for truth.
The love of Truth is the cultivated hunger for it in itself and for itself, without any thought of what it may cost, what sacrifices it may entail, what theories or beliefs of a life-time may be laid desolate. In its supreme phase, this attitude of life is rare, but unless one can begin to put himself into harmony with this view, the individual will only creep in truth, which he might walk bravely. With the love of truth, the individual scorns to do a mean thing, no matter what be the gain, even if the whole world. He would not sacrifice the sanction of his own high standard for any gain, he would not willingly deflect the needle of his thought and act from the true North, as he knows it, by the slightest possible variation. He himself would know of the deflection—that would be enough. What matters it what the world thinks if he have his own disapproval?
Oddly enough, the closer you come to knowing and revealing the truth, the more likely it is that you will be reviled by men who, cloaked in the tattered rags of human nature, are jealous, fearful that their compromises might be brought to light or ashamed for having left the truth somewhere along the way.
The turbulence is inevitable but imminently penetrable. The examples of those who made it through stand as a testament to its possibility and as a constant, nagging reminder of its necessity.
What lies at the root of human nature today? A belief in imperfection. A conviction in the primacy of selfish concern and self-interest. The idea that we live in a “dog-eat-dog” world, that “might makes right,” that ingratitude and cruelty must be repaid in kind and that humility and kindness are signs of weakness. “Nobody’s perfect” is the slogan of all who subscribe to human nature and anyone who dares to reveal the truth is quickly chopped down and placed before the exit doors as a warning to all who dare leave the state ruled by the great usurper, human nature.