“One man does not assert the truth which he knows, because he feels himself bound to the people with whom he is engaged; another, because the truth might deprive him of the profitable position by which he maintains his family; a third, because he desires to attain reputation and authority, and then use them in the service of mankind; a fourth, because he does not wish to destroy old sacred traditions; a fifth, because he has no desire to offend people; a sixth, because the expression of the truth would arouse persecution, and disturb the excellent social activity to which he has devoted himself.
One serves as emperor, king, minister, government functionary, or soldier, and assures himself and others that the deviation from truth indispensable to his condition is redeemed by the good he does. Another, who fulfils the duties of a spiritual pastor, does not in the depths of his soul believe all he teaches, but permits the deviation from truth in view of the good he does. A third instructs men by means of literature, and notwithstanding the silence he must observe with regard to the whole truth, in order not to stir up the government and society against himself, has no doubt as to the good he does. A fourth struggles resolutely with the existing order as revolutionist or anarchist, and is quite assured that the aims he pursues are so beneficial that the neglect of the truth, or even of the falsehood, by silence, indispensable to the success of his activity, does not destroy the utility of his work.
In order that the conditions of a life contrary to the consciousness of humanity should change and be replaced by one which is in accord with it, the outworn public opinion must be superseded by a new and living one. And in order that the old outworn opinion should yield its place to the new living one, all who are conscious of the new requirements of existence should openly express them. And yet all those who are conscious of these new requirements, one in the name of one thing, and one in the name of another, not only pass them over in silence, but both by word and deed attest their exact opposites.” – Leo Tolstoy
Many people treat the expression of truth like they do their diets, justifying their more or less constant cheating with a day or maybe just a meal of eating right. This leaves them feeling unhealthy, guilty and unhappy. When it comes to the expression of truth, the revelation of the divine spark within us, it’s an all or nothing affair.
History shows us what happens when we compromise on this point. The world becomes a painfully unpredictable and treacherous place, filled with insecure people trying to prove their worth and their point. Were our world peopled by those who swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, we would finally rid ourselves of war, discord and judgment, for the truth is never in conflict with itself.
Consider this: if anything is more important to you than your solidarity with truth, it will be. When you break ranks with the truth, your life － no matter how pleased you are with the temporary gratification produced by the indulgence － will suffer, no matter how good you’ve been lately!
If you resonate with this message, but wonder where to start, begin as Tolstoy suggests with those areas in your expression which you know to be diametrically opposed to what you know needs to be expressed in a new way. Don’t hold back. The world needs to hear you; you need to hear you.
Photo by Marcus Winkler on Unsplash