THE QUEST by James H. Cousins
They said: ‘She dwelleth in some place apart,
Immortal Truth, within whose eyes
Who looks may find the secret of the skies
And healing for life’s smart!’
I sought Her in loud caverns underground,–
On heights where lightnings flashed and fell;
I scaled high Heaven; I stormed the gates of Hell,
But Her I never found
Till thro’ the tumults of my Quest I caught
A whisper: ‘Here, within thy heart,
I dwell; for I am thou: behold, thou art
The Seeker–and the Sought.’
Our species is unique in the animal kingdom for our ability in and insistence upon substituting fleeting opinion for the Immortal Truth in virtually every area of function. If we are in fact the highest form of life on earth, it makes sense, then, that the body of humanity could potentially provide a connecting link between that which is above and that which is below.
Exactly what is above us is the subject of much interest and inquiry. It is clear that we as a species are the top of the earthly food chain and that we yield considerable influence over the rest of earthly creation, but the claim that there are none higher in all of the universe is myopic and at risk of being disproved in much the same way as the proponents of geocentrism were not long ago.
Most of the arguably simplistic notions about who (singular or plural) sits above us germinate in the minds of the religiously inclined. A God or gods exert their influence and communicate His, Her or their will from an invisible, yet ubiquitous realm through a mysterious intervening medium. Different elements of this matrix are highlighted whether you live in the East or the West, for example, and the differing perspectives clash whenever the differences are weighted more heavily than the underlying commonalities. Unfortunately, the opinion-laden structural beams of the world’s great religions prevent them from bearing the weight of truth in all its aspects.
I am reminded this morning of a powerful phrase I learned years ago: “That which divides also connects.” If man sits between his Creator and the rest of earthly creation, then he both divides one from the other and has the potential ability to connect them, as a go-between. He is, in this sense, either a link or a missing link.
If there is to be integrity of the whole, the thread of truth must weave its way from the top of the pattern to the outermost edges. Whenever the thread of truth is broken by false beliefs, rigidly held opinions or prejudices of any type, a hole develops in the fabric. As with any article of clothing, the holes grow larger over time. The holes initially mar the aesthetic appeal and eventually diminish the utility of the garment. So it is with the fabric of truth that divides and connects all things.
I do not possess sufficient faith to believe those who say that the truth is a human construct. The truth is, regardless of what we think of it for the moment or what we collectively deem it to be. Its essence is the subject of both religious and scientific inquiry, and it is increasingly obvious to me that knowledge of the truth comes more through revealing it from within outward than it does by collecting, classifying and preserving samples of it in the form of scientific knowledge or religious beliefs.
Occasionally someone comes along who darns the holes in the fabric and restores the integrity of the fabric to its original pattern. Such individuals polarize those whose compass is declined by falsehoods to the magnetic north of human deviation and reenergize those who genuinely seek the truth. They tend to be put on pedestals, pedestals which transform into chopping blocks when the truth that is brought rubs those who have exploited the holes the wrong way.
Each and every person on earth has the responsibility and the privilege of coming to know the truth for him or herself. The truth is one and as such, there is no “your truth” or “my truth.” The truth, as I’ve said, is.
The two most important questions facing anyone who sojourns on this earth for any amount of time are these:
1. Are you willing to quest for the truth, above all things?
2. Once you’ve found it, are you sufficiently courageous to admit that you have?