I had a very interesting conversation with a student this weekend about the nature of truth and of being “right.” The student needed to know how to interact with the people around him.
To sum it up, the question was how to, “Be right without having to rub it other people’s faces, and how to make them KNOW you’re right.”
The simple answer of course is that any need to make someone else know you are correct simply for the sake of it is ego inflation.
Truth is in no need of defenders… it simply is.
If what you’re saying is actually “truth,” all it needs is rational eyes and minds to perceive it. The truth doesn’t need your help.
Convincing someone of the truth…
We all have those things that we’re passionate about. I want you all to meditate daily, for instance. Even in that, even though I am 100% confident that it would improve your life in ways you cannot imagine, it can’t be forced.
Have you ever been on the other end of someone trying to convince you that their opinion is truth? I have. I’ve gotten and discarded so much good advice in my younger years that I couldn’t appreciate until years later. The fact is: I wasn’t ready.
Don’t force truth
This principle holds true across all aspects of your life. Have you ever, with good intentions, tried to make someone give up a bad habit? Smoking. Drinking. Partying.
Or, have you tried to make them take up something good like meditation or working out or eating better? You can have all of the best arguments in the world and if he or she doesn’t WANT to do it, those arguments will fall flat.
Often times, belaboring the point will only make them dig their heels in deeper and then you’ve got no chance.
There’s an old saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” The point is that the greatest teacher in the world is useless when faced when an unwilling pupil. Sometimes, it has to be enough to focus on your own path and allow others to come around in their own time and at their own pace.
If you are as right as you believe you are, they’ll be able to see it eventually. Conversely, if you try to force your beliefs or points of view on others, you run the risk of them completely closing the door forever.
What about our loved ones? What if they need to see the truth?
But what about when you love someone and you want the best for them and you KNOW you’re right? It’s possibly even more important in those instances not to push. You should have no concern for being “right”.
Think about this: If two people love each other, if they value each other, there should never be a time when either seeks to “win” an argument. In order for me to win, you have to lose. In order for you to win, I have to lose. The loser will feel badly about themselves and I’d question the true motives of the “winner” who took too much joy in this.
What should truth look like?
All discussion and debate should be for a better understanding of each other’s points of view. We should never seek to beat someone’s ideologies into the ground for the temporary satisfaction of a fleeting victory.
You will forget it, but the loser will not.
They may never forget how you made them feel. Sometimes, it’s best to think about how emotionally inexpensive it can be for you to let something go as opposed to the tremendous cost that your partner will feel at having suffered a hurtful loss.
We should pour our energies into our own centers
Don’t worry about being right. Worry about your own spiritual development and people will come around when they’re ready. You should do right for right’s sake. It is completely unnecessary to “rub it in people’s face,” even though it sometimes can feel good.
Remember that we are all on our own path to self-discovery, self-improvement, and enlightenment. Focus there. Pour your energies into finding your own center. Don’t be concerned with berating others.
Buddha said, “three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
Others will see. Encourage them when they’re ready, but be careful about forcing them when they’re not. When that urge boils up, take a deep breath and go within. Meditate.
Find peace in your own knowledge and be the person you are meant to be.