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  • Writer's pictureLeo Lobbestael

The Presence Lab: The Illusion of Truth.

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

They say there are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth.

Nothing is as it appears. It appears that if we study things objectively, like a scientist, we will come to one firm conclusion. However, this formulation of truth, though not always wrong, can be misleading. It goes against what I call “The Law of Multiplicity.” This law states that nothing is a singular event, no vision or experience is just that thing on its own; it also contains everything else that exists. From my perspective this is reality because all things are intricately connected, and as a result, “Truth” is multilayered and multifaceted.

In my experience, all life has a voice to share in the thing we call "truth". If we are going to look at truth, or label something as "The Truth" to me it is important to distinguish between conceptual or apparent truth and ultimate truth. Apparent or conceptual truths are all the efforts made to understand life through science, language, and religion. Conceptual truth although not “wrong” is filtered through the thinking part of the mind and creates concepts with definitions and boxes and theories and explanations of the world and who we are. This sort of truth comes from observing the world from the outside, not by turning inward and exploring ourselves. This sort of truth is good and necessary in terms of the maintenance and evolution of procedures, practices, and rules needed for living in the modern world. Yet this form of truth, as I see it, is filled with illusion. These conceptual efforts to understand ultimate truth are equal to a Rumi poem, that reaches up to give concept and identity to the divine or to love.

Ultimate truth, on the other hand, is not conceptual. It is a recognition of our multiplicity, unity or "oneness" and is universal and grounded in the here and now. In this way, they come from a universal intelligence and only can be observed from inside oneself. We must dissolve into the ultimate truth and experience it for ourselves rather than be taught it.

Staying connected with ultimate truth, or making efforts at joining with it, reminds us of our connection, our multiplicity, our suffering, our joy, and our impermanence.

Truth to me is a wakeful conversation. In this conversation, attentive listening is crucial. As in any good conversation with a friend, a good listener understands us and allows us to be alive in the way that is fully us. When we listen for truth, we listen from the inside. We do not fall asleep halfway through a story being shared, we listen attentively through to the end. Always, Listening to things happening in our body and our emotional life, as well as listening to mystery, that space that we do not know anything about. Listening in a subtle generous way as we would to a good friend or a child; with compassion and love. Truth allows there to be a conversation between the voices of everything that has life. Every cell with each other, symbiotically.

At an ultimate level, we sit without words in silence and only touch that something, and when that happens I believe we are embracing our true selves or some might say: "their spirit". Only when we have touched this place inside are we then humbled, as we listen deeply to the teaching. This sort of teaching I am talking about, which comes from listening inside ourselves, is not anything conceptual. There won’t be more boxes placed around our identity just an opportunity for openness, kindness, compassion, and empathy.


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My work is grounded in empathy, compassion, neuroscience and ancient wisdom traditions.

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