"Truth is what stands the test of experience." -Albert Einstein
The second Landmark of Truth is factuality, which means "conforming to reality." Factuality provides a balance point to the truth of the heart, or the inner reality, with the external state or conditions. A Visionmaker balances the heart's truth and direct observation of the external reality to ensure they are in alignment.
When the heart's truth and objective observation line up, Visionmakers have access to seeing with depth and clarity. If they do not, we have an important clue that something is amiss and that there is a need for due diligence.
The external reality is the domain of objective observation. So much of vision is clouded by opinions, assumptions and assessments that it can be difficult to discern truth from falsehood. It is important to move past these perceptual barriers. Curiosity, objectivity and testing are three practices that help Visionmakers see truth.
Curiosity is "the strong desire to know or learn something." It is the means by which we probe and explore the frontiers of knowledge. Curiosity is especially important in the discernment of truth because it allows us to penetrate what is veiled or superficial. Questions are the vehicle on which our curiosity travels; questions carry us deeper and deeper into the heart of what matters.
Objectivity is the freedom to look at the facts without being unduly influenced by our desires or opinions. This is the terrain of every good scientist and jurist. Visionmakers learn to engage this capacity by holding the creative tension between belief and disbelief long enough for the truth to emerge to visibility. This is an act of mastery-to suspend one's automatic desire to believe or disbelieve. This capacity creates an aperture in which the truth can unfold.
Testing is a procedure taken to check the quality or reliability of a conclusion. To many times we accept something at face value without bringing our own critical faculties to bear on the matter. This is laziness and lacks intellectual curiosity on our part. Visionmakers do their homework. As the Buddha is reported to have said:
"Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true."
Factuality keeps vision grounded and realistic. We do not fall prey to what we want to see, believe we see, or are told to see. We use the gifts of curiosity, objectivity and testing to see what is so. In doing this Visionmakers catch a glimpse of the unseen.
© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.