This morning as I bicycled down Mission Street, across the big intersection with Van Ness, the following words from my Buddhist teacher Gil Fronsdal came to me through my iPod headphones. I felt a simple pleasant feeling of clarity and peace open up in my chest and belly as I listened to them, and I hope that you feel some of the same in reading them:
So what is it to be a “true person”? One of the simplest definitions of what is “Truth” (and perhaps pointing to the “truth that will set you free”) is that we are being truthful when we do what we say and we say what we do. We can tell the truth at least to ourselves, and maybe even to others too. Living in truth, there is a harmony between our words and our actions. Buddhists would go one step further, and say that truth is expressed when there is a harmony between our “beingness”, what we really are, with what we say and what we do – in a sense, when they are the same.
I associate truth with peace; for me, there’s an association of being truthful and being peaceful. Being truthful helps overcome the conflicts that we carry in our minds, in our psyche. Being truthful means living without internal conflicts – not having to hide, be apologetic, be embarrassed, be defensive, or be aggressive in a weird way. Instead, we are simply able to rest in the truth, to speak the truth, and know that the truth in itself is adequate and enough.