Searching for truth is the most difficult thing in the world. That may be the reason why such a few persons are engaged in it. The prevailing myths for telling untruths are: 1. Nobody tells the truth, or everybody tells lies 2. One cannot get ahead or succeed in life without telling a few lies, and 3. It is alright to tell harmless or white lies. It is important to respond to these myths: 1. If nobody tells the truth, this very statement is true or false; if it is true, there is at least that much truth; if the statement is false, then persons do tell truth. 2. One can get ahead or succeed in life in the long run without telling lies or seriously compromising one’s integrity; when you compromise your integrity you are not there anymore. If you are used to telling lies to get your ways, start telling the truth to experience the spiritual and emotional joy and satisfaction you get. Of course if your conscience has become dull and insensitive, then you may have to retrain your conscience to reach the desirable level of sensitivity to experience peace and satisfaction. 3. There are no such things as harmless lies; any lie that we say dulls our conscience, and renders us less and less capable of making the right kind of discernment that is necessary for our ultimate purpose and goal in life, that is, freedom from all kinds of bondage. That is why Christ so emphatically said that only truth can set us free. It is also very relevant to remember what Mark Twain, a great author and humorist once said: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”.
It is very difficult to live in a materialistic, consumerist world without being tainted by it. Here I am reminded of the story of the Rich Fool told by Christ. Warning against one’s greed, he said that a man’s life is not made secure by what one owns even one has more than one needs. To illustrate this point he spoke of a rich man having a good harvest from his land. The rich man built big storage bins to put his grains and other goods to save them for many years to eat, drink, and be merry knowing little that he would die that very night. The story is not against judicious saving but against hoarding, unwillingness to share, and inordinate attachment to things. Not telling what needs to be told truthfully in a detached way and keeping in mind also the interest of the persons told to at the time it needs to be told is detrimental to the physical, emotional, and spiritual welfare of all concerned. Telling what persons need to hear and not what they want or like to hear requires a strong and assertive personality that keeps depression and other emotional problems away. Getting systematic and irrefutable facts, which means not getting caught up in gossips or rumours, is essential for a searcher after truth who also deals with people. Truth is often inconvenient but that alone can save.