The Truth Will Set You Free
I’ve written in general about the King of Swords before. Swords being the suit of the mind, this king is the representation of mature reasoning, right judgment and wisdom. This morning when he turned up a specific passage of scripture came to mind.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. – Romans 12:2
During my journey toward health and wholeness over the past year-and-a-half, some of the changes have been fairly dramatic, and obvious to others (even casual acquaintances). For instance, I’ve lost nearly ninety pounds. When someone asks what I’ve been doing (expecting to hear that I was on a special diet, or exercise regimen, or whatever) I always reply “I just changed my mind.”
Without question a lot of my habits, activities, diet and such have changed, but I can still quite sincerely say that changes in my mental patterns have been the motive force for all of the other changes. I was transformed by the renewing of my mind. Change the patterns and habits of attention, and everything else changes almost without effort. My friend Lynn told me “you changed your story!” And that is precisely it. I decided that “the story of my life” was just a story, and I could change it. My life did not have to be about rejection and loss and sorrow. I didn’t have to be a permanent resident on the Island of Misfit Toys. I didn’t have to be afraid to let others into my heart. I didn’t have to be afraid of being found out as the miserable fraud I feared that I was – not nearly as smart or kind or virtuous as I pretended to be. I no longer had to push people away, not wanting to be a part of any club that would accept a wretch like me as a member.
So I changed my mind. I decided to look for the truth.
The Story of Me
Krishna Das speaks sometimes about how we are all caught up in “the story of me” – how we write, produce, direct and star in this movie that we are constantly watching in our minds from morning to night. We not only star in the leading role, we play all of the roles, including all of the people we know and encounter. We interpret their actions based on who we imagine them to be in our movie. We are disappointed in them when they don’t act in the ways that we want them to act. The biggest problem in all of this is that none of it is who any of us really are. I pretend to be who I tell myself that I am. You pretend to be who you tell yourself you are, and we each agree to interact with each other based on all of this pretending.
Who we really are, of course, are spiritual beings. We are a reflection (or perhaps more precisely a manifestation) of the one perfect, secure and eternal Source of all.
The Sikhs’ ashtang mantra (which we learned from our Kundalini teacher, Chand Shiva Singh) expresses this thought powerfully and succinctly. “Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru” means “Creator and creation are one. This is the truth of who we are, the greatest and highest wisdom.”
But how do I go about changing my mind?
It’s one thing to want to change one’s story, and to accept this great wisdom (Sub Ek – “All One”) as the truth. It’s another thing to make all of that real in one’s life as a practical matter. I would not presume to tell another person how to achieve this, as it’s still something that I work on every day in my own life. For me, it is a matter of “renewing my mind” on a daily basis, day in and day out. Meditation, bhakti, scripture, prayer. Every day without exception. Slowly. Gradually. Plant the good seeds and let them grow. That’s what seems to work in my life.
The practice of chanting each day is my own current preoccupation. “Mantra” means “mind tool.” In the repetition of these sacred syllables, I draw my awareness closer to that one perfect, secure and eternal Source. I develop the habit of focusing my mind back to the heart space, where that Source is most evident. I remember who I truly am. “Sat Nam” – my true name.
St. John the Evangelist wrote “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Sat Nam. Remember our true name. The truth shall make us free. Remember. Remember.