All Perspectives Are True

September 7, 2015

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is how you see the world is totally accurate. The bad news is that also applies for every single person you’ve ever met.

All perspectives are true, but they are not the whole truth. In fact, the whole truth may be so magnificent and vast that it’s impossible for us to understand.

There is a story of blind men and an elephant that illustrates this. I’ll tell one version of it, since it’s been used in different forms for hundreds of years.

A number of blind men came to an elephant. Somebody told them that it was an elephant. The blind men asked, ‘What is the elephant like?’ and they began to touch its body. One of them said: ‘It is like a pillar.’ This blind man had only touched its leg. Another man said, ‘The elephant is like a husking basket.’ This person had only touched its ears. Similarly, he who touched its trunk or its belly talked of it differently. In the same way, he who has seen anything or anyone in a particular way limits his perspective to that alone and thinks that it is only that.

Do you believe the teachings of a certain religion? A teacher? A book? Three principles about life?

What about those experiences of seeing God, the oneness of life or being nothing? What about the “truth” that gets revealed through peak experiences such as Ayauasca or deep meditation?

What if what you believe is true is just a leg of the elephant? What if the perspective you’ve been preaching about, evangelizing and shouting from the rooftops is just as valid as everything else?

Even this article is not true, it’s just a perspective, and it may not even be my perspective, because as soon as I hit “publish”, the words no longer represent who I am in this moment.

Born Again, and Again…

This is how we approach life, we are convinced that our perspective is the truth and that other people are wrong (including ourselves in the past). Then our beliefs change, and we are convinced that our new perspective is true.

We go from dogma to dogma, religion to religion, theory to theory, guru to guru thinking we will find the one perspective that is an absolute truth. This is a hopeless search, because perspectives are always partially true and partially false, that is the nature of perspective.

How do we break free of all this?

Freedom comes from holding your beliefs loosely, by letting them come and go and doing that for others as well. Peace of mind is possible when someone offers a different perspective than you, and you don’t oppose them because you understand that they are also right.

Fighting over perspectives becomes as ridiculous as fighting over flavors of ice cream.

Internally, there are benefits as well. There is relief in realizing you will never find one perspective that is absolutely true because you become less desperate to find truth.

You stop hopelessly grasping, and instead focus more on relaxing and enjoying life.

Nothing is true.

Everything is permitted.


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