How do we find reality or the truth? In a world full of religions, philosophies and mystery schools, there seem to be numerous opinions on what reality is. How can we know which of these is the right one? How can we discover truth for ourselves?
All schools offer some insight
Each of the religions, philosophies and mystery schools offer valuable lessons if you study them thoroughly. Lessons, that help you be a genuine person, that help you to answer some of the very questions of life. Nowadays however it seems like many of the original teachings have been lost and have been replaced by some of the practitioners perspectives.
That’s why most of these schools provide you with somewhat distorted answers. What they teach as the ultimate truth is in fact but a perspective. And although each of them claim to be so different from the others, they do talk about the same thing – unity.
Go beyond and find out for yourself
It is easy to follow these concepts, for they provide you with answers and free you of the burden of search. But if you are earnestly seeking, you have to go beyond that and find out for yourself.
It is reasonable to be a healthy sceptic about the concepts introduced to you and to reflect upon them based on your own experience. You still want to remain open though, to let in some of the new knowledge, which in its essence is still there. But you shouldn’t just follow blindly.
Your heart can be a good indicator in feeling what might be true and what not, or what might be true and beneficial for your individual path.
The Vedic way
In the quest of gaining a deeper understanding, I found the Vedic way, which to me offers a very practical approach. The Veda is a compendium of ancient texts stemming from the Indus Valley Culture, describing life itself. It is magnificently structured in that it explains the whole creation in just a letter “A” and then unfolds itself into various books and branches (one of them being Ayurveda).
In the Veda the approach to discover reality consists of three different aspects: direct experience, understanding and validation. Each of these steps are crucial in finding reality.
Most of the schools of thoughts can provide us with understanding and validation. They explain to you what man is and how the world came to be. The Christian teachings might be more appealing to you than the muslim teachings or vice versa. Each of them have reasonable perspectives, that can help you in the quest of gaining a deeper understanding. In your study you may also find many overlaps, pinpointing to a common foundation that predates each of the current religions.
They can also provide you with a sort of validation, stemming from holy scriptures and from the experiences of saints, prophets and the illumined.
But in most of these schools there is one thing missing, which might be the most important of these three. It is the direct experience. Only the direct experience will provide you with a knowingness, that something actually exists.
They can tell you all day long about the God, the universe or the transcendent, the field of underlying unity in all the diversity. But words can never begin to describe what these are. They are beyond intellectual understanding. Only direct experience can show it to you. Until you have had that experience, everything will remain a concept, just words. They might be plausible and appealing words, but they remain words.
Direct experience, understanding and validation will lead you
Whatever school of thought you find appealing, you should find a way to validate their teachings for yourself. They should come along with rituals or techniques, that allow a direct experience. If they cannot provide you with that, you may want to try something else.
Once you have these direct experiences, combined with an understanding and a validation of what happened, you have gained a tool that allows you to discover reality for yourself, irrespective of what others tell you. This is the way to “the truth”.