Less than a month after I launched this blog (in March of 2006), I was standing under a hot shower one morning when out of the blue the thought “the truth shall set you free” suddenly popped into my head. What does it mean, I wondered. The expression was so familiar and yet, I had no idea who said it, or in what context it was used.
As soon as I got out of the shower, a little internet research led me to an expression attributed to Jesus… which immediately gave me the chills.
(To understand why, you need to know that Jesus materialized in a room with me back in March of 1984. To say the least, that was an incredible, life-altering experience! Also, 20 years later, I was cruelly deceived by a spirit being who pretended to be Jesus. Essentially, a life-altering experience of an entirely different kind!)
Now, here was the internet reference I found regarding the statement, “the truth shall set you free”:
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV John 8:31)
Here were my initial thoughts upon reading that:
Hold to my teaching? Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free? What teaching? What truth? Free from what?
First of all, I need to say that the answers I am giving today, in October of 2011, are not the same answers that came to me that day in 2006. Because in 2006, once I discovered the source of that expression, I didn’t have a clear idea what it meant. Nevertheless, this is the understanding I have today: (And, by the way, feel free to accept whatever resonates for you, and disregard anything that doesn’t.)
The definition of “the truth”
It is my understanding that Jesus was not referring to the act of speaking the truth, nor was he referring to who did what to whom, and when, why and how, but immutable, universal truth — the truth concerning the nature of God, humanity, existence, and purpose.
The definition of “disciples”
It is my understanding that whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, or an adherent of any religion, spiritual faith, or not, if you look within your heart for answers, and you do so with sincerity, trust, and patience, and are prepared to follow and practice that which you discover with that same sincerity, trust, and patience — and, of course, everything you do, you do with respect, compassion, and acceptance for yourself and all others — then, you will be following the teachings of Jesus whether you know it, intend it, or not.
That said, now that these two definitions are out of the way, what will the disciples of Jesus be set free from?
I believe that Jesus was telling us that all human beings are meant to be free, and was suggesting that most of us are not. Even today, in our so-called modern world, the majority of us live in some form of bondage or servitude, with most of us not even realizing it. Of course, until you look within, and wake up to this truth, you will never truly be free. And, even when you do wake up, you will still likely have a unique journey of transformation and awakening to go through before true, lasting freedom is achieved.
In the meantime, most of us choose to ignore the fact that we are born into a socioeconomic system that demands and exploits our labor, and promotes and encourages our debt — basically, a system of unbridled servitude. In other words, you may think you’re free because in many cases you can say that you made the choices that placed you in the circumstances that you now find yourself. But look within, and you can’t help but see that the choices you made (and continue to make) can hardly be described as the choices of a free individual or an individual raised and governed in alignment with the principles of equality, respect, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance — all fundamental tenets of Christ’s teachings, and all foundational principles of true lasting freedom. Thus, you see, we call ourselves free, but our freedom actually comes with many limitations and restrictions.
In summary, the world is not what it seems, and our lives are not what they seem. Once you discover this, more and more, you will be guided from within to make new choices and new determinations that move you in the direction of greater personal freedom. While this happens, you will also find that it becomes increasingly uncomfortable to accept the terms and conditions of the status quo. This is the nature of the truth that Jesus taught. And freedom — true lasting unencumbered freedom — is the inevitable consequence of our individual and collective actions as more and more of us look within and follow our heart, and live and breathe in alignment with this truth.
UPDATE: May 24, 2014:
A more refined definition of “freedom”
Back in 2011 (when I originally wrote the post above), I hadn’t yet realized something. Namely, while society continues to exert more and more control over the life of its citizens, and thus, restricts freedom in more and more ways, awakening fully within such a society inexorably leads to an essential form of freedom nonetheless — the freedom of heart and mind — the true and lasting freedom that one achieves when the illusion of separation is shattered by the truth of oneness, when unconscious behaviors give way to mindfulness, when confusion and uncertainty are replaced by an unwavering clarity born of the remembrance of one’s true path and purpose. You see, when we awaken into alignment with All That Is, and begin to allow ourselves to be led by our inner compass, our divine spark, and our authenticity, a profound freedom is gained — a freedom that defies all temporal circumstances, all learned behavior, conditioning, and all pressures to conform in any way. And, this freedom, naturally, becomes the living expression of every breath, thought, word, and deed.
That said, more than anything else, I now believe that this was the “freedom” that Jesus was speaking of when he said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
UPDATE: December 18, 2014:
A more refined definition of “the truth”
You know the expression, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?” Well, this is one case that defies that adage.
Standing in the shower this morning — interesting how this post began in the shower 8 and a half years ago — it all came full circle when it suddenly occurred to me what the truth is that shall set you free. Are you ready for this? Not only is my answer extremely simple, but Jesus gave me this information more than 30 years ago when he miraculously materialized in a room with me. Why it took so long to make this connection, I have no idea. Nevertheless, here it is:
No matter what, and without exception:
We are Loved;
We are Cared For;
We are Respected;
We are Forgiven;
We are Important;
We are Special.
That’s it! That’s “the truth” that shall set you free! Although, truth be told (no pun intended), there is one condition. And that condition is that true lasting freedom is achieved when all thoughts and beliefs that stand in opposition or in contradiction to this “truth” are relinquished. Meaning, beliefs such as I am not good enough, I am not smart enough, I am not beautiful enough, I am not talented enough, I am not rich enough, I am not worthy, I am not ready, I am not… (fill in the blank)… these false beliefs stand in opposition to our freedom. You see, the fact that we are loved and cared for not only assures that our best interests are always weighed and considered, it also assures that everything we will ever need to find and do to create a rewarding, fulfilling, purpose-filled life is already within us. That said, the process of relinquishing all ingrained thoughts and beliefs that contradict or oppose the “truth” (the process of “disentanglement” as my guides refer to it), will differ for each of us. Nevertheless, the first step is the same for everyone: align all thoughts and beliefs with the truth. After that, everything we will ever need in order to manifest our highest life path and purpose (the life intended) will fall into place at our own pace, in divine right timing, and in accordance with our diligence and ability to stay in alignment with the truth.
Now, about that part of us that lies within — the divine spark, or “divine seed” as I call it for the purposes of this illustration. This seed is a unique piece of God that we are all born with, that waits patiently within for the perfect conditions to sprout and grow into a beautiful fruit-bearing tree. And, what are those perfect conditions? Once again, perfect conditions begin to develop the moment we remember the “truth” that we are all loved, cared for, respected, forgiven, important and special.
Of course, it’s possible that our seed might sprout and grow in less than perfect conditions. In other words, it’s possible to water and nurture our seed before we consciously remember the truth that sets us free. In such circumstances, we might even grow some fruit. However, until we consciously align with the truth, our yield will pale in comparison with that which occurs once our divine seed is planted within the fertile soil of an unsullied, truth-aligned heart and mind.
Just remember, you are always loved, cared for, respected, forgiven, special, and important no matter what you do or don’t do, no matter what you believe or don’t believe. You are a sovereign, divine, eternal being. In other words, there is no such thing as too late, too old, or failure — only experience to be gained, and lessons to be learned — whether you know the truth and are set free, or not.
Blessings to you all.