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What is Truth?

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

Whatever sets you free

Sunrise viewed through towering trees.
Sunrise at Evergreen. Truth, like light, is never far away. Photo by author.

Do your thoughts make you feel trapped? What can you do about it?

The recorded words of Christ in John 8:32 are often quoted in books, frequently shouted from pulpits, but seldom understood:

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

The trouble is that truth is a tricky topic. We all have our own version of it.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines truth as: the body of real things, events, and facts. These would include things, events or facts like the world spins, Roger Bannister broke a world record in 1954 by running a mile in less than four minutes, and I have freckles.

But these truths don’t set me – or anyone else – free. So, what was Christ talking about?

What he was referring to fits under a further definition of truth in Merriam-Webster: often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality.

Ah! Truth with a capital ‘T’. I don’t think the fact that I have freckles deserves to fit under this banner. That’s a mere fact. There’s nothing transcendent or spiritual about it.

So, Christ was talking about transcendent fundamental realities that set us free.

Free from what?

To be set free, we must be experiencing some form of imprisonment. It could be a physical prison with bars, bed, bucket, and burly guard with an iron key. But because we’re discussing transcendent, fundamental, or spiritual reality, what we usually need to be set free from is a mental prison – of our own making.

The people Christ was talking to had beliefs that prevented them from experiencing a sense of freedom - every moment of every day.

This spiritual teacher was saying that if what you believe doesn’t set you free, then it’s not Truth.

Transcendent truths are bigger than you and me. They're not petty, divisive, or destructive to yourself or others.

If you’re feeling imprisoned or limited by a thought you keep thinking, or a belief you insist on clinging to, just let it go. Replace it with a transcendent reality, a transcendent truth, and you will be set free.


I’m a failure. Replace with: I am an expression of the consciousness of the universe.

My mother never loved me. Replace with: I can express love today.

The world is a scary place. Replace with: I will focus on this moment.

I’m going to die. Replace with: Nothing of value is ever lost.

The initial thoughts are questionable and imprison you. The replacing thoughts are beyond question and set you free. They touch on transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality.

In closing, a funny quote about truth from that witty writer Mark Twain. It’s not a transcendent Truth, but it’s worth remembering in this age of instant information that people can make the mistake of labeling as Truth.

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

With love, Marlane

Addendum: I can hear people whispering that ‘I’m going to die’ isn’t questionable. This is true. We all die. What is questionable is the definition we give to the word ‘die’. It’s the definition that imprisons us. Just remember: Nothing of value is ever lost.

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