Step Two: Know the Truth
What Does "Know the Truth" Mean?
This step doesn't require that you achieve some philosophical epiphany about All Truth Everywhere. It simply means that you must be able to consciously acknowledge what is happening to you, and what is happening within you—your life circumstances and the thoughts and feelings you have that relate to those life circumstances.
There are many aspects of the truth we hide from ourselves, because they would make us uncomfortable or necessitate change. Hidden truth actually cements negative situations in place. At the moment we finally own our truth, almost miraculously, positive change begins. The truth really does set us free. That's why an alcoholic begins recovery the moment he or she says, "I'm an alcoholic." It's also why your life can only begin to work well if you acknowledge that some of your efforts are failing, or that you simply don't feel good about them.
Obstacles to Knowing the Truth
It's peculiar that we can hide from truths we already know, yet we do it every day. You may tell others you feel "fine" (in fact, you may think it's true), when you're actually tired, sad or angry. You may pretend to be comfortable in an uncomfortable situation in order to make social interactions run more smoothly. Or you may "go blind" to someone's immoral or cruel behavior because you desperately want to believe that person is wholly good. Most of all, you may hide from the truth because once it's out in the open, it will cause your life to change. That's always scary—but spoken truths always cause change that is positive in the long run, even if it's frightening at first. Opening up about your anger toward someone who abused you, about your fear of aging, about the fact that your child is an addict, etc., etc., is the only way to conquer fear and begin healing everything that may be wounded in your life.
How to Know the Truth
Once you've reached a place of inner stillness, get a pencil and paper and finish these statements:
- What I really don't want to know is that...
- I'm avoiding looking at the fact that...
- The absolute bottom-line truth about my life is...
- The thing I'm avoiding thinking about is...
If you have no unexamined thoughts, this won't be difficult; you may find only that your sweater is too scratchy or that your father's jokes are boring. But if you've suffered any of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, you may find anger, fear or grief rising into consciousness as you dig up the raw truth. Don't be afraid of the feelings or thoughts that emerge—remain in stillness and they will soon lessen. Remember, you don't have to DO anything right now, you just have to see the truth of your life with an unsparingly honest eye.
Step Three: Feel your soul's desires