I was thinking about definitions of truth this morning and how sometimes we have a limited understanding of words and what they mean. It’s been helpful for me in defining words and their actual meaning, and then combining words that are equal to create a fuller picture of a principle or truth.
It’s spring and that time of year that new beginnings abound. New growth, new life, new light … renewal. With all of the renewal in nature, and how it surrounds us and witnesses to us of truth … I have been thinking a lot about what truth actually IS. What DOES it mean when people talk about Jesus Christ and the atonement? Easter was just a little bit ago … how can I better understand what that means to me?
atone = to reconcile, to redeem
redeem = to restore
restore = to bring back to or put back into a former or original state : renew
reconcile = to restore to harmony
harmony = internal calm, tranquility
tranquility = the state of being free from agitation of mind or spirit
free = relief from burden
relief = the lightening of oppression
oppression = the sense of being weighed down in body and mind
atonement = lightness of body and mind : relief from burden : tranquility, calmness, harmony
Atone comes to us from the combination in Middle English of at and on, the latter of which is an old variant of one. Together they meant “in harmony.” (In current English, we use at one with a similar suggestion of harmony in such phrases as “at one with nature.”) When it first entered English, atone meant “to reconcile and suggested the restoration of a peaceful and harmonious state between people or groups.”
All of these words work together to create a “picture” of what truth is. Together they can help us describe and understand the meaning. Each additional word adds another level of clarity or understanding. When they’re all together applied … the fullness of the meaning and understanding can truly shine light on truth and our beliefs.
Life is about experiencing. You could read as many books as you want, and learn as much as you can, but if you don’t experience something you cannot say that you know it. You can only say that you believe in it. Knowledge comes through experience only.
Let’s say that I have never tasted ice cream. I have a desire to taste it though, because I’ve heard that it’s delicious. So I read as many books as I can about what ice cream is, what it tastes like and how you make it. I talk to people and hear about their experiences with ice cream. I read books with people’s first hand accounts of their experiences with ice cream. But I’ve never had ice cream, I can’t say I know what ice cream is. I can believe in what it is because I’ve read all about it … I can believe that it’s cold and creamy and sweet … but if I’ve never tasted it, I don’t KNOW that it’s those things. I’m only taking someone else’s word for it. So for me it’s just a belief, not knowledge.
Knowledge comes through eating ice cream … experiencing the ice cream. That first bite of ice cream serves as a witness to all that I’ve read and seen about ice cream. It says to me, “OH! YES! Ice cream is cold and creamy and sweet and delicious.” When I experience it, THEN it is knowledge within me. Until then, it’s a belief. And it CAN be a certain belief … enough books, and other people witnessing of it can add to the strength of my belief in ice cream, but it is NOT knowledge for ME until I have experienced it for myself.
Truth is this way. It is a belief until it is experienced, at which point it is knowledge. All things are received in this same way. All things. They are just belief of another’s experience until YOU have the experience, and then and only then are they knowledge within you. I must receive it for myself … or I don’t have it. It is individual. It is and always will be up to each person to receive knowledge for themselves.
I can read and study and learn and believe … all of that is good and IS my part. But until I experience it and receive knowledge of it through seeing it and witnessing of it … it’s just a belief. Belief is good and beautiful, but it is not knowledge. Knowledge comes and when it does it’s like that “clicking” into place, that harmony and restoration of tranquility and peace. It comes and it’s an “AH!!! THIS is what it is. YES! I get it now!”
Sometimes we don’t even know we don’t know, and we have an experience and then we realize we only had a belief and the knowledge is so much clearer, and purer, and lighter and more expanding than we imagined.
Act in faith on your beliefs. Make them part of your paradigm, believing on them and that they’re truth until you experience for yourself the truth, at which point your beliefs will be knowledge within you. Only you can do this … no one else can give you their knowledge … it’s like the 10 virgins from the Bible … if they didn’t have their own lamp oil, they weren’t prepared. Each person much receive individually.
If you have not received experience of your beliefs, continue on in expanding in understanding and acting in faith until you DO know. When knowledge comes, you will see a light and have an “AHA!” that you didn’t have before. It will feel like a renewal. It will be that “atonement = lightness of body and mind : relief from burden : tranquility, calmness, harmony” spot that I talked about up there ^^. It will feel like peace.
Just as all of nature witnesses to a continual process of renewal and rebirth, we too have that opportunity in our own lives to continually receive new knowledge and be redeemed to truth. I have found an incredible amount of the harmony that is available in restoration and experience of truth. It is amazing the amount of peace that comes in witnessing for yourself what truth is. Very worth continuing on in your beliefs until you too receive the knowledge for yourself.
It is a remembering. It is a restoration … that means it is restoring to an original state … the truth is part of you. You aren’t receiving something new that you aren’t connected to … you are remembering who you are, you are remembering what is already within you, you are restoring the truth through experiencing it and bringing back the knowledge you’ve always had.
Tranquility and peace IS present in the knowledge. You will receive ever expanding joy as you connect to that space within you that is truth. It is like new growth in the spring … full of hope and joy and witness to life. It is relieving. It is joyful. And it is available to ALL to receive.