A Modern Mystic

Musings on life, work and contemporary spirituality

The Truth of Memoir

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Every once in a while I pick up a book that transports me directly to Truth. The book Take Me to Truth, by Nouk Sanchez and Tomas Viera, is just such a volume. I recently met Nouk and Tomas and found them to be ordinary people and extraordinarliy gifted teachers. They possess the ability to clearly articulate their own personal spiritual experiences in a way that exposes the underlying truth beneath. Appropriately, their work is about ego release and they bring a contemporary framework and sensilbility to the oldest of spiritual disciplines.

I also have a personal history with Truth. As far back as I can remember I have lain awake at night searching my thinking for answers. As a small child I trusted the universe that was accessible purely through my own contemplation. At the age of three I would wait for my younger sister to fall asleep at night so that I could luxuriate in my favorite inner dialogue which sounded like this:

“How big is the universe?”

“As big as the sky.”

“Then what is beyond the sky?”

“The sky is limitless.”

“What does this limitlessness look like? Is it square like a box, or round like a ball?”

“It can’t have a shape because then there would be something beyond it.”

In those days I always fell asleep before I came to the answer, or “final cause” as I later learned to call it when studying Aristotelian philosphy in graduate school.

Recently I have returned to thinking about what it takes to expose the Truth. As my interests have turned to writing I have begun reading while asking the questions, “What is my experience of Truth? What is my relationship with Truth? How do I recognize Truth? How is Truth different from belief? Is there such a thing as Objective Truth? Is there such a thing as shared Truth? What is the nature of Truth? How is Truth expressed? How is Truth held in the body?

Recently answers have begun to come in such an interesting way.

I am writing memoir as a spiritual discipline. Each Saturday I get together with a half dozen committed writers and we read our pages out loud. Acclaimed memoirist Jennifer Lauck moderates as we struggle through the telling of closely guarded secrets and family legends, all through a process called “on the body.”  The idea is this: get into a quiet state and see, hear, feel, taste, and smell your story. Transcribe. That’s it. And like meditation, it is surprisingly difficult.

As I have begun to get into the flow of the daily writing process, the daily process of being in my body in the present moment, I am noticing a funny thing. The most quiet places of my mind cradle the wise, innocent, inquisitive child that I am. Like time travel, my practice immediately  transports me right back to my bed as a preschooler, right back to the original project and my quest for Truth. And like that wise little child I once was, still am and have yet to become, I know that Truth is indeed found inside me, if only I have the courage to go after it.

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Author: Carrie Ure

Carrie Ure is a teacher, editor and happiness coach based in Portland, Oregon.

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