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When you just can’t feel the truth

I recently realized something that I think has really been holding me back. Maybe you can identify with it.

When I try to practice the truth, to remind myself what is really true, often my mind can’t really go there. I might remind myself, for instance, that another person is really the holy Son of God. But when I try to really connect with that idea, I find that I can’t. What I see in front of me is not perfect the Son of God, but a highly fallible and limited human being inhabiting a body. What I see is a body misbehaving. And at that moment, the real truth about that person just seems beyond my reach. However true it may be, I can’t feel it.

I think that’s fair enough. It has to be OK because it is inevitably going to happen some of the time. But then what I do, I think, is a key error. In the back of my mind, I decide, “Even though that person is a Son of God, all I can get myself to really feel right now is that he’s a fallible human. That leaves me no choice but to act as if he is a fallible human. On a practical level, that is the only truth that is available to me right now. It’s not the real truth, but right now in my imperfection, it’s my truth.”

That, I think, is the error. The truth and my erroneous perception have “fought” to a standoff, so to speak, and then I have sided with my error. That can’t be right.

The only sensible option is to say, “Whether I can feel that this person is a Son of God right now or not is ultimately irrelevant. The truth is still the truth, whether I see it or not. My inability to see it changes absolutely nothing. And standing firm with that right now will bring closer the time when I do see it.” In this way, I side with the truth even when I’m not feeling it.

This is obviously the only reasonable option. The problem with it is that it leaves me in the discomfort of feeling consciously torn between a truth I don’t feel and a lie I do. I think we naturally resist the discomfort of that “torn between two worlds” feeling. But I think living with that discomfort has go to be better than living with the lie and acting like it’s true, which, of course, entails discomfort of its own.