We can tend to have great confidence in our truth systems. Are they really as localized and tribal as to create a skewed view of reality? Doesn’t religion, science, phycology, biology, and the like actually speak to real truth about the real world? These systems are of value, and do help in our pursuit of truth and a good "seeing" of the world, but they are not systems of truth in and of themselves. They are systems of organizing data.
The term “science” actually means to organize information into categories. Therefore, the “science” of any field is merely the accepted facts about that particular field. But facts and data don’t equal truth. Truth is something else. Truth is what we do with those facts in order to create meaning.
To say that my wife’s hair is red is a biological fact. To say she is beautiful to me because of that red hair is a self-referential truth. To say she has intrinsic value regardless the color of her hair is actual truth. Using science to prove scientific facts is fine. Using science to say, for example, that the Arian race is more “pure” than the Jewish race is using science as a truth system, and thus arriving at the wrong truth.
Truth systems are different than fields of science. Science presents raw data. It is simply “seeing” the world that is, but not seeing it for all it is. To see the world for all it is we must see the world through the eyes of God, because we must understand the innate purpose and meaning of the world. When we understand the data, but not the meaning, then we do not truly understand the world. When we do not understand the world, then we will abuse it.
I know that a tree is a tree, but if I do not know that a tree is also the energy of God expressing itself through beauty, then I may only see a tree I can cut down and use for my own purposes. When I do not understand the meaning of the tree according to God, I will give it my own meaning, and end up using it with no consideration for what it means apart from me. This is the paradigm of subject to object instead of subject to subject, or an "I-it" verses an “I-Thou” relationship. A subject to object, or “I-It” relationship is one where I am the subject and all else is just an “it” object I can use for my own purposes. But when I allow all other things the same status as myself (subject to subject and “I-Thou”), I elevate all things to a place of equal value to myself. When I allow all things an intrinsic dignity as bestowed from outside of me, then I must submit to a value and meaning higher than what I could give all things. And that is how surrender is the remedy to the distortion of self-autonomy.
As a thinking, feeling, creative human being, I have a choice. I can approach the world self-referentially, and only allow for the meaning I give to all things, including myself. Or, I can choose to surrender to a meaning that exists entirely outside myself, which even defines me. To give a self-referential meaning to all things is to destroy them. It will even destroy me. If I cannot see a value in anything except that which I give it, I will eventually destroy everything by attempting to bend it to a purpose for which it was not made. This is how we destroy ourselves. This is how we destroy the world. When I cannot understand how the world could be something apart from me, then I will only understand it as something for me, and I will think all things should be or become what I want. Then I will never be able to know, experience, or value anything in and of itself, for its own sake. Everything will literally become only what I want it to be, and thus I will destroy whatever it was apart from me, and everything exists apart from me. Nothing, in fact, exists for me. I exist as a part of all things, and even for all things. This is a hard and humbling truth to accept.
The ego-centric self will not easily accept this. I am never the center of anything. Self-centeredness is self-delusion, and the source of our greatest unhappiness, because it rests our claim of happiness on the need for all things to be what makes me happy, instead of finding true happiness in enjoying things for what they are apart from me. Nothing in the universe exists for my happiness. Happiness is understanding how all things exist for each other, to fulfill each other by simply being what they are. So, to be happy, I must understand how I exist to bring joy to others, which will also in turn bring joy to me. This is why the goal of personal transformation is selflessness. To pursue self-fulfillment as the goal would be self-centered, which would defeat the purpose.
But isn't fulfillment the goal?
It is, but chasing fulfillment won’t get you there. It will leave you back where you started, simply out to get everything for yourself, as unhappily self-centered as ever. A "me"-centered universe is a lonely place. Only those who have learned how to step out of a self-referential orientation are on the way to learning how to enter the flow of connectedness with the God . It is only through this connection that we begin to find the joy of belonging to all things, as all things also then belong to us in a new way.
This is what surrender is about.
As I open up and surrender to God, the things of God also open up and surrender to me. But as I attempt to control all things for my own selfish purpose, I lose all things in that pursuit, including myself.
Jesus once said it like this; “the meek shall inherit the earth.”
Do you begin to see how surrender is the key that unlocks the door, as I gain all things by no longer trying to get them? It reminds me of that scene in the first Harry Potter book, where Quirinus Quirrell was trying to get the sorcerer’s stone which Dumbledore trapped in the Mirror of Erised. He saw the stone in the mirror, but could not take hold of it, and couldn't figure out why. Harry, on the other hand, was able to get the stone out of the mirror, but only because he did not want it. That is also how we are able to take hold of the world in a whole new way, by giving it up to get it.
There is a dangerous desperation created by the need to define our own truth, not only because we have to make it, but because we have to keep reinforcing its place in the world. We must produce and solidify it, or it will not continue to exist. We literally have to learn how to fight for our truth, which also pits us against everyone else fighting for their truth, which creates a great conflict in the world. War, abuse, and oppression abound when this is our mode of truth. Human born truth systems create conflict. That’s why the two greatest sources of all human misery in the world are religion and government. For these people will kill and die. But truth that is real and right produces life, not death. When we enter the flow of a truth beyond ourselves, it does not have to be established or maintained by us, and therefore we do not have to fight to create or keep it. This is the truth of God. This is the human soul coming into contact with true reality. It grounds us in something much bigger, and so much beyond ourselves, that we know and see it as something we never could control. It is only something we can choose to resist or surrender to. And when we choose to surrender to the truth that is God, it brings us peace. Truth that is real and right anchors us to that which requires nothing from us, and allows us to settle down into an energy that brings freedom from the conflict created by self-autonomy.