I started this post several days ago – in what now seems like a galaxy far away – with something different in mind. My title is paraphrases a question asked by Zen priest, Edward Espe Brown, at a retreat in 2011: “What is your innermost request?”
In the context of the retreat, I took his question to mean, “What is the deepest desire at the deepest core of your being?” The word, “request,” implies not just desire, need, want, but something akin to prayer. What do we want our lives to be about? What would it take , when our time comes to leave this world, to exit with a sense of peace, victory, satisfaction?
I mean the same kind of thing with, “innermost truth.” Not just beliefs, ideas, concepts, deductions, or any of the contents of consciousness, for they inevitably change. How many beliefs, ideas, concepts, and so on do you hold from this time a year ago, let alone 10 years ago, 20, or from childhood? What do you know more deeply than emotion and reason both? Jack Kornfield, in A Path With Heart described this as something you know so deeply that if Buddha and Jesus both said, “You’re wrong,” you would answer, “I am not!”
It’s not an easy question, and there is no simple answer, but it has never been more essential to look to our truths, try to clarify and hold them close over time.
Knowing what we truly believe is an anchor, a center, a “know thyself” tactic at a time when the new president and his minions are trying to normalize lies as “alternate facts.”
The day will come when telling “a Spicer” is a synonym for “telling a whopper,” but until that happens, we need to guard our sense of right and wrong, true and false, as the greatest safeguards we have against the fascist administration that now occupies the White House.