You who look for the justification of the light, are you prepared to encounter such exposure as the general unveiling of things must bring? Are you willing for the truth, whatever it be? I nowise mean to ask, have you a conscience so void of offence, have you a heart so pure and clean, that you fear no fullest exposure of what is in you to the gaze of men and angels? As to God, he knows it all now! What I mean to ask is, do you so love the truth and the right that you welcome, or at least submit willingly to the idea of an exposure of what in you is yet unknown to yourself—an exposure that may redound to the glory of the truth by making you ashamed and humble? It may be, for instance, that you were wrong in regard to those who you thought did wrong to you: will you welcome any discovery, even if it work for the excuse of others, that will make you more true, by revealing what in you was false? Are you willing to be made glad that you were wrong when you thought others were wrong? If you can with such submission face the revelation of things hid, then you are of the truth, and need not be afraid; for, whatever comes, it will only make you more true and humble and pure. The glory of the true world is, that there is nothing in it that needs to be covered, while ever and ever there will be things uncovered.
by Diane Adams
Ego, shadow self, false self--there are many ways to call the part of man that needs the approval of others in order to feel significant. The ego, I have noticed, is never more vulnerable than when an ego-driven person is engaged in an argument with another. Sparks fly, insults abound. Words become weapons used to destroy the opposer. The ego fears that to be found wrong is to be less than another, debased and counted as ‘inferior’, so it goes into ultra-defense mode. It has no interest in the truth of a matter under discussion, only in positioning itself for a ‘win’.
Jesus said, ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ A desire for truth is not something we are born with, something that some people have arbitrarily which others were denied. In order to know truth, the ego must be set aside. This is an act of the will. It is impossible to approach any sort of information with a desire to be right and a desire for truth both at once. One or the other will must give way.
It’s easy to be self-deceived about our own motives for engaging in conflict with others. Only at the point where, by decision, truth becomes the ultimate goal of being is it possible to become aware of the ego’s need to be ‘right’ and to counteract this desire with a higher purpose. If a person pursues truth in his interactions with others, arguments will generally not escalate in the first place. The truth-seeker will recognize ego in another, just as he will recognize fellow truth-seekers.
The role of the ego is to defend, excuse and justify the self, at any cost. The mind bent on learning truth, gaining understanding and wisdom, cannot coexist with the ego. The mind that is searching for truth is no longer afraid of exposure to others because it is not concerned with the perceptions of people as a means to its value. Truth has become its value. This mind has found its higher purpose, and as a result begins to look forward to seeing its flaws exposed as means to mend rather than hide them. The guilt or shame of dark deeds and desires no longer rules because the cycle of ego-protective defense has been broken and replaced with a desire to know what is true above anything else. The truth does indeed set us free.