What is a relative truth relative to?

Any story has only a relative truth. It has limited and temporary validity only, and there is also a grain of truth in each of its reversals.

And it is relative for several different reasons.

First, stories differentiate within the seamless whole of the world, which means that any segment only exists relative to something else. Here is relative to there. False relative to true. Life to death.

The appearance of anything distinct is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to a boundary and something on the other side of the boundary.

Then, there is a grain of truth in each of the reversals of any story. The appearance of limited truth of any story happens when we recognize the grain of truth in its reversals as well. We recognize the relative relationship between the initial story and its reversals, and the grain of truth in each of them.

And if we ignore this, trying to put all truth into one story and remove truth from its reversals, then that appearance too is dependent on the relative relationship between the initial story and its reversals.

When I see the grain of truth in each of the reversals, I may find that I appear as a separate self, but when I look, I also find that this sense of separate self only comes from an image, a thought, and is not inherent in what arises. There is a grain of truth in both. Or, I lie, and I can find that in my life. Sometimes I lie blatantly, and even if I try to be honest, what comes out of my mouth is a lie because it is a limited truth.

Or, if I take I am honest as an absolute truth, then that truth can only appear because there is no truth in its reversal, I lie.

The appearance of a limited or absolute truth in any story is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to, its reversals.

Also, any story has a grain of truth only as related to a set of other stories. It is dependent on a particular context of other stories to have even this grain of truth. And it is when we switch this context of other stories that we can see the grain of truth in its reversals.

I lie. Yes, I can find a set of stories that says that – in memories of times when I did, and even here now because any storytelling, any use of words, is really a lie. It leaves out a great deal, simplifies horribly independent of how complex it is, and splits the world when the world itself is not split.

I am honest. Yes, I can find that too, in another set of stories. Even if I blatantly lie in some situations, there are many other situations where I am quite honest. And here now, I try to use stories that honestly reflect my experiences, as much as possible. I try to be true to what appears as true to me here and now.

The appearance of truth in any story is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to, a set of supporting stories.

And finally, a relative truth only exists because there is an absolute truth. It is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to an absolute truth.

Relative truth is what arises filtered through stories, whether these are recognized as only stories or not. And the absolute is this field of awake void and form, recognized as awakeness itself. And in real life, both go together very well.

Awake void and form is inherently absent of and untouched by any stories, including the one of I and Other, whether it recognizes itself as awakeness or not. And the overlay of stories, whether taken as just stories or not, is essential for this human self to function in the world.

The appearance of a relative truth is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to an absolute truth. And the relative truth arises due to, from and within the absolute, so is dependent on it that way too.
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Knitted wolf


I dreamt about a wolf which looked very real, but turned out to be a knitted wolf, made of yarn. This is another analogy similar to the traditional one of a snake being revealed as a rope.

In the beginning, it appears very real, as a vicious and dangerous animal of flesh and blood. Then, it is revealed as just a knitted animal, or a rope.

Some ways to explore the vicious animal…

  • Being with whatever we are experiencing, in a wholehearted and heartfelt way. By doing this, which in my experience feels like a gentle and soft docking, the content of experience changes. When resisted, emotions for instance seem very real, solid, substantial, and clearly definable as fear, anger, grief, and so on. But when there is a soft docking and a heartfelt being with whatever is there, it changes, often into a sense of fullness and sweetness that is not easily definable. The bloodthirsty wolf is revealed as a cute knitted wolf.
  • Labeling the sense fields, and differentiating them clearly in our own experience. In this way, we see what is there in each of them, and how they combine to create appearances of gestalts which are solid and real in themselves. For instance, when the components of fear are not differentiated, fear appears very much solid and real. But when it is clearly seen as just sensations and a story about these sensations, the gestalt becomes transparent, ephemeral and may even dissolve.
  • Inquiry into beliefs is another way to get to know the vicious animal. When there is a friction between our stories about what is and what should be, it inevitably gives rise to various emotions such as fear, anger and so on, and if we try to squash (awareness of) it, then maybe depression. Again, the gestalt of beliefs and emotions seem very real, very substantial, in the beginning. But when we investigate the story, we see how attaching to it as true creates the gestalt, we see the clarity and spaciousness when there is no attachment to it, and also find the grain of truth in its reversals. All of this invites the attachment to the belief to release, revealing the wolf as only a knitted animal.

This dream image may have come up since I delved into some new layers of beliefs and fears before falling asleep last night, again seeing how they appear as real and dangerous when resisted, but are revealed as something quite different when there is a heartfelt being with of whatever is there.

Stories added to sensations

I notice an unusual sensation in the stomach, and I see how different stories can be added to it.

One is of it as a sense of dread or uneasiness about my life or the world, which then creates that mood and atmosphere. Another is of having eaten an unusual combination of foods which made my stomach unsettled.

If I don’t pay attention, the first story surfaces, and other stories may be added to it to support the sense of uneasiness about my life or the world. And there is no lack of secondary stories which may support it and justify it.

If I pay a little more attention to what is going on, I see that it is far more likely that the sensation is coming from an unusual combination of foods. It is physical, and expected considering what I have been eating.

And if I look even closer, I see that either of these are simply a sensation + a story, a sensation with a story added to it.

Not seeing it, the sensation + story conglomerate seems very real… there is really an upset stomach there, or an uneasiness about the world. The sensations give a sense of substance to the story. Seeing it more clearly, the conglomerate falls into its components… simply sensations and a story, living their separate and distinct lives.

Looking at how the sense of substance is created, I see that it goes both ways: the story adds a sense of substance and reality to the sensations (holding them in place, solidifying them) and the sensations gives a sense of substance and reality to the stories (lending their own quality of substance to the stories).