The truth is unteachable?

This comment comment by Stephanie on my post Does anyone speak the truth? who wrote something that moved me incredibly. In particular, it was these parts from her comment that I want to highlight:

Your problem is not that God and Jesus are not there, but that you are looking in the wrong place! No, I do not mean to suggest yet another church 🙂 . I mean you already knew Him, He already provided for you many times (no, there are no coincidences…only beautiful flows and connections that He provides for us, so that we may see His hand in our lives).

Where were you when you saw Him the most? In your quiet, pained time, at night, when you were lonely and wounded. When you were sorrowed by the loss of your babies. When you were downtrodden and needed help. You did not have to say special words or go to a place to earn His love. He met you where YOU are because the whole earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. He is not going to withhold His love for you because you are not in the right building. Jesus said that they will come make their home with YOU. THEY will come to YOU and make their home with YOU.

Denominations are made by men. Religion is made by man. Faith is from God through Jesus. You have been taught to look to religion…but God wants you to look to FAITH in Him. Do not look to the face of people, look only to His face. He has the answers you seek…you are not missing “the right church”.

Do not let Christians turn you from God…we are all still learning, all still seeking, all still fail.

Your mind is battling your soul. Your mind doubts. Your soul knows. And your emotions are somewhere in between. The same battle has happened to me (though different circumstances). Sometimes even our great intellect (for I am extremely gifted too 🙂 ) stands in the way, fails to understand. But as a gifted woman, you are smart enough to know that your mind is not 100% perfect 🙂 .


I know that place of condemnation and struggle you are at, and that is not Him, not His will for you. He has so much peace (yes peace!), JOY (joy!), love, compassion, forgiveness, healing for you. These are not just words, you have seen them in your life…you know this to be true.

In the evening, I decided to spend some quiet time in my room.  I was led to pick up Siddhartha again, and finally finish the book (at any given time, I’m reading 2-3 books and sometimes it takes me a while to finish a book while other things compete for my attention).   Hermann Hesse, my favorite author of late, also grapples with the very question of truth and which doctrine to follow.   He sets off on a lifelong journey toward enlightenment and peace, trying on but ultimately rejecting many different doctrines and ways of life until he experiences the ultimate wisdom.  I know this is very applicable to me and any of us that has questions and doubts.

“Before I set off on my way again, Siddhartha, allow me one last question. Do you have a doctrine? Is there a belief or some knowledge that guides you, that helps you to live and do what is right?


“You see, my Govinda, here is one of the thoughts I have found. Wisdom can not be passed on. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to pass on, always sounds like foolishness.”

“Do you speak in jest?” Govinda asked.

“It is no jest, I am saying what I have found. One can pass on knowledge but not wisdom, one can live it , one can be supported by it, one can work wonders with it, but one cannot speak it or teach it. I sometimes suspected this even as a youth; it is what drove me from my teachers. I have found a thought, Govinda, that you will think is neither a joke nor foolishness; it is my best thought. It says: The opposite of every truth is just as true! For this is so: A truth can only be uttered and cloaked in words when it is one-sided. Everything is one-sided that can be thought in thoughts and said with words, everything one-sided, everything half, everything is lacking wholeness, roundness, oneness. When the sublime Gautama spoke of the world in his doctrine, he had to divide it into Sansara and Nirvana, into illusion and truth, into suffering and redemption. This is the only way to go about it; there is no other way for a person who would teach. The world itself, however, the Being all around us and within us, is never one-sided. Never is a person, or a deed, purely Sansara or purely Nirvana, never is a person utterly holy or utterly sinful.”

I feel there is, as Stephanie speaks, which bears repeating here: “beautiful flows and connections that He provides for us, so that we may see His hand in our lives”.

I have to agree with Siddhartha and Stephanie: The truth I’m seeking can’t be taught, only felt and experienced. AND I HAVE felt and experienced it, many times over. I need to stop doing what I’m doing, stop listening outside myself, quiet the noise and distraction and start listening to what God is trying to tell me.

I think when I do that, the unresolved things (even those beyond my crisis of my spirituality) will start resolving.

Thanks so much Stephanie, for the wonderful insight, and thank you everyone for the continued discussion on the post. I appreciate each and every voice, and I know you are here because you are meant to be here.

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9 Responses to The truth is unteachable?

  1. Mr. RSG says:

    Wow. I’m impressed with both the epiphany you seem to have had, and Stephanie’s wonderful way of opening up that thought pathway.

    I’ve kind of known that that’s the way it has to be: each person needs to follow their own compass. I know you’ve been having trouble with your compass, but I’ve been hesitant to tell you how I think you should proceed because it’s not my place. It would be disingenuous or hypocritical for me to TELL you what you should believe. I have no problem explaining what I believe and why I believe it, but I’m not you and the only one to tell you what to believe is you. To paraphrase Hess: every person is unique because there is no other time in the past or the future where all the influences come together on one person.

    Maybe what I lack in intellectual deep-thinking I somewhat make up for in wisdom (but lack the ability to relate it eloquently – so it’s kind of a wash).

    Always remember I’m here for you and love you.

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks husband…

    I know you are here for me. I know you love me. You know the hardest thing for me to do is find the quiet time I need. Between the kids and the cats crying for food and the dog being a spaz and finding time for you and…there is always something clamoring for my attention.

    As for you helping me (or not) has little to do with “intellectual deep-thinking”, which my dear heart, I don’t think you are incapable of. I think you are quite capable, just out of practice. I think your capacity for intellectual thinking has atrophied due to lack of use, but the whole point of this is that it can’t be conveyed in words. As soon as you try to describe it, you’ve limited the message.

    Yes, Hesse has had many insights to be gleaned from his writings. I might go dig up the book if I can find where it went to… to quote what you paraphrased, but yes, that’s essentially it.

  3. Rick says:

    I agree that faith and epiphany are intuitive experiences.

    Still, there is benefit to tradition and scripture (even in Hinduism > Buddhism), because these can validate/define the boundaries of what’s good and what’s crazy. 🙂

    Wisdom can only be taught to people wise enough to listen and accept it… so, yeah, that’s kind of a delightful trap to be in.

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Actually, Rick,

    What’s crazy to one isn’t crazy to all. I mean, who defines what crazy is?

    Even Jesus’ OWN teachings from his very mouth were heretical and CRAZY talk. Have you ever seen the movie Jesus of Nazareth?

    Jesus was saying in PLAIN words, HE was THE Messiah they’d been waiting for…and they wanted to condemn him to death for his AUDACIOUSLY crazy self-aggrandizement.

    Oddly enough, Jesus never preached in a BUILDING, did he? He was migratory, spanning a distance of about 200 miles around his home of birth (as I understand it).

    So, to be clear, I’m not discounting scripture. Far from it. I gain a LOT of comfort from those words.

    At a recent Igniting Intimacy seminar from our church (yes the same one I might be worried about), husband and I were urged to read the Song of Solomon and create an Ein Gedi(an oasis retreat)-like atmosphere in the bedroom. Pretty cool stuff that scripture is.

    It’s an amazing piece of literature and definitely worth my time reading, no doubt about it.

  5. raisingsmartgirls says:

    And of course, while wisdom/the truth is unteachable, it is learn-able, just not in the classroom/church hall, you know?

  6. Papa T says:

    MR. RSG…

    Not that you asked for it or anything, but I’m moved to affirm your “eloquence” and apparent patience and concern. My judgment is that your humility might be preventing the recognition of your own capacity for “deep thought.” [I would not pretend to have any idea what might have led to this tendency on your part. Validation is sometimes a very difficult thing to come by.]

    EVERY TIME you chime in here, I am touched…personally. Your comments always strike me as calming, cogent, and tenderly direct. I know that these characteristics are rare in my own experience. That might be why your words resonate so fully in me.

    This thing of learning how to recognize, allow, and then encourage differing ideologies in a close relationship [I think especially in marriage] can try souls in some pretty tough ways. Thanks for the encouragement!

    [I find the thought that you can explain why and what you believe to be an intriguing one. I have always thought that the things that can be “explained” can be “known” and for these things one does not “need” “faith.” Just TOMA…]



    I think I know what you mean by the “scaffolding effect” of tradition and scripture [not really sure what the “even in Hinduism > Buddhism” meant]. Still these scaffolds must be removed…eventually. And when they are, the one who is “under construction” must stand on his or her own. Often this involves actually dismissing some of the “lifesaver-like stuff” that was previously received.

    I’m not really sure whether it’s a “trick” or a “trap” that only those with wisdom can be taught wisdom. I wonder where they got the wisdom that allowed them to learn wisdom.

    Either way, your input always gets me to thinking and reviewing. Thanks!


    MRS. RSG…

    What an interesting forum you have provided here! The people and the idea are wonderful. Thanks again.

  7. Papa T says:

    One more thought:

    As for truth’s being “unteachable,” I would concur that the WHOLE TRUTH is unteachable…even beyond comprehension by any ONE human being. But the quest for greater understanding/grasping should not be deterred.

    The thing that has always struck me about “great” thinkers is the willingness to broaden their horizons…their perspectives. To me, this is the inverted “definition” of closed-mindedness. The close-minded settle for complacency and a narrow perspective. It’s been tough, but I have finally concluded that those of the latter group are dangerous and present an obstacle to personal and general real progress.

    I have “my truth.” I sometimes convey General and Universal Truth. And I sometimes receive “pieces” of Truth from others. My contention is that NO one person…NO one group…has ALL of the Truth. But I am willing to be shown the fallacy in my thinking.

    Peace, out…

  8. raisingsmartgirls says:

    I probably haven’t been fully clear. I’m going to find out a particular passage that gives me my foundation for the truth being unteachable. I mean, it terms of it being simply conveyed in WORDS. It can’t be.

    The moment you utter the words you limit the scope, so yes, in essence you don’t get the whole truth.

    But whether or not a person is truly taught by ANOTHER person even those “half-truths” by those mere utterances is, to me, doubtful.

    Maybe it’s just that I’M a stubborn person, but I have a LONG history of being told I do NOT “listen” to other people, as in “trust, believe, accept, make decisions based upon” the words of others, until I figure things out on my own. Just ask Mr. RSG – he’ll be the first to confirm that fact. I have always “learned things the hard way” because I do not trust the words of others. That could be a direct result of my abusive upbringing or my scientific background, or both.

  9. Papa T says:

    I see your point Mrs. RSG. And find no fault in it. [ONE exception…”half-truths” has a connotation of an intentional “withholding” (in my little mind anyway…). My “brand” of conveyed truth is more along the lines of “partial truth.” No biggie.]

    Indeed. It is impossible to flawlessly encapsulate Universal Truth into the words of ANY language. It’s not just the speaking…that which is spoken then gets “filtered”…layer upon layer of obstacles.

    Not that it really matters, but you don’t need a “passage” to make your point. Your point is well taken. As far as I am concerned the passage that you wrote is more than “good enough.” I concur. Truth cannot be “simply conveyed in words.”

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