What’s Your Transcendental?

Truth, Goodness, Beauty. Allow me to attempt a brief explanation before we dive in. In the Catholic church, these three properties are something that elevate our hearts and minds beyond the material and ultimately lead us to God. I love the description that they are seen as “evidence of God’s fingerprints on the world”. They tell us, without words, that there is something beyond the material, something greater. 

I like to think that people are generally drawn most magnetically to one of the three. Mine is Truth. There is something about it that, in this confusing world where objective truth is becoming an archaic relic, words are losing their meaning, and identity is being questioned in a way as never before, that I find much comfort in it. 

More personally, however, it has been my own battle with finding the truth  in my life and in my heart that has drawn me to this transcendental. I am someone who was always quite gullible as a kid. I have a history of trusting easily and have repeatedly reaped the consequences of placing my trust in the wrong people. Because of this, I have been on the receiving end of abuse of many kinds, and my mental health has paid a price.

Now, in truth, it is a gift to be able to trust easily, and one I am trying to relearn, however, it must be paired with the virtue of Prudence. Without right judgment, we will trust anyone who seems kind enough, smart enough or confident enough. We need clear guidelines, we need to know who we are and who we are not, and we must develop the ability to discern what is best, and how to get there. I had not yet developed these skills in my most impressionable years.

For the longest time I looked to others to tell me what they thought was right or best. Maybe it came from being one of the younger kids in a large family, but what happened was, I never developed the skill of taking on something for myself without looking to other’s standards to know whether I was on track or not. This made it very easy for me to become confused when people, who didn’t have my greatest good at heart, started telling me “truths” that confused and upset me. The thing was, I lacked the confidence to trust my own judgment about what was being said to me.

Of all the abuses I experienced, the one I think to be most damaging was gaslighting. To question your own memory, perception of reality and sanity takes a brutal toll on one’s well-being and sense of self, but it is Truth which can restore these things. So I started on a journey to seek the truth, to develop the skill to discern the truth, and to meet people who could guide me to the truth. This led me to Virtue, the pursuit of virtue specifically, as the means to clear up my own mind and heart and showed me my pathway to freedom. Freedom from confusion and freedom to live in integrity with objective truth in my own thoughts and actions, thus mending the unrest in my heart. Once the clouds of confusion caused by inconsistent behaviors and beliefs cleared, I concluded that I would be able to gain the clarity I so badly longed for in my life.

This is where mindset coaching entered in for me. The goal of mindset coaching is to be able to find the truth hidden beneath layers of perception, bias and lies we believe. It basically helps you get your mind straight with objective reality and from that place be able to make good decisions and right action follows.

This is the kind of work that “hurts so good” because it forces you to recognize things about yourself that you don’t necessarily want to see, take ownership for your own emotions, thoughts and feelings and stay out of others’.  I’m often met with truths that I don’t want to hear because then I can’t sit in self-justified indignation, or I can’t NOT see how I contributed to a situation in some way. What comes out of good mindset coaching is a massive increase in self-awareness which inevitably leads to humility and humility leads to acceptance, and acceptance…leads to freedom.

I could see how not knowing who I was and what I stood for led me to be taken advantage of or fall into bad situations. I could see how wanting my emotional needs to be met by those around me fed my own bitterness and loneliness when those people could not meet those needs. 

I was shown, very practically, how to get in touch with who I was, decide who I wanted to work to become and learn to establish very clear boundaries around behaviors I would not tolerate, both in myself and others, knowing my personal why behind each boundary so that when push back came, I felt firm in standing my ground

I believe that Trust of self is the barrier to the poison of gaslighting, and Truth is the antidote, should the poison get in. Trust in your perception of a situation, Trust in who you know yourself to be, Trust in your mental capacity to find the Truth of a situation, and Trust to know when you need to seek counsel from a worthy source.

So it is the Truth of who I am that leads me to Trust who I am and in the strong weave of the two, I can rest in my identity…But what is my identity? Surely it cannot be whatever I create it to be. What permanence is there in that? This is where my faith steps in. 

The Church tells us that we were made in the image and likeness of God. I had to break that down. I didn’t know what it actually meant. I’ve had to wrestle with what I found to get to a place of understanding. Hopefully what I relay may bring some clarity to you as well.

We are “rational creatures”. This means we can think about our thinking, something the animals cannot do. The reason why we are able to do this is because we were made with an Intellect. It is both our Intellect, our ability to reason, and our Will, the ability within us to “choose the good” that are the image of God in which we are created. We may not be omniscient or omnipotent, but we share in the gift. 

The likeness of God is His divinity. Now, according to Catholic teaching, this is something that was lost in The Fall, but still is something for which we are intended. God wants us to be with Him in heaven and wants us to share in his divinity. I really had to spend some time with this one. It just wasn’t something that I had ever heard about, but there was something in it that made sense. God created the angels which have an intellect and will, but do not share in his divinity, although they are heavenly creatures. Why is it different for human beings, who are flawed and messy, that God intends a standing greater for us even than the angels? I could think of nothing, but that it is an enormous expression of the tender love He has for us.

“God is love” is a phrase that blows right past me. I have heard it so many times, but there is something in me that longs for what I perceive as True, Good and Beautiful. My eyes linger on a beautiful picture, I nod without realizing it to someone bold enough to voice hard facts, and I long to be in line with what I know, somewhere deep down, to be good. Perhaps, that longing is in fact a response of the loved to the Lover. Perhaps these involuntary movements of my heart are a cry for connection with God, and THAT is my true identity. I was made from and for God and am restlessly seeking to be united with God. That ache within me for the True, the Good and the Beautiful is evidence of the incompleteness in me that will exist until that day comes.  

Often it causes a burning, itchiness within our being, a restlessness that we wish would just go away! This is the “God-sized hole” we hear people talk about that causes them to turn to all the material things which fail to soothe in the end. But this relentless restlessness is what pushes us to seek God. This is what drives me to seek the Truth. Ultimately, I know I will always be a little itchy and restless while on this side of heaven, but every time I meet that desire of my heart, that pull within me that insists there is something more, with something True, Good, or Beautiful, I get to begin to experience what it is to be whole – in total union with God, in the bosom of the Trinity, for all eternity. That’s what I want.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: