Seeking the Truth: Puran Bair's iamU 2016 Commencement Address

We sang a song a few days ago that had the words: What is it that you seek? We sang back to ourselves and said We seek the Truth!

This is a big topic! There are a number of ways in which this “seeking of the truth” is conducted. One way is that we seek the truth about the world - what 's really going on in the world? What is the reality of our time? What is the need of humanity today? If one could only get a sense of what is the growing edge of humanity today! We see so many unconnected - it seems -  events, but we get a sense somehow, behind the scene, there is something emerging. There 's a trend in process.

It's difficult for us to get a sense of what's really going on because it's fed to us through something called a media which means something in between us and what 's going on. A medium. So we ‘re actually reacting to the presentation rather than the reality of the events.  To really understand what 's happening we need to have our own direct experience of events in the world.  How could one do that? We live here in Tucson [Arizona] - the world is very big place - but through meditation we have an amazing access that 's really quite surprising. Because we work with the heart (and everybody has a heart and these hearts are all connected) it's possible through accessing our own internal faculty called “Heart” that we can feel what's happening in people thousands of miles away. 

We did an experiment with reducing violent crime in Cleveland, Ohio - which is just about 2,000 miles from here.  We were astounded at the at the degree to which two people meditating in Tucson could affect a million people in Cleveland, Ohio.  We found that for the six hours after we meditated, violent crimes - that is to say rapes, murders, assault with a deadly weapon - were reduced thirty-four percent on the days that we meditated, according to the police statistics. 

We were amazed! That kind of left us with the question: Why don 't we do this all the time?

We need lots of people who have this capacity to affect the hearts of other people.  How many people can a heart affect? How many people can one person with one energized heart affect? You know that in a one-to-one situation, you can be quite influential. But how does it spread out? You can affect hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe millions. So this is our work in terms of seeking the Truth on a large scale - the reality of the world.

We 're also very interested in finding out the truth about each other - about the people we know - and it also faces that same challenge that things are not as they appear and people are not as they appear. One of the things we seek for most is to be seen and to be understood.  Instead of making that easy for each other, we present masks and defense mechanisms and we hide - trying to add to the challenge of other people understanding us. We'd like so much to to look through that and see the one we love inside that that shell which everybody has. 

So we have a special process that we teach at our school called Contemplation and you 're going to hear some of the graduates speak about their experiences with Contemplation.  We mean a special thing by this word - not maybe the usual meaning of the word - a special process by which we can actually feel the heart of another person as our own, as if it was our very own heart.   So, we feel in ourselves what the other person feels.   It 's not observation, you see.  Its not looking from outside, its feeling the other person in ourselves. That's reliable and that gives us a very realistic experience what the other person is going through.  It’s essential in order to understand another person.  What you see from the outside is combination of what they feel comfortable disclosing and the projection that the observer makes.  Observation can 't really be made without projection; there’s always projection in observation. 

So in our search for the Truth, we learn this method of looking inside to find the one we love -- another person, another friend, even and especially maybe, people we don 't get along with so well because those are the people that challenge us to understand them. We also want to know ourselves.  We want to know the truth of ourselves.  We desperately want to know this!

We sense that there is so much more that we 're not conscious of (this huge treasure within) of potential that hasn't really been tapped.  So, there are several processes that we teach for this.  One is that we have to honor all of the emotions of the heart.  This is an obstacle for almost everybody, because we have emotions we don 't know how to deal with and we are sort of afraid of - so we avoid them.   But, those emotions bundle up our energy and store it away and make some parts of ourselves unavailable to us, so we really need to unpack those experiences and process them and integrate them and make them part of ourselves. No dissociation! We teach association! We don't teach detachment, we teach attachment...  Because Love is attachment. 

Another process we have is that we find that in order to see ourselves we need a mirror. 

“And since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.”
-- William Shakespeare, from Julius Caesar: I, ii

The Bard offers to be your "glass" - meaning mirror.  This is one of the the advantages that a teacher offers.  The teachers in our school present themselves as mirrors.  The object is not to see the teacher but to see in the mirror one's Self.  Through the opening and purification of the heart, one can become a very good mirror - so that one can really see in the mirror of a person 's heart that which is hidden inside. 

The third process is that we connect our hearts to something greater than ourselves. We speak about heart - each person has one - and then we speak about a Universal Heart - a heart which contains all hearts.   The principle here is that you can 't know yourself in isolation because we're not actually isolated. You can 't know yourself unless you 're connected to the source because that's the reality of who you are.  We are connected all the time to the source of our being.  In order to know ourselves we need that context; we we need that connection.

We [iamHeart] have a series of programs that we take each class through - eight courses - one of these courses is the famous 106 [Accomplishment Through Mastery].  We each do a project: we asked the students to identify something about themselves they would like to change and/or improve and they identify a goal and then they work on it - basically until they give their speech - and probably keep it going after that as well.  You 're going to hear presentations about these projects; the project 's themselves were done in a rather scientific way (something called an SSD, a Single-Subject Design for a n=1 study).  We kept data, we had benchmarks - but their presentations will be more about how they experienced that project - not only the results - but what happened to them, when what they ended up, what the results were. 

I'm quite impressed because not only is public speaking identified as one of the most hazardous, dangerous, stressful things you can possibly do, but revealing oneself takes it to another whole level.  We've asked them not just to speak like you would do in toastmasters, but to speak about themselves, and they 're speaking in a very vulnerable way about something that 's incredibly important that has changed them. The kind of change that they've gone through we call transformation because it 's not simply a little tweak; it 's a big change: something fundamental is different.  So this is the discovery of truth at this third level. 

We seek the truth about what 's happening in the world, we seek the truth about each other, looking deeply into the people that raised us, the friends we developed, the business people that we work with, the children we give birth to, the friends we make along the way  Then we seek for the truth about ourselves. 

It’s only through this process of meeting the challenges - because when you try to do something that you haven 't done - something gets struck - its like hitting a bell! Something is revealed that wasn't evident before. By responding to the challenges that they pose to themselves -- the teachers didn’t pose the challenges, they made them up themselves -- something has emerged in them which is amazing. 

So this is our process of seeking the Truth.  These are the graduates of this process for 2016 and I very much welcome you to the continued work of finding the truth and helping build the culture of the heart.  Thank you.