What is Truth?

In these last few weeks I had the opportunity to be an active participant in our justice system. I served on a federal jury for nine days. It was an experience. Most people’s reaction, when I told them I was on a jury, was “You couldn’t get out of it?” Actually, I probably could have. I also knew that, as inconvenient as it was, I was able to serve without hardship, and that I could be unbiased and judge the defendant as fairly as possible. It is truly sad that the foundation of our justice system – trial by jury – is so dreaded and many people seek only to remove themselves from the process. I have been called to serve regularly every three years. I think the longest I went without being called was five years. I did not seek to be thrown off the jury because, if I were on trail, I would want someone like me on the jury. In the end it was not a pleasant process and I endured it. I’m off the hook for the next three years.

Why was it so unpleasant? Well, for one, you are being lectured at most of the time. For the most part this only happens for 4 hours. This judge does recognize this challenge and actively seeks to give the jury many breaks to support the people in the jury from not getting too overwhelmed. Another thing is that since the lawyers are unfamiliar with the level of intelligence of the jury, they tend to repeat their points over and over and over again. It was like being back in school again. However, this topic was nothing I was really interested in. One thing that supported me in staying focused was reminding myself that the result of this process would affect someone’s life – significantly. That knowledge helped bring me back into focus when my mind drifted. The main reason this particular jury experience was so unpleasant resulted from the fact that at the end we were a hung jury on two of the three counts we were deciding upon. So after the whole process we did not succeed in our task. The judge spoke to us all afterward and was quick to reassure us all that that was indeed the process and that what happened was exactly how the system was designed. However, to many of us it still felt like a failure.

What I realized was that this process was not about truth. It was about how the law was written and about evidence. Most of the jury believed the law was poorly written. My belief was that if the law was so badly written that it did not accomplish what it was written for, hold those that write the laws accountable. If it is broken, fix it. If the government did not have enough evidence to prove the case, whether or not you believe this man did the crime of which he was accused, hold them accountable to play by the rules that they are enforcing. In the end, it was an eye opening experience. As the judge kept reminding us, this man was innocent of what he was accused. It doesn’t matter what you think he did, what other crimes he may have done, or how you felt about his lifestyle. What mattered was this: did the government present enough evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed the crime? If you can’t convince 12 people of your case, then the answer is no. It is up to the government whether they will retry or not.

It is not a process I wish to repeat. Yet, I know one of my strengths is being able to see many different perspectives. This is a great asset in this process. I also know that this process is the foundation of our judicial system. It is something that should be undertaken with honor and commitment. It may be annoying to you. It was to me. It may be scary to you. You never know what you are in for. It may be a royal pain in the ass. Two weeks out of your life where you have to rearrange everything around this process is a pain in the ass. Still, it has to be done. It is your duty and responsible as American citizen. If you shirk your duty, it will fall onto the shoulders of another. Someone else will have to do what you were too unwilling, scared, or uncommitted to do. I will try to remember this the next time, probably in three years time when I am again summoned for jury duty. I hope that you will do the same.


In love and light



This One Moment.

“If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.” from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Eckhart Tolle writes at length in his book The Power of Now about being in the present moment. He writes about how there is no past or future there is only this moment – now. Everything else is a construction of your mind. Your memories are a construction of what you believed your past looked and felt like. This may or may not be what happened, it is what you believed to have happened. Another person may have a completely different idea of the same event. We all remember and notice what is important to us. The future is your mind working to examine all the scenarios and actions that will get you the results you desire. Since none of these scenarios and events have happened yet, it is all smoke and mirrors. There is no guarantee that any of the actions, events, or situations you think about for the future will even happen. The future is an illusion that we hope we will one day be present to experience. Our lives are built on ever unfolding moments of now. You are now in a new now, and again and again. Mr. Tolle writes about making plans and goals – that this is a necessary part of a functioning life. It is when we are obsessed with the past and the future that things become out of balance. Our society is overly obsessed with the linear, so our minds are constantly in the past or the future. It is rarely that we put our whole presence and attention to Now.

It is pointed out to one of the characters in the book The Alchemist that he is obsessed with knowing that future. When asked why he wants to know the future, he says that men “always live their lives based on the future.” I think it is rather that mankind live their lives always based on the future that they are obsessed with making come about in a certain way. The character is given the above advice. How different would our lives be if we were fully present in this moment and were only concerned with improving it, whatever that looked like? In this moment you have everything you need, until that final moment when the transition is made to Spirit. Of course, I believe that in that moment we also have everything we need. Every moment takes care of itself. It unfolds and moves forward. In a book I just recently reread, one of the characters has a great insight. There is no use wasting energy on worry or anticipation of a certain outcome, for the decision had already been made. You can only react to the outcome when the need arises. So you might as well relax and enjoy the flavor of the tea. Plan your life, yet let go of attachment to outcome. Place your attention on the present and make it the best present moment it can be. You will be amazed at how peaceful and stress free a life you will have.


In love and light