Sunday Service: Let Truth Be Your Guide

Peter Kowalke

Week of  Nov 23 – 29, 2014

What gives me the temerity to run a web site about life’s deepest trusts and talk with confidence about spiritual issues? Who am I to dole out wisdom?

This is a good question, and the reason I stayed silent on the topic of spirituality for many years despite making it an active project of mine since an early age. Not being full of myself, I recognized that my “wisdom” was provisionary and might be bunk. I didn’t feel wrong, but I could be wrong. And I had ample examples in my life of situations where I had been wrong. So who was I to talk? Which is why I stayed silent.

The truth of the matter is that none of us should talk if we have to be perfect before we open our mouths. I’ve met lots of monks and spiritual people over the years, and almost none of them were perfect and guaranteed to speak the highest truth all the time.

We don’t really know anything. That might be the highest truth I can offer. All we can do is share what we think is the truth, and what has both stood the test of time and logic. But none of us really know for certain.

That’s why we must approach everything as if it is a previsionary truth. We think it is true, but we might be wrong. If we live this way, we are doing the best that can be done in the service of living true. We are doing our best to live truthfully, but we’re also open to being wrong and willing to adjust when we discover our truth was wrong on some level.

That’s also why we must take everything with some skepticism, and always think for ourselves. What we’re hearing might be true, but what we’re hearing might be false. Each of us must judge for ourselves.

This week we actually bring you the essay we put as our “disclaimer” at the start of every spiritual talk we publish. We highlight this essay even though it is linked at the top of almost every page because the central idea in that essay is so important and therefore worth stressing: Don’t trust us; think for yourself.

If the ideas make sense, adopt them. If they don’t, ignore them. This should be the approach for everything, but especially spiritual essays written by someone like me.

Yours in service,


This Week’s Spiritual TalkSeek Truth

Let Truth Be Your Guide—Not Us

By Peter Kowalke

Although I have been walking a Vedanta path since age 2, for many years I self-consciously limited what I shared. That is because it is immediately apparent that I am not perfect, that I do not have it all figured out, that my thoughts and my habits drift both among truth and ignorance.

How could I stand up and talk about the deepest truths when I had not finished understanding truth?

So for many years I did not share. I quietly built my knowledge, experimented actively, practiced truth as I understood it. But I did not share. I was not qualified.

The dirty little secret that took me years to understand, however, is that none of us are qualified. Within all of us is truth and some measure of untruth. If we wait until we are perfectly realized before we share what we know, none of us will share what we know. Even monks, the saintliest among us, are not perfect in their understanding.

(read more)


videoVedanta Television

American Vedanta on YouTube

Finding lasting happiness. Applying the Bhagavad Gita to daily life. Learning about the history of Vedanta in the U.S. These are some of the topics covered at American Vedanta’s YouTube channel. We curate a list of spiritual videos that will help advance your spirituality and expand your mind. When wanting spiritual videos, give our YouTube channel a look.

We also recommend other resources such as Booksaudio lectures and web sites, among other resources.


Spiritual Fitness

Do You have a Spiritual Routine?

Vedanta, if not practical, has no other relevancy. The key to practical Vedanta is an individualized spiritual routine.

There are six components of a good spiritual routine.

Swan1. Find a Community. If you have an existing church, temple or mosque, attend regularly. If not, join our Facebook group and see our list of recommended spiritual organizations.

2. Seek Guidance. Find a mentor within your existing spiritual community or contact us for a referral.

3. Attend Spiritual Services Regularly. If you don’t live near an appropriate spiritual community, we offer a weekly spiritual talk delivered by email, Facebook and Twitter. We also host a regular Vedanta Dinner for those who live in the New York City area.

4. Incorporate Individual Study. We keep a list of books and resources for your individual study needs.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Spiritual Life. Read our talk about listening to your own inner compass and contact us when you have a question that your spiritual community isn’t answering adequately.

6. Leverage Rituals Thoughtfully. As an example, read our essay about the power of saying grace.

Our longer talk about spiritual routine can be found here.

Happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

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