In many “spiritual” circles, they refer to two kinds of “truth”: Relative and Absolute.
Relative Truth is what we know and experience on a daily basis. There’s a you, there’s a me, we’re separate individuals. Events transpire over time. As the Zen boys would say, “Mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers.”
Absolute Truth on the other hand is when “Mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers.” Everything is an illusion. There is no separateness. We are all one. There is no time, no “I.” Nothing ever happens, nothing is born and nothing dies.
Some teachers suggest that the absolute is, well, absolute. That’s the only REAL reality. Because it’s, well, absolute!
Others have been saying, “Oh, no, life includes both the relative and the absolute.”
And while I wouldn’t disagree, their position is still a sales pitch for the absolute… because it’s still ABSOLUTE.
THE ABSOLUTE… well that sounds so much better, so much cooler. Who doesn’t want to see everything as a dream, to be one with all, to be timeless and spaceless and birthless deathless? I mean it’s ABSOLUTE. Clearly, Absolute is better than Relative. Why would you settle for anything less than Absolute?
The choice of language, of Absolute vs. Relative, is a set-up. It’s a come-on. It’s an enticement for buying a taste of Absolute.
Let’s pick new words. How ’bout: Juicy and Bubbly? Or Fred and Wilma? Or Chocolate and Peanut Butter? Or Crap and Shit?
If we use words with less connotative difference, or words that don’t set up an obvious and instantaneous preference, or words that are preferred as a pair, or words where neither are desired… well then we can have a conversation, an exploration, an honest investigation into the various and varying dimensions of human experience.
Neither is preferred. Neither is special. Neither is a problem. Neither is bad. Now there is one, now another… whatever.
“Mountains are once again mountains and rivers are once again rivers.”