Finding Truth Essay

This essay has a total of 2181 words and 8 pages.


Finding Truth





Finding Truth

In almost all major religions, there abounds the undertone of the spiritual battle that
takes place inside someone regarding the succumbation to sin or earthly desires and the
like. Also ever present in the soul's journey through life is the search for a prize; an
ultimate Truth, especially in the early Middle Ages when religions where beginning to
mature and take power in society. Though the doctrine theoretically differs greatly,
Christian and Islamic faith as one body contextually share the same ideals and foci on the
issues pertaining to the soul. This is made evident when analyzing the works of
Christian mystic, Margery Kempe, and Sufi poet, Jalal al-Din Rumi, who despite the
difference in gender and culture, shed light on the meaning of Truth through acts and
words of devotion and love for a common God.

Margery Kempe, who did not consider herself a mystic, led a normal life until a traumatic
event thrust her into a life-long sojourn for truth and holiness. This event yielded a
strikingly emotional union between herself and God, which sometimes consisted of visions
that she was speaking with Jesus Christ. Kempe refers to Jesus as her lover in The Book of
Margery Kempe, an autobiography which was written later in her life. Kempe's devotion
encompassed her life so even to the point that she asked her husband to take a vow of
chastity with her. Jalal al-Din Rumi, a member of the mystic sect of Muslims called Sufi,
wrote several poems in his lifetime. Sufis placed a large emphasis on the sensory aspects
of worship: music, poetry and dance.

Earthly pleasure is seen by many religions as no more than a vice; a wall in between
oneself and God. Therefore, the only reasonable path to an Answer would be to eliminate
desire and clear the pathway toward Truth. In "Exmpty the Glass of Desire", Rumi urges
his readers to "empty the glass of desire so that you won't be disgraced" (Fiero, 54). To
Rumi, this glass of desire holds all of the disgraces of the world such as lust and greed.
In order to achieve the Truth and become one with God, one must remove desire from his
life. In the final stanza of the same poem, Rumi sheds some light on the Islamic mystic's
view of the world as under a constant state of bondage due to worldly objects and desire
for them. He directs his fellow truthseekers to "abandon life and the world, and find the
life of the world" (54). "Life and the world" represent all of the problems and things
that stand in the way of the devout soul. In order to clear the view of the Truth, all
distractions and temptation must be removed. In another display of abstination from
worldly desire, Margery Kempe discusses in her autobiography, The Book of Margery Kempe,
the struggles she has with things regarding lust and sexual oriented matters. After a
traumatic moment in her life, Kempe attempted to devote her life to Christ despite all
odds and ridicule. Even after totally ignoring Kempe's desire to remain abstinent for the
rest of her life, her husband still forces himself upon her. To this, she replies, "I may
not deny you my body, but all the love and affection of my heart is withdrawn from all
earthly creatures and set on God alone" (Kempe, 140). It is simply human to desire sex,
yet Kempe's union with God and her yearning for the Truth is so strong that she will not
allow herself to succumb to him. Heartbroken, she wept during sexual intercourse with her
husband. However, he too later took a vow of chastity despite his previous actions.
Kempe reveals her extreme devotion to God in her defiance of her husband's lusty feelings.
Though she recognized her status as servile because of her marriage, she stood firm and
retracted her lust. The Truth comes by way of extreme focus on it as a goal and a prize;
therefore, all human desires are simply misleading paths to worldly pleasure and can never
result in any possible eternal reward. However, with this yearning for the Truth comes
the need for extreme devotion to your God and no hesitance to obey His will.

Any goal requires devotion and in certain instances love, especially spirtitual ones.
During this period of history, the world was not that great of a place. Therefore, there
was a focus on a happier, eternal life after this one and most people would do just about
anything to achieve it. Also, there was a change in the way that humans saw their
Creator. God was seen as more than just a looming figurehead out to punish them. He was
seen as merciful and illuminating. However, the answer to spending eternity with God was
extreme devotion during this lifetime on Earth. In his poem, "The One True Light", Rumi
orders followers to, "Fix thy gaze upon the Light, and thou art delivered from the dualism
inherent in the finite body" (Fiero, 54). The Light is symbollic of the love of God, or
God himself. When one fixes their gaze upon it, they are showing their total reverence
for Him. The result is deliverance from the plight of this world and the end of suffering
in a "finite body". This shows the reason why devotion to God and reverence was so
pinnacle in a quest for Truth. The end result was the Truth itself; ultimate union with
God for the rest of eternity. Margery Kempe, however, revealed a different facet to loving
God. Kempe revered Jesus Christ as her lover, abstaining from human sexual acts due to
her love and adoration of God. In her autobiography, she further exemplifies her
disturbing vision of the savior as her lover. She is written to say, "Ah, Blessed Lord, I
wish I knew in what I might best love and please you; and that my love were as sweet to
you as I think your love is to me" (Kempe, 141). This seems very typical of a courtly
romance of the time, not a prayer to God. Though bizarre, Margery Kempe still reveals
that devotion is the secret to finding Truth as she lived a very holy life.

Truth is the answer to all of our questions and the search for it finds many outlets
depending on religion,ethnicity and culture. The Muslim and Christian beliefs expressed
here show that despite cultural differences, our human goals and aspirations are still
basically the Finding Truth


In almost all major religions, there abounds the undertone of the spiritual battle that
takes place inside someone regarding the succumbation to sin or earthly desires and the
Continues for 4 more pages >>




  • Finding Truth
    Finding Truth Finding Truth In almost all major religions, there abounds the undertone of the spiritual battle that takes place inside someone regarding the succumbation to sin or earthly desires and the like. Also ever present in the soul\'s journey through life is the search for a prize; an ultimate Truth, especially in the early Middle Ages when religions where beginning to mature and take power in society. Though the doctrine theoretically differs greatly, Christian and Islamic faith as one
  • Margery Kemp
    Margery Kemp Margery Kemp Evaluate Margery\'s interactions with the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus. How are her "real world" relationships affected by the advice and teachings they give her? According to her own testimony, Margery Kempe\'s spirituality involved deeply passionate experiences of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Kempe had "the gift of tears" -- meaning that, for years, she was unable to attend mass without crying profusely, and, as often as not, sobbing loudly and theatrically
  • Medieval Piety
    Medieval Piety Religion in the Middle Ages takes on a character all of its own as it is lived out differently in the lives of medieval men and women spanning from ordinary laity to vehement devotees. Though it is difficult to identify what the average faith consists of in the Middle Ages, the life told of a radical devotee in The Book of Margery Kempe provides insight to the highly intense version of medieval paths of approaching Christ. Another medieval religious text, The Cloud of Unknowing, p