Truthfulness is a particularly interesting good quality.
It seems that all good qualities are inter-related. How can one be truthful without first being able to discern truth from illusion (intelligence, knowledge and freedom from doubt)?
I lack forgiveness. I am not able to be silently satisfied because I lack control of my mind, of my senses, so I blurt out my “truthful” remarks. I rush to be “truthful” but actually all I am trying to do is get a verbal slap in edgewise against someone or something I bear a grudge against.
I label what I say as “truthful” but the truth is I am simply insulting.
“Truthfulness, means that facts should be presented as they are, for the benefit of others.”
Two important requisites for “truth” are:
a) To understand what the facts really are.
b) To communicate them in a way that others benefit from.
Regarding (a): I can certainly stand to be more realistic about my capacity to flawlessly understand “the facts.” I should be more realistic to know that these “facts” are just my understanding of the facts. Even when a perfect teacher guides me to understand facts, I have to know that I am an imperfect student, and therefore what I obtain from my teachers is simply my limited understanding of “facts.” Not being so haughty about ones ability to “know the truth” will go a long way to stop one from being insulting and arrogant.
Regarding (b): Even when I do somehow get the facts straight, “truthfulness” means to present those facts for the benefit of others. Therefore to speak “truthfully” means to communicate the facts in a way that the audience will embrace and understand. The “truth” cannot be spoken in words that cloud understanding by inflaming emotions of pain and resentment. The truth is spoken in just the right words, at just the right time, in just the right circumstances.
Under the guise of “truthfulness” I have insulted and hurt many people. Therefore I have written this in hopes that it will help myself and others in similar situations to stop.
This topic arises in relation to discussing Bhagavad Gita 10.4-5