There is Only One Path - Part One

anaditeaching's picture

Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

It is a common belief that there are many paths leading to self-realization that are suited to people of different temperaments. There is the path of practice, the path of self-knowledge, the path of devotion and so on. However, are these paths leading to the same place or is that wishful thinking? How can a path that is in itself incomplete lead us to spiritual completion? If we were to limit our child’s development to his mind alone, neglecting his creative, physical or emotional faculties, what kind of human being would he become? It is no different in our spiritual evolution. The concept that there are many paths is just another way to justify our lack of wholeness, based on a refusal to use all the resources that we have been given towards our internal evolution.

When we enter the spiritual path, no one is a tabula rasa; when we incarnate on the earth we carry the continuity of our previous evolution with us. As such, we tend to be attracted to a spiritual path that resonates with our past inclinations. It is natural that a seeker would choose a path that suits his proclivities; if intellect is his strength, he would have more chance of succeeding on the path of self-knowledge and so on. However, the danger is that he will remain undeveloped in other areas, areas which are essential for him to realize spiritual completion. We are multidimensional beings and all those dimensions need to be included in our evolution. The metaphor that there are many paths that lead to the summit of the mountain does not suitably reflect the nature of human evolution. It would be more accurate to say that different paths lead to the summits of different mountains. One may indeed be climbing a mountain, but it is not Mount Everest. There are many mountains in the inner realm; in fact most of them are more like small hills within a vast range of snowy peaks.

It is the responsibility of each seeker to aspire to become whole and to intuit, based on a sense of inner incompleteness, what is still lacking inside. On the other hand, the responsibility of a true spiritual teaching is to reflect the human journey to completion and not to offer its followers half-truths or illusions of self-realization.

The spiritual realm is like any other area of reality: it can never be fully grasped. Therefore any spiritual teaching that is aligned with the unfoldment of truth must evolve; it is impossible that any master of the past has revealed the complete truth. It is similar to science or physics: there is no final conclusion but rather a constant process of reaching higher understanding. And to grasp the nature of the ultimate reality is infinitely more complex than to find the smallest particle in the atom. In the dark ages, scientists were repressed by religious fanatics and it is those same dogmatists who hold on to past traditions as representations of the ultimate truth. These people lack the imagination to grasp the dynamic nature of spiritual enfoldment. Someone who is free enough to explore the higher horizons of truth perceives past traditions gratefully as stepping stones to higher knowledge, not as an unquestionable authority. The mind has to be free to receive true inspiration and the revelation of a new understanding.

The path of consciousness, the path of the heart or the path of being, of the source, are not necessarily different paths on the same mountain slope. In isolation from each other they are actually on different mountains separated by deep valleys. It is a common error is to think that everyone who is enlightened is in exactly the same state. In truth, they might be in very different states, so different that they have almost nothing in common. That different spiritual traditions appear to have coherent dialogues with one another is not an indication that the same state has been reached. Rather, the same conventional and imprecise terms are being used to describe very different states of realization. Not all paths lead to the same realization. The path of consciousness leads to the realization of consciousness and only consciousness, meaning by following such a path one will not reach the absolute, which is the unmanifested source of creation, or awaken to the dimension of love. Similarly, the path of devotion cannot lead to the awakening of consciousness, and so on.

There is only one path because that path must include everything, otherwise one remains fragmented. Sometimes to reach a fragmented realization is worse than having no realization at all. The only way to become complete is to follow holistic evolution, as all the aspects of our internal reality are interconnected. For instance, even if through following a particular path one awakens consciousness, it is still not pure consciousness, our complete consciousness. For pure consciousness to be realized it must be actualized within the context of the whole soul. Consciousness that is disconnected from the heart and being cannot arrive at its natural state.

There is only one path to reality. There are many paths to illusion, there are many paths to nowhere, and there are many paths to an incomplete realization of reality. The most common paths are those that lead to nowhere. Some of them are very elaborated, well-respected and trusted due to their long heritage. But no one reaches anywhere and no one seems to mind. Spirituality is often a game through which one can abide upon the thought that one is on some kind of path. Reaching anything substantial is not the aim of the game; it is a game of hoping, of being a good seeker, of feeling spiritual and of giving one’s power to gurus or teachings that do not deliver what they promise. There is always tomorrow or the day after – or is there?

johnd's picture

Spiritual efficiency

Is there only one way to fix all TVs? Is there only one way to fix all cars? Is there only one way to cure all sick people?

Precisely because of the fact that we are not tabula rasa, different conditioned persons need different medications, need different treatments, need different paths.

Of course, all can walk the same comprehensive path that tackles all spiritual illnesses but such a walk will tackle 99% of illnesses that are not relevant for a person and will take eons and just for nothing.

johnd | Mon, 08/26/2013 - 06:04