Like alot of people I have been on a kind of spirtual quest for answers. It probably started 20+ years ago when I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and for the first time started to think there might actually be a need to find answers that weren’t going to be in any Science textbook. A few years ago this quest definitely accelerated after I quit working so much and got a lot of guidance from a friend. I can’t say I have done an exhaustive search of all the possibilities out there but I can say that I have definitely reached the point of diminishing returns. I know this because at this point no matter where I look I don’t seem to find much new.
Its very easy to make a big deal about how different all the world’s religions are. You can even get people to kill over it. Even if the founder of their religion said “Love your enemies”. But I think that last paradox just points out that what we are comparing is something different that the real truths that are there. People in power whether in Govt or the Church have a vested interest in keeping the differences at the forefront. Over time they become exaggerated and distorted to the point where there bear little if any resemblance to the truths which from which they were born. For my part I think being a good Christian should mean trying to follow what Jesus said more than what people say about Him.
If you believe (or need to believe) that there is some capital T truth out there, you have to at least accept that any tradition that has survived and thrived for a while must have latched onto some of it. In fact I would argue that most of the important things about life etc are held in common between major faith traditions and are merely rendered differently in their own unique language. Which is not to say that all religions are the same but that each view provides a different window. If there is an absolute reality then how we look at it can’t change it’s nature but just our individual understanding of it.
Its also unfortunate that we often view the sacred texts of different faiths as some kind on contraband that might infect us. As if our faith is so weak. I personally think any Christian for example could get alot out of reading the Bhagavad-Gita. Especially If you get a decent version which has alot of explanation of many of the terms used like this one. The Gita has a much more elaborate and descriptive language for talking about the spiritual journey than we use in the West. While I don’t get everything about what Krishna is telling Arjuna, I still keep my copy in my car and pull it out every now and then.
More recently I have come to the realization that I’m not going to get any farther by trying to learn more with my head. Or as Yoda says, “No more training do your require, already know you that what you need“.Â At this point I have alot more to gain from Practice than from Study. Which sucks because Study is SO much easier. Currently, I’m practicing at trying to see good or beauty in places where its hard to find. That’s difficult for someone who is optimistically-challenged like me but I am making a little progress. I hope it doesn’t take another 20 years.