I think I’ve mentioned before that when you start down the “personal development” road, you’re going to come across a lot of stuff. You’re going to be bombarded by every guru out there (self-proclaimed or otherwise) who thinks they know the real way the world works. And when you find someone whose thoughts and published works resonate you, it can bring you such a sense of relief: finally, something makes sense. The danger, though, is in accepting everything that person says as The Word and the Ultimate Truth, without taking the time to think about it and understand it yourself; without even asking if it even makes sense.
I’m not saying that other people are out to deliberately deceive you, and I’m definitely not saying that I’m the one with all the answers (oh my gosh — I so do not have all the answers!) What I am saying is that, because everything in our experience is filtered through the lens of our Self, it’s important to understand that there are as many different versions of Truth out there as there are people. Even those gurus who seem so wise are presenting you with their opinions and interpretations, their own understanding of how things work. That’s all they can do. And all that you can do is to work with the information you find, choose your puzzle pieces carefully, and figure out what makes sense for you.
Finding your puzzle pieces
The more I dig into this stuff, the more I realize that truth is something we all have to figure out for ourselves. I think that there have been many people throughout history, and even in the present day, who understand parts of the truth, and I think all of these people are doing their best to try and explain what they understand as best they can. And I think that different people are very good at understanding and explaining different aspects of the way the world really works, but I haven’t yet come across one person who, in my opinion, really understands how it all works.
So what am I using to judge this? The only thing I can – my gut. I go by feel. When I find something that resonates with me I pick it up and add it to my “collection”. It’s like my life experiences are a giant treasure hunt, or like finding puzzle pieces here and there that are slowly being put together to create a coherent picture. I think this is probably why I’m so fascinated by metaphysics, so-called ”New Age” philosophies (which really aren’t that new) and the study of comparative religions; a lot of my puzzle pieces have been picked up via these routes. In every branch of philosophy, in every religion, and in every “guru” I’ve studied, I’ve found elements of things that make a lot of sense to me. I’ve also found a lot of stuff that I disagree with fundamentally, even within philosophies or works that I mostly agree with.
What I do is take the elements that make sense for me, wherever I find them, and work with those. I select the puzzle pieces that feel like they belong with my unique “picture”. The rest I leave. I don’t need to bash them or destroy them; they’re just irrelevant for me. But I understand that they may be very useful for someone else who may be looking for those exact pieces for their own picture.
Shine bright like a diamond…
I think that religion and philosophy and all these New-Age thinkers are trying to find ways to explain a deeper reality – one that we all instinctively feel is there, but which we don’t really know how to access – within the very limiting confines of human language. So I think everyone gets little bits of that truth.
But all these different groups and schools of thought are all so busy insisting that their interpretation of things (incomplete though it may be) is the only real interpretation that they often forget that, at the core, all is One. Which, in my mind, means that all of these different points of view are just different, yet equally important, ways of looking at the same thing. It’s like a diamond: there are many different facets to a diamond. But each facet is an integral part of the one jewel, and a critical element in the brilliance and sparkle of the whole.
And this why it’s OK to pick out the puzzle pieces that make sense for you within all the information and interpretations you come across out there on your path. Take what you need, and just leave the rest. Understand that there are many views and interpretations, and that there is room for all. And remember most of all that you are the best judge of what is most useful for your own personal journey. Let no one tell you how you ought to think; choose to think for yourself and you will find your way. As always, the greatest wisdom comes from within.
photo credit: (c) Can Stock Photo