If you’ve been reading my posts for a while you’ve probably caught on to the fact that my spiritual path has been a varied one. About the time I started exploring metaphysics (1985) — mainly from a New Age perspective — I also began taking yoga. I studied with a few New Age teachers and also at the Temple of Kriya Yoga and then made my way to Nine Gates Mystery School where I encountered master teachers from a variety of traditions. The Huna teacher’s path called to me and I studied Huna for quite a while. Unwilling to move to Hawaii, though, I never had a teacher. Eventually I became interested in Buddhism and for several years read extensively and sat with a Shambala group and then with a vipassana group. At the same time I was also in a Wisdom Circle with a Hopi elder.
My personal path and practice have contained elements from all those paths; I’ve particularly used lots of practices that I learned at Nine Gates which came from many traditions. In the debate between those who say you can only progress if you “sit in the one chair” and those who argue that an eclectic path is fine, I come down mainly in favor of the latter. However, I have two basic caveats.
First, an eclectic path often means you don’t have a lot of guidance or you don’t have access to a true master and that means you are the arbiter of your own progress. You can follow any path, whether sitting in the chair of one tradition or creating your own journey, and do it in a way that keeps you on the surface and you will not truly progress. Whatever path you choose you have to be willing to dance with the shadow, to explore the dark corners of your soul. The best teachers know how to guide their students to take those inward journeys. You can do it and do it well on your own but you really have to keep yourself moving and motivated to always be looking deeper.
Second, all paths are really not the same and some philosophies contradict each other. If you’re going to put together a spiritual path that draws from several traditions, I think you need to be aware of the various philosophies and find a way to reconcile them for yourself or you can find yourself holding contradictory beliefs that keep you from progressing. On your own you have to be able to sort through the beliefs and create your own system of spirituality in a way that makes sense for you.
If, like me, you like to go your own way, here’s to ya! And your way might say I’m wrong. Just be clear for you.