“The Truth doesn’t care how it’s packaged.— Kuthumi
“All paths lead to enlightenment,” says the sage. They also lead from enlightenment. In an infinite eternal Universe, all paths lead everywhere. Some have more bumps than others.
Eternity takes a while, so we’ll have a chance to try everything on one plane or another. One of those things is bound to be enlightenment. You’ll probably catch a little “endarkenment” along the way as well.
Enlightenment is more fun, so we’ll presume that we want to get there (assuming of course, there’s a “There” there). With all the options available, how do we tell the difference between the dirt road and the superhighway?
First, you need to recognize the dirt. The biggest bumps in the road are righteousness and approval. Righteousness claims to be the only way, and judgment is its tool. Approval requires obedience and conformity, enforced by ridicule and ostracism.
No Spiritual path is completely free of these attitudes, but some minimize them, some advertise them. No matter what form the particular belief system takes, there are three characteristics to examine when you make your choice: Love, Power, and Support.
I define Love as the unconditional acceptance of what is. The unpleasant emotions you feel when you reject what life presents, from mild irritation through anger, guilt, and despair are all facets of fear. Love and fear are mutually exclusive.
Love feels good and fear feels bad. Many speak words of love, but if you spend few moments in their company, you’ll see if they really mean it. Do they put you down or build you up? Does their energy “feel” good? If you weren’t so polite, would you just want to hug the stuffing out of them?
Love relishes differences. Not only artificial surface diversity, but different ways of being and varied points of view. With Love, superficials are irrelevant. It’s down deep that counts. Love laughs a lot.
Recommendation: Follow the love. It’s more fun.
Most paths acknowledge a power beyond earthly cognition. It can be anything from the gods on Mt. Olympus to the Force in Star Wars. It’s always something. What will appeal to you?
Some teach duality, with forces of “good” and “evil” constantly in battle. They rely on judgment and condemnation, all for righteousness’ sake… “And we’ll tell you what’s right, thank you.”
Others speak of an anthropomorphic heavenly Deity demanding sacrifice and obedience as payment for favors, or to escape punishment. They claim theirs is THE way, not A way.
Then there are belief systems that teach of an infinite creative Force that is everywhere and everything, including you and me. It is a power you direct with your thoughts to create your life day to day.
Recommendation: Think your own thoughts. It’s more fun.
How are you supported along the way? Is there an earthly hierarchy or a supernatural power to obey? Perhaps a guru to bless you? Is there more emphasis on the teacher than on the teaching?
Do they proclaim your limitations, then sell relief for the price of your independence…or your soul?
Or do they teach of your own connection with the Infinite. Do they respect your individuality and encourage your creative power? Do they honor you as an unlimited being?
Recommendation: Seek out the latter. It’s more fun.
Have you noticed that I always lean in the direction of “more fun?” That’s my chosen Belief System, which sees each of us as an expression of the Infinite One. It entertains Itself through us as we experience our adventures in the world of space/time.
As Infinite Love, of course It prefers fun over suffering—the superhighway over the dirt road, but as It lives life through every individual, no matter what the experience, it’s all entertainment.
Of course, all this is just the “elevator speech.” I could write a book to fill in the details.