Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Fresh Start

If you google the phrase "spiritual teachings", you will get over 15 million returns in less than half a second. Of course, those are just the web pages that have spiritual teachings in their keywords or their content. If you google "Buddhism", "Hinduism", "Advaita Vedanta", "Christianity" or "Islam", you will find hundreds of millions of pages about those spiritual teachings. And that is just what is available on the internet. There must be billions of spiritual teachings in the world, which is really quite remarkable. This business of spiritual teachings is like a jungle. It is a wild, untamed, crazy jungle. And that is really quite surprising since, if you look deeply enough, at the heart of all of them, there are some very simple insights and understandings.

The first insight is that there are not two to be found anywhere. Sometimes that goes by the phrase, "All is one," but really it's that there are not two. There is nothing separate from anything else. That alone is enough. The other insight is that there is nothing wrong with anything or anyone. There is nothing wrong with me, and there is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with any thought, idea, expression, or behavior. There is nothing that needs to be fixed. That too is at the heart of all the spiritual teachings.

This insight is expressed with announcements such as "before enlightenment chop wood, after enlightenment chop wood." There are different ways of presenting it. That is pretty much all there is to it at the core, at the heart of all the spiritual teachings: all is well and all is one. How does it come to pass that, out of such simple insights and understandings, there should arise such a wildness of profligate, competing presentations, ideas and teachings? How can that be?


No comments: