Saturday, April 14, 2012

Finding Truth

During this time of griefwalking, I've been reading a great deal...all non-fiction, my go-to choice under stress. (I know some people escape into fiction, but I prefer to have the groundedness of non-fiction when I'm feeling ungrounded myself.  Fiction is just too intense!)

I'm reading various things from histories to self-help, but my current spiritual reading ranges from old classics like My Daily Bread and Introduction to the Devout Life to best-sellers like Tolle's the Power of Now.  I've had some people question how I can read both very traditional spiritual works and New Age material, sometimes at the same time. (Well, not the EXACT same time since I can't read two books simultaneously, but I do put one down and pick another one up.)

It's because of something I was taught many years ago by a very wise spiritual mentor: As long as I am secure in what I believe, in what I know to be my experience of reality, finding truth in new places is like picking up an atlas after having used google maps. The place I'm looking at hasn't changed.  The only thing that has changes is the lens through which I look.

In short: take what edifies and ignore the rest.

Take Tolle's the Power of Now for instance.  He has his own interpretation of Jesus and his teachings, along with some uniquely Tollean ideas about Buddha and other spiritual teachers as well.  I don't read his words as gospel (all puns intended), but I did find his underlying teaching, about the important of being in the present, in the "now" to be valuable: "Wherever you are, be there totally".

In fact, it sort of reminded me of Brother Lawrence who tells us to find God in the pots and pans and our daily activities:
Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?
 Both of them remind me that as long as I try to live in either the future or the past, I'm going to be unable to find peace, surrender or the touch of the Divine. The rest of the examples of either a French religious who lived several centuries ago and whose life doesn't resemble mine at all or a New Age guru who hobnobs with Oprah and whose life doesn't resemble mine at all I just ignore. 

I take what edifies and leave the rest.

And that's how I can have wildly divergent spiritual authors sharing my nightstand!

1 comment:

  1. I chuckle as I am just the opposite and the same. I've been reading New Thought/New Age authors for years, but rather recently (the past few years) have found your work and that of James Martin, which I find to be thought provoking and enlightening (as well as quite entertaining).

    I believe that all paths ultimately lead to God. Here here to keeping what feels right and true to you in the moment and discarding the rest.


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