A Comparison of Meditation Practices
By: Glenn Robert Erikson
New York, NY
Visualize a mountain rising in the midst of a wide desert. There are many individual paths leading from various points at the base of the mountain up to the coolness of its high peak. Yet there is only one way to the top. Up.
So it is with the methods that follow. We naturally start at different points at the base of the mountain, for we come from many different cultures, religious traditions, or schools of thought, and have differing interests and abilities. So while there are many paths, all good, there is only the one way. Often, well on our journey, we find our way blocked. It could appear suddenly like a cliff or boulder. Or perhaps the path we’re on just reaches a plateau, with no way that we can see to ascend higher. We realize we need to find another path.
Sometimes, looking at this mountain from a great distance, it may appear that one path is better for everybody. This is a mirage. First, there are always other paths that cannot be seen. From any point of view. Especially while our feet are on the desert’s floor. Second, the mountain has a large circumference. Often, for one person, the trip halfway around the mountain to another tradition may be a long, tiring, unnecessary journey. Yet again, for another individual this may be the only way. Finally, on what basis can any one of us really judge which is a better path for another? If nothing else, how can we know what trials and sufferings another needs to go through?
Eventually, each of us finds that every path has its particular benefits and compromises. It’s own beauty. We remind ourselves that the only way to the top is up, we confirm in our hearts that we feel good about the path we’ve chosen to take, or we look for another, and we try not to worry too much when others’ paths seem to differ from ours. We act out of love and respect for our brothers and sisters as they take ownership of their spiritual journeys..