We are confronted by such a huge array of religions, philosophies and spiritual teachings that we are often left wondering which is right path and which is wrong path. They cant all be right, can they?
The muslims say there is no God except Allah, the Hindus say God has many forms, the buddhists don’t believe in an almighty creator, the christians say that the only way to peace is through Jesus. I spent years being confused by these differences. I threw myself into the experience of all these paths in the hope of finding out which one was the right one. The problem was that i had life changing mystical experiences in all of them, this left me more confused than ever. i met muslim saints, christians who were at peace, hindu holy men and women, enlightened buddhists, wise men and women of every religion and some who had no religion at all. i found them all deeply spiritual, wise and inspiring.
In time i came to realise that the form our faith takes is completely irrelevant, whatever name and form you have for God is besides the point, whether or not you believe in a God at all is besides the point. It is not our beliefs or ideas that are important but our intent, our actions and the attitude we have towards ourselves and others. Love, compassion, tolerance, wisdom, it is these things that are important, it is these things that the saints of all religions have revealed.
Many people seem to be stuck in the misconception that their opinions are important, that the things they think about life, about God and about truth are so important that everyone else must think what they think and accept the truth as they see it. They live in a world of right and wrong, and they are of course right. They pick apart views, faiths and religions other than their own, but absorbed in belief, intellectual concepts and dogmatic understandings they miss the point entirely. This is not spirituality, this is not the message of faith, of truth, of the buddhas or the saints.
If we look at the many different paths we realise that the only thing that is important is selflessness and love. While the opinions about God, life and truth differ wildly there is a core message of selflessness and love that is apparent in all of them. It is this core message that is the path, everything else is just window dressing. It really doesn’t matter what you think about God, life or the universe. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, if you pray to Shiva, Allah or no God at all. It is love that is important, it is love that transforms, it is love that saves, it is love that reveals the higher nature of things. It is selflessness that give rise to this love. When the selfishness that plagues our mind is overthrown selflessness is born. It is then that we become the expression of love, compassion and wisdom that the saints speak of. It is selflessness and love that are important, when we lose sight of this we lose sight of truth.
And so my conclusion is that yes, all the paths and religions are right, they are all valid. It is not so much the path that is important but the attitude of the one who walks it.
image credit : Esparta h. koppdelaney