Grazing from the Spiritual Salad Bar

“Any path is only a path …Look at every path closely and deliberately.  Try it as many times as you think necessary.  Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question…Does this path have a heart?  If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use”.


The Teachings of Don Juan

Carlos Castaneda


I’m tired of people who knock personal spirituality calling it “cafeteria spirituality”, “smorgasbord religion” or a “spiritual salad bar”, as if that’s a bad thing.  As thinking adults, we’re allowed to order off the menu – we don’t have to eat whatever mom puts in front of us.  


The earth is approximately 4.54 billion years old. Humans have been on the earth for 200,000 years.  Hinduism is considered the world’s oldest extant religion. Historians believe that is has been around for about 5,000 years.  So, realistically, organized religion hasn’t been around all that long – who’s to say one religion has figured it out yet?  Who’s to say any single belief is right?  Who’s to say every religion isn’t true in some way?  Did you play telephone as a child – should we really think that the oral stories passed down, only written down after hundreds of years, are the true, correct, unadulterated, unbiased, actual, factual, stories?  Historians know they are not. 


No, thank you – I’d rather be open to everything – lifting ideas up, holding them to the light, pondering them, feeling them in my soul – and deciding if they resonate for me.  Sometimes these beliefs I collect are easy to swallow – sometimes quiet difficult – but they ring true for me. The beliefs I embrace are not all pretty and easy – but I can tell when they’re nourishing to the soul.  I don’t need 10 Rules to keep me in order; in my heart, I KNOW right from wrong – I KNOW the right path – I KNOW what I should be doing.  If more people tuned into their own commandments, their own spiritual guide – their TRUE spiritual guide (not what they convince themselves is right), I think we would all be better off.


Yes, those of us who choose our own personal spirituality run the risk of picking and choosing only those parts that fit our lifestyle, feel good, look good or are easy for us.  But, don’t some Christians do the same thing?  How many Christians are out there committing adultery, lying, and coveting?  Who keeps the Sabbath holy these days? Yet, many look down their noses at people like me – I’m a Christian (with a capital “C”) which means I’m better than you are.  I, on the other hand, don’t have a label to hold up like a shield, but I try to live my life as honestly as possible – sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing miserably – but, nonetheless, making my own decisions.


If we are truly divine beings or if we truly have the divine within us – can’t we tap into that divinity and know the truth for ourselves without it being crammed down our throat in one big package – hook, line and sinker?


 For me,  I’d like to order the Buddhism medium-rare, with a side of Gnosticism, hold the salt, and some creamy Sufism for dessert, please.


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