The spiritual experience is both personal and subjective. The spiritual experience must be personalized. It must have your stamp of unique interpretation. Even if you follow an ancient tradition it’s important to honor your point of view as it relates to the experience you’re having in that moment. Otherwise you’re just following someone else’s trip and your individuality will dull.
There’s been a wonderful metaphor floating around in my head for awhile. Imagine that you are in someones living room. On the wall are some various photos perhaps and in the corner is a vase with flowers. The room has different things to look at depending on where you’re sitting. Now imagine sitting in the middle of the room with a group of friends sitting in a circle. In the middle of the circle is a glass of water. Clear, transparent and half full. If you ask anyone of your friends to describe the glass in the middle of the circle they would give a similar but slightly differentiated response. For instance, one might say “yes. i see the glass and through it I see Tara’s shimmery red dress on the other side. Someone else might say “Yes. the glass is full and and clear and abundant” while another might say “it’s half empty and just boring cup of water,” forgetting to see the bigger picture. And then maybe a wise highly aware friend could say “the glass is so full of life and prosperity. Behind it I see beautiful souls shimmering and many great vast landscapes beyond the glass.”
This is very much like the spiritual journey. There may be a common goal we are all seeking or looking for but the vantage points are all different. We all see the same glass but in many different contexts coming from many different angles. It’s true that most of us come to the spiritual path through some kind of “issue” or “challenge” that one has faced. For some of us it might be more mundane like being disillusioned and let down by the path of corporate America so the spirit called to provoke one to try a new line of work. And for some of us it might be much more intense – destructive paths like drug addiction or abusive relationships no longer have a hold on us through the little tingle of enlightenment that we’ve found through connecting with God. Whatever the case may be, they are all equally meaningful and valid.
When one strips dogma aside I think any spiritual master would tell you that authenticity and sincerity is all that’s required to embark on your journey. May we all view the glass and drink the water.