Spiritual teachers have traditionally advised people to stick to whatever spiritual tradition it is they grew up in. In Zen Buddhism this is true to the point where one teacher who became the head of a tradition not his own was seen as not quite at his ease. (source)
It’s true of course: switching traditions is an emotional rolarcoaster. It’s like changing jobs, getting a divorce, moving to a different city. All things that used to be rare and not done, or even warned against by religious authority. And all things that in todays world just can’t be avoided.
In todays world, sticking to one spiritual path is perhaps more an expression of fear than a positive tendency to commit. What should be clear, but in practice isn’t, that when it’s time to go, one should go. That’s what I’m doing. I felt I needed to make this clear publicly, perhaps as some personal catharsis, but also because I’ve been an online PR machine for theosophy for years.
I’m looking forward to doing some new age shopping. I never felt the inclination, but I do think it’s time. I don’t think I’ll find anything to replace the TS in my life: can’t expect any one organisation to fit my criteria. What I can expect however is more food for growth, a widening of perspectives, and perhaps…. health.
When spiritual teachers advise sticking to one path they have a few things to say for it:
- One never gets to know the nuances of any tradition without commitment
- It takes safety to grow: a known social structure can help
However, what they leave out is:
- One can get stuck in one view on the path. What if that perspective just doesn’t suit you?
- The safety of the social structure can turn into a self made prison
In a world as fast changing as ours, expecting one organisation to have all the answers is simply naive. I don’t think I ever fell for that trap. I did however fall in the trap of wanting to shape that organisation (the Theosophical Society in my case) in my image. Living MY best life is work enough. I think for now I’ll stick to it. Organisations like the TS will simply have to deal with people like me. That is: with shoppers.