Over the last week there have been wonderful discussions and sharings here (three posts down: ‘Should I follow just one Spiritual Path?’) and on the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids message board about the issue of inclusivity on the spiritual journey. To me, these discussions have shown just how important it is for us to share our insights at this time. In the old days, the model tended to be: teacher speaks to pupil. Pupil listens and perhaps asks a question. Teacher speaks some more. But times have changed. When I trained at the Institute of Psychosynthesis we worked with a different educational model. There was a guide who seeded ideas, asked key questions and helped with keeping us on track, but the learning took place in circles and amongst us as we meditated, wrote down our own insights, then discussed the ideas in pairs or larger groups. The learning was incredible – dynamic and deep. And although using internet groups can’t possibly be the same as meeting up regularly in the flesh, even so with these sharings I’ve had the same sensation as I read everyone’s contributions. It feels as if we are ‘building understanding’ together.
Because I posted the idea and poll in both this blog and the OBOD forum I created the rather odd situation of having similar discussions occurring in two different places. In each place different insights were offered, so if you haven’t peeked, have a look at the other discussion here, I think you’ll find that it will add to the insights gained from the discussion here.
One of the striking characteristics of India, and of Hinduism in particular, is the way differences are embraced. ‘Unity in Diversity’ is a motto often heard there, and there really is a sense that one is free to embrace, explore, express different approaches to the Divine in an atmosphere of generous inclusion. As a Professor of Religious Studies whom I met in Nagpur said on reading the discussion: “Just as the old saying ‘all roads lead to Rome’, similarly the Indian view of life is not very much concerned as to the path you follow, as long as the path takes you to your desired goal: ‘Anandam’ happiness or bliss…We are all children of Mother Earth ‘Prithvi’.
Having visited the Jain temple I mentioned in ‘Nagpur Diary,’ I then went to the top of Ramtek hill above it, where there were Hindu temples, with cows and monkeys rubbing shoulders with pilgrims and locals. And every so often there was the ubiquitous ‘Shiva Lingam’ symbolising wholeness and the union of the masculine and feminine principles.