It is a common belief that there are many paths leading to self-realization that are suited to people of different temperaments. There is the path of practice, the path of self-knowledge, the path of devotion and so on. However, are these paths leading to the same place or is that wishful thinking? How can a path that is in itself incomplete lead us to spiritual completion? If we were to limit our child’s development to his mind alone, neglecting his creative, physical or emotional faculties, what kind of human being would he become? It is no different in our spiritual evolution. The concept that there are many paths is just another way to justify our lack of wholeness, based on a refusal to use all the resources that we have been given towards our internal evolution.
When we enter the spiritual path, no one is a tabula rasa; when we incarnate on the earth we carry the continuity of our previous evolution with us. As such, we tend to be attracted to a spiritual path that resonates with our past inclinations. It is natural that a seeker would choose a path that suits his proclivities; if intellect is his strength, he would have more chance of succeeding on the path of self-knowledge and so on. However, the danger is that he will remain undeveloped in other areas, areas which are essential for him to realize spiritual completion. We are multidimensional beings and all those dimensions need to be included in our evolution. The metaphor that there are many paths that lead to the summit of the mountain does not suitably reflect the nature of human evolution. It would be more accurate to say that different paths lead to the summits of different mountains. One may indeed be climbing a mountain, but it is not Mount Everest. There are many mountains in the inner realm; in fact most of them are more like small hills within a vast range of snowy peaks.
It is the responsibility of each seeker to aspire to become whole and to intuit, based on a sense of inner incompleteness, what is still lacking inside. On the other hand, the responsibility of a true spiritual teaching is to reflect the human journey to completion and not to offer its followers half-truths or illusions of self-realization.
The spiritual realm is like any other area of reality: it can never be fully grasped. Therefore any spiritual teaching that is aligned with the unfoldment of truth must evolve; it is impossible that any master of the past has revealed the complete truth. It is similar to science or physics: there is no final conclusion but rather a constant process of reaching higher understanding. And to grasp the nature of the ultimate reality is infinitely more complex than to find the smallest particle in the atom. In the dark ages, scientists were repressed by religious fanatics and it is those same dogmatists who hold on to past traditions as representations of the ultimate truth. These people lack the imagination to grasp the dynamic nature of spiritual enfoldment. Someone who is free enough to explore the higher horizons of truth perceives past traditions gratefully as stepping stones to higher knowledge, not as an unquestionable authority. The mind has to be free to receive true inspiration and the revelation of a new understanding.
The path of consciousness, the path of the heart or the path of being, of the source, are not necessarily different paths on the same mountain slope. In isolation from each other they are actually on different mountains separated by deep valleys. It is a common error is to think that everyone who is enlightened is in exactly the same state. In truth, they might be in very different states, so different that they have almost nothing in common. That different spiritual traditions appear to have coherent dialogues with one another is not an indication that the same state has been reached. Rather, the same conventional and imprecise terms are being used to describe very different states of realization. Not all paths lead to the same realization. The path of consciousness leads to the realization of consciousness and only consciousness, meaning by following such a path one will not reach the absolute, which is the unmanifested source of creation, or awaken to the dimension of love. Similarly, the path of devotion cannot lead to the awakening of consciousness, and so on.
There is only one path because that path must include everything, otherwise one remains fragmented. Sometimes to reach a fragmented realization is worse than having no realization at all. The only way to become complete is to follow holistic evolution, as all the aspects of our internal reality are interconnected. For instance, even if through following a particular path one awakens consciousness, it is still not pure consciousness, our complete consciousness. For pure consciousness to be realized it must be actualized within the context of the whole soul. Consciousness that is disconnected from the heart and being cannot arrive at its natural state.
There is only one path to reality. There are many paths to illusion, there are many paths to nowhere, and there are many paths to an incomplete realization of reality. The most common paths are those that lead to nowhere. Some of them are very elaborated, well-respected and trusted due to their long heritage. But no one reaches anywhere and no one seems to mind. Spirituality is often a game through which one can abide upon the thought that one is on some kind of path. Reaching anything substantial is not the aim of the game; it is a game of hoping, of being a good seeker, of feeling spiritual and of giving one’s power to gurus or teachings that do not deliver what they promise. There is always tomorrow or the day after – or is there?
There is only one path: the holistic path to become whole and complete. This path is not based on projecting our hope into tomorrow, or giving away our power to a guru or to grace of an unknown origin, nor is it based on doing endless practice or meditation. The one path is based on awakening to our pure nature from the very beginning and from that awakening, to unfold into other dimensions of awakening and ultimately into the complete realization. The one path is based on the actualization of our true self, our sacred individuality, within the context of surrender into the universal reality. Such a path is not based on arbitrary philosophy but is a pure reflection of the nature of human evolution.
Holistic evolution must include the awakening of our complete self. An incomplete awakening is not only incomplete because is partial, but because each state of awakening needs to be linked with other states of awakening in order to become complete within itself. As we have said, a path of consciousness which stops at the awakening of consciousness does not lead to the correct realization of consciousness. In order to reach its pure nature, consciousness must be unified with the heart and the absolute and then be realized in the context of soul-awakening. On the other hand, the soul cannot be awakened if our me, the essence of our personal identity, is not awakened and then surrendered and merged into the soul. Consciousness alone is empty and incomplete and it remains powerless to transform our human self or to serve as a true platform for our transcendence.
Similarly, the heart alone means almost nothing; it is blind without consciousness. Without intelligence, which is a faculty of consciousness, the heart has no wisdom. People often speak about the wisdom of the heart, but the heart is actually very naive and confused. For its wisdom to be actualized it must be linked to the soul and there is no soul without consciousness. Consciousness gives the heart a stability and continuity of identity, a true silence upon which the heart can embrace its own presence. Paths of devotion can perhaps open the heart energetically, but are not geared towards heart-realization because that energy of devotion is outwardly oriented. In truth, for the heart to be realized it must be internalized; its I am has to be awakened in separation from any external objects of devotion. Additionally, the complete heart has to realize not only the quality of love but also of peace and stillness. These qualities cannot enter into the heart unless it is merged with the source, unless it is rooted in the depth of being. For the heart to be truly actualized it must be illuminated by consciousness and absorbed in the absolute; it must be in samadhi to become the true heart of the soul. Finally, for our heart to be complete it must be awakened and embodied as the very essence and identity of our soul.
Similarly, the realization of the absolute is rare without first having awakened consciousness. If the absolute is realised alone, one cannot enter the state deeply or render it permanent due to the lack of continuity of identity based on consciousness. Continuity of surrender requires continuity of presence and freedom from the mind, and this cannot be realized without the proper awakening of consciousness. Then, without adding the qualities of the heart to the realization of the absolute, it reflects more a negative emptiness and absence than a true, positive and fulfilling samadhi. No one really wants to enter into the cold, empty space of the cosmos and live there. Emptiness is the open space of existence that has to be filled with the light of creation in order to manifest the ultimate fulfilment. The absolute without the heart is like a dry desert without trees and flowers, without true beauty and above all – without love. Additionally, the absolute needs the heart to serve as both an energetic and existential bridge to consciousness. Consciousness cannot merge with the source without going through the heart first. In traditions which do not actively work with the heart, consciousness can never reach surrender.
There is only one path. This path can be approached from different angles according to the constitution of each soul, but it is still one path – the great way of the self into itself. Any path that leads to an incomplete awakening cannot serve as a platform for the realization of our complete self. While that path may be valuable in its own right and for a certain time, a seeker has to move on and continue his evolution beyond its framework and limitations. Certainly, there have been beings who became whole within the structure of traditions that were not based on the vision of wholeness. While our mind may be conditioned in certain ways, our soul is not bound by any tradition. Rather, she is using them to promote her awakening. As such she may become complete even within the framework of an incomplete teaching. However, a path that addresses our holistic evolution and contains the understanding of our multidimensional self can take any mature soul much closer to and more quickly towards the fulfilment of her evolutionary purpose, while preventing evolutionary stagnation or regression.
Evolution towards our complete self is very complex and without having the correct vision of our holistic path, not only will it be much slower but we may never reach our destination; we might end up falling into one of the countless pitfalls on the path, losing valuable time and wasting our life’s purpose. A seeker has to use his intelligence, deeper intuition, spiritual sensitivity and discrimination to become finely tuned to the evolution of his soul. He must constantly expand his horizons, activate his inspiration, question his understanding and seek a way to become increasingly whole. He cannot rest until he has realized his pure nature and become one with his original light. To become whole is to be a pure reflection of universal perfection in the dew drop of individuality. Our destiny is to embody this perfection and become a divine being, our ultimate and complete self.
* For a glossary of the terminology used in this teaching and for further resources, you may visit our website www.Aaditeaching.com