Thursday, February 18, 2010
There Are Many Paths Up The Same Mountain
This is something that my mother always used to say. She was referring to the fact that people like different things. Be it food, religion or sexual practices, there is never one thing that all people can agree upon. One would think that we as humans would have figured that one out en mass, but wars still erupt in the name of all that is sacred because someone can't simply agree that it is okay to prefer something different.
I remember being at a gathering of shamen a number of years ago. At this particular gathering we each took turns doing anything from menial tasks to leading ceremonies. The understood rule of thumb was (and this is something that is embedded in shamanic teachings) "If you are in my circle or in my hut we do it my way". This eliminates the need for anyone to be distracted by the pesky thoughts like, "Jeez, that isn't how I was taught" and allows every participant to simply truly be present for the event, be it washing dishes or performing Soul Retrieval.
I have actually had to tell some people who have griped and complained, in my circles, that they disagree with how I had done something or other because their tradition states that it should be done such and such a way, that when they advance to a level of being a circle leader and I am in their circle gathering they can do it whatever way they prefer, but as long as they are a guest in my circle gathering they can zip it. Most often this creates uproarious laughter in the circle, but the point gets across. When you are in my hut, you do it my way. I offer the very same courtesy when I am in another shaman's hut. That is shamanism 101: No judgements of traditions or practices because they are all correct for their own reasons. If you personally have a problem with whatever is going on you have the option of graciously exiting the event, but you don't bash it before, during or after. You simply remove yourself.
There are many paths up the same mountain. Which one we take depends upon what is the most resonant for any one of us. That is just the way it is.