Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-33
I don’t claim to have a perfect understanding of theology or the spiritual world. I believe certain things to be true because results stand the litmus test of human experience, and I confirm them with my own. People around the globe explain the same phenomena, though unrelated to each other. Accounts follow the same pattern, and the way is outlined in sacred texts of spiritual traditions around the globe.
I have spent quite a bit of time comparing multiple pathways because it is a special interest of mine, the spot where passion meets natural ability. Though there are numerous scoffers and always will be, there is a spiritual discipline which runs through sacred texts, not rituals. I have noted elsewhere that I came to understand the teachings of Jesus through the Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga and Eightfold Path in Buddhism. I encountered his teachings anew within them, explained differently than in the culture in which I was raised. All of those customs emphasize following a virtuous path, or narrow way leading to life, based on love and compassion, rather than fear. The narrow road is the pathway to peace and harmony, both inside of a person and in relation to others. This is the message Jesus taught. His ministry was based on love and interiorized spirituality, not fear and exteriorized ritual and force.
If the light is at the end of the tunnel, the path is the entry way to it. Without walking the path as suggested, it isn’t possible to find the tunnel or experience the light. Therefore, people who have not trusted to walk the path have never seen the light, and they say there is no light. Yet I and many others attest the light exists and there is a narrow road leading to it, and that the light represents freedom. Yet even walking the path itself isn’t enough.
No one can cause another to want to walk the road leading to light or soften the heart of another. Religious institutions are incapable of bringing their own flock to understanding, attempting to drive them to it through rules and rituals, rather than opening the heart to spirit. Exteriorized practices do not require subsuming independent will to divine flow. Jesus instructed metaphorically to renounce all, follow him, and that through losing self-will, a greater life in the light would be encountered. He used an example of threading the eye of a needle. Without renunciation, the narrow way cannot be entered, and the pearl of great price will not be found. Yet not one person will renounce material pleasures to embrace a spiritual life unless he is intrinsically motivated to do so. This teaching is parallel to Buddhism’s letting go and Vedanta’s surrendering all.
Participating in religious rituals and prescribing to cultural traditions is not synonymous with following a spiritual path. Rituals tend to mask the true path, as those practices are externalized, and the life of the spirit is born inside of a person. The mind in the central processing unit (brain) is different than the mind of spirit, or eternity. One is a small mind, the other is the big mind where wisdom resides. The pathway begins with renunciation and adherence to virtuous standards, and requires interiorization of attention, self-examination, letting go, and surrender. Only then will the divine light be encountered. Everything up to that point is stumbling through darkness, and missing the narrow gate over and over again.
For more information on my wellness and transformational change programs, visit my site at www.theomshanty.com. More classes will be coming soon. I hope to get to know you and interface through my blog. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. (Peace in body, mind, and spirit.)
Krista is a Certified Life Coach in the areas of Wellness, Transformational Change, and Spirituality who helps people implement an authentic healthy lifestyle, leave behind harmful habits and behaviors, and step into their highest potential. She is also a Certified Meditation Instructor and Yoga Teacher. For more information on her transformational change, wellness programs, and coaching visit www.theomshanty.com.