there is a well known Zen metaphor regarding teachings, doctrines, traditions that I will paraphrase, that says such things are “fingers pointing to the moon, they are not the moon.”
this quote from John Shelby Spong, is similar. there’s some humility here and awe. we can be curious and look for answers, engage the Great Mystery with an openness that isn’t bound by an absolutism (which has more to do with our own ego) that can devolve into a hubris that inspires war, oppression, and harm. such absolutism is more about fear and finding answers that give us comfort or a sense of security – even a false sense of security. it is also boring. with all the answers, there’s nothing left for life to teach us. life is always teaching, there’s always more to wake up to.
our path doesn’t have to be a specifically religious or spiritual one either. an approach that is open, curious, and filled with awe, is also a path of reverence, and allows life to teach us. this is the most important aspect – to not be closed off, to not feel we have arrived at all the answers, and have solved the entire mystery, even if we have had realizations, aha moments, and feel we have encountered the Divine or the truth. we can hold such moments and experiences with gratitude, even being devout in our practices and path, but we hold it all with an open hand, ready to receive, to learn, to grow, and evolve. even while having our own path or practice tradition, or none at all, we can be open to the wisdom and insight held in other paths and practices. this is the way life is. when we look at nature, we see such beautiful diversity, nuance, and interdependence. every part has its place that benefits the whole – an orchestra with varying instruments that together make beautiful music.
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