Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Jean-Louis de Biasi, author of Secrets and Practices of the Freemasons, The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis, and Rediscover the Magick of the Gods and Goddesses, and the forthcoming Esoteric Freemasonry. Jean-Louis is also Lifetime Grand Master of the Ordo Aurum Solis and Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross.
A common idea today is that spiritual paths are all the same. This idea most likely came from the Eastern Hindu philosophy. I like very much the representation I read forty years ago in a book written by a Yogi. In his description, all the spiritual paths can be compared to various ladders placed around the house. All of them allow people to climb to the terrace at the top of the House. This is a beautiful symbol and quite easy to understand. It made sense to me and I think I deeply connected to this belief.
Years later, I began to hear around me voices claiming almost the same thing: “It doesn’t matter what ladder you take,” said these voices, “they are all the same.”
It is always good to question everything, to challenge our usual way of thinking. Today I am not absolutely sure these spiritual paths are the same. Like the ladders of the story, they are different. Some are made of metal, others of wood. Some are large, others thin. Some are very dangerous to use, while others are comfortable. I could go on and on regarding these differences. No, the ladders are not all the same and neither are the spiritual paths. It takes only a few seconds on the Internet to confirm this conclusion. Religions, spiritualities, and Initiatic Orders are different in their practices and rituals. Of course, you can find common ritual tools. We are all humans and we found quite similar things to express the sacred. A prayer-bead is such example. Religions provide various explanations about the divine, the after-life, the nature of the soul, etc. I want to emphasize this point. Several theologies explain these things differently and even contradictorily. The way in which the ancient Egyptian religion describes the after-life is really different from Buddhism or Christianity. The practice of the path can be also very different and almost the opposite. Christianity is based on faith. “Believe in Jesus and you will be saved,” state the Christian texts. In the Western Theurgic path, however, experimentation, learning, and questioning must guide you. These are different approaches. I am not saying that one is superior to another; I am just showing here that huge differences exist and that they were and still are the origin of crimes, wars, and all kinds of fearful behaviors.
We live today in a world where religious fundamentalists believe their ladder must be the only one. It doesn’t matter if you think that all ladders are good; they plan to destroy all the others. We must urgently come to the realization that spiritual paths are not all the same.
This is why it is important to consider the path before deciding to use it. Rationality is important when we consider such an endeavor. We are born in a specific culture. We cannot really choose our color and family; nor did we choose our education as children. It was once the same for spirituality and religion. However, now we can.
Keeping in mind that all religions are not the same, we will be able to see the differences more clearly. As a consequence, the choice of a path closer to you will be easier. Don’t try to mix everything before learning a tradition. Usually, spiritual paths are old and it takes time to learn the one you choose. You need a mentor, a teacher who has been trained in the path. Then after a few months or years, you will be able to know if this path resonates deeply in you and if you want to make it your sacred and inner axis.
Of course, you will respect other paths and even after a few years, see them differently. However, you have to decide which ladder you want to choose to climb onto this house. You cannot climb several ladders at the same time. You have to choose one. Neither can you climb a few steps on one, go to another to do the same, and so one. You have to decide after examination. It is always better that we ourselves decide, rather than allowing someone else to decide for us. Once on the ladder, we ascend, and we will speak another time about what we will find on the terrace… Will it be the same for all?
Our thanks to Jean-Louis for his guest post! Visit Jean-Louis de Biasi’s author page for more information, including articles and his books.