“Choose something, because map is not territory, and the recipe is not the meal.” Jay Michaelson
Western culture sees the goal of study as the accumulation of knowledge, or, at least, gleaning of information; whether skimming or reading, the intent is usually to take out the useful points and proceed further. Gathering soundbites of information; nothing with real depth. How however, do you get to the depth of anything?
So often I hear people saying that they will not limit themselves to one teacher, as they are afraid of becoming “spiritual clones”. In our times individuality and individual freedom is highly prized. Generally, most seekers I have come across on the spiritual path started their journey in reaction to conformity, afraid of being boxed into one path or becoming stuck in one ray of the light continuum. I was no different, in fact, I proudly thought of myself as a Ronin – a masterless spiritual warrior wandering from one source of wisdom teaching to another.
In today’s world, we are bombarded by books, articles and courses on every aspect of spirituality. Yet sooner or later one realizes that to go beyond the frontiers of the known, you have to make sacrifices. Why would you want to settle for one relationship instead of enjoying the freedom of many relationships? Although in our early years of searching it is good to sample all the teachings available, we must learn to sacrifice breadth for depth. You can be versed in fractions of many languages but you can not have an in depth conversation, unless you learn at least one language in depth.
Sacrifice and discipline are words shunned in today’s world of instant gratification, yet without sacrifice, we will not reach any form of mastery, neither in ourselves nor in anything.
The word sacrifice comes from a root meaning to make sacred or to sanctify. In Hebrew the word for sacrifice means to draw near, specifically, to draw near to the Divine. Drawing near to the divine requires self-restraint, and thus sacrifice is an act of restraint, whether the restricted use of a sacred object or an act of self-restraint through which we ourselves are made sacred or holy through purification. One might say that the entire mystical journey is a path of purification in that, when all things obstructing the truth and light are removed, our innate divinity naturally shines from the depth of our being. Sacrifice in essence implies a letting go of something inferior for something superior and suggests an uplifting of something, or the transformation of something from a lower form to a higher form.
Only by choosing can you begin to experience and will be able to know what the “map” or “recipe” is alluding to; what experiences are hidden behind the symbols.
“The finger pointing to the moon.”