roads lead to Rome. So too, there are many different paths of action
and understanding that lead to Truth. In fact, ultimately, there are
as many ways of experiencing Truth as there are individuals. Each of
us must make our own way through the experiences and situations that
life presents to us.
If we examine humanity's major religions we find at its root a man or
woman seeking the highest Truth: Jesus fasting and praying in the desert;
Siddhartha Gautama–the Buddha–meditating under the Bodhi
Tree, and many others.
Unfortunately, with time, the initial Truth which the Masters express
becomes steeped in dogma and superstition as a result of the greed and
desires of others. It is the task of each seeker to separate the true
teachings from the interpretations, to find the essential truths buried
beneath the ideas of others.
The ultimate Truth to which teachers point spiritual seekers has been
referred to by various names: God, Truth, Nirvana, Yahweh, Allah, the
Father, the Mother, Heaven and so forth. Let us not be confused by names.
A river may flow through three or four different countries. People in
these various countries will call the flowing water by a different name
or word and yet it is still the same river. Let us travel beyond words
into the realm of experience; let us explore the common thread that
unites these compatible teachings.
Words, ideas and beliefs provide us with a workable blueprint of reality,
although they cannot fully represent existence. What we need to satisfy
our inner hunger for higher knowledge is not words but rather direct
experience. To read about mountain climbing is a far cry from actually
climbing a mountain.
Beliefs based on the ideas of others soon break down under the pressures
and difficult experiences we face in life. Death is a good example.
To believe in heaven or reincarnation gives us a feeling of security,
yet upon the death of someone we love our theories crumble into a sea
of sorrow. It is only knowledge based on our direct experience that
can help us with difficult moments in our lives. If one actually knew,
from direct experience, what happens at the moment of death, that knowledge
would replace the despair of unknowing. From the teachings of spiritual
masters we should seek the inspiration and guidance to experience the
ultimate Truth for ourselves. I have chosen a variety of sources upon
which to build this book.
These include the Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Dhammapada, the
Old Testament, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the teachings
of the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, and the Qur'an.