Once upon a time, a Teacher met with three seekers, who inquired about meditation practice. The Teacher listened to the situation of each, and after consideration, instructed the first one to meditate constantly, the second one to meditate from time to time, and the third one not to meditate at all. After the three continued on their way, a fourth student, who overheard these conversations, approached the Teacher, and complained.
“I do not understand. I just heard you instruct one person to meditate constantly, another to meditate from time to time, and a third not to meditate at all. If you are going to be so inconsistent, how am I supposed to know what to do?”
The Teacher replied, “Was I talking to you?”
When we considered installing a Letters page, we were reminded of this venerable story. By definition, a letter is personal, a communication from one person to another. And, properly, the reply is equally personal and directed. So, if one were to receive the same letter from two different people, the reply to each might be, probably would be, different. And the apparent contradiction would go unnoticed until both letters were posted on a bulletin board for everyone else to read. Perhaps the lesson is that we can learn from reading others’ mail if we remember that it was not written to us, and so it may or may not be relevant, or partially relevant, to our situation. In a word, the spiritual path is unique to each of us, and therefore so are our needs and practices along it. As you read here, please keep that in mind.
Also, please understand that we can speak with authority only about the path we have traveled, and only from the perspective of our experience along that path. For us, our path has been a fine, even a miraculous, path. But is it the only fine, miraculous path? Is it even the best fine, miraculous path? Of course not. It is, simply, the only fine, miraculous path we know and have experienced personally. And, as it is not really ours, we are happy to share it with others.
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