There is a term in mountain climbing called “Peak Bagging”. This is when climbers go to a mountain range that has several peaks of notoriety and they climb each one in a “check this one off the list manner”.
Purist will say that they have missed the point of the climb; that it is not about getting to said geographical location but instead to experience fully that which is to be discovered, as did the original explorers. The peak baggers say it is great motivation.
This reminds me of spiritual seekers; myself included. Going from one technique to another, as if the accumulation of superficial knowledge of a certain technique will lead to anything real and sustainable.
Like the mountaineers, seekers often find it very motivating to try something new.
Here are some reasons why we may ping-pong from one technique to the next:
- We hear that one technique is “faster” or easier than another.
- Technology says that it has the answer. (Binaural beats anyone?)
- Science: We find that one technique has been studied and amazing results have been found.
- A source of a particular technique is more pure, from an unbroken lineage for example, or divinely received, so it must be better.
- The guy or girl we like is into a particular practice, so…
The reality is that learning about ourselves is about what happens after we unpackage the technique. It is like worrying about the package your food comes in instead of the actual food itself. The actual food is YOU. There may be many different wrappers, but once they are unwrapped, it is always the same nutritious you inside.
Breathe in the aroma, taste the wisdom, binge on the love that you find. Drink the spontaneous devotion.
There is an infinite buffet of treasures within. Don’t get caught up in the branding of a particular technique and miss the sweet stuff that it has inside.
Deep Water is Still Water
Here is the deal. Whatever practice you decide to do, whether it is mantra meditation, Transcendental meditation, Mindfulness, Kundalini, practices of the heart (Metta), the invitation is to go deep.
Stay with a practice a while, let it sink in. This might be for a year or two or much longer. This is not to say you can’t have more than one technique in your repertoire (I do) but stick with them. If you like to have a devotional aspect to your practice, along with a more concentration based techniques, great, but do those deeply.
Keep traveling inward, get your butt on the cushion. This is where the feast is, in the silence, in the depths.