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Total commitment

Nov 22, 1996 08:56 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

A recent post on Medit-l has inspired some questions both
philosophical and factual that I'd like to pose.  It was a very
eloquent post but sans permission I won't quote, simply
paraphrase.  The gist was that you can't serve two Masters, and
that any spiritual path requires whole-hearted and total
commitment in order to really produce self-transformation.
Although we should have respect for other paths, whatever one
we have chosen should be trusted enough to suffice for our
spiritual needs.  That's not said as well as he did, but gives
the essence; he said he'd learned this by experience.

This produces a divided response in me.  My heart says yes,
this is indeed true.  Having been at various times a Caycean/
Theosophist/Gurdjieffian/Satchidanandist/Shabd Yogi (with
various levels of commitment) my spiritual life has been
rather like Windows running several programs at once.  Lately I
have returned to reexamine my first focus on Cayce,
which has unexpectedly become a whole-hearted and total
commitment-- more so than Theosophy or any other has ever been.
And that does feel more right than being scattered
all over the place, ambivalent about several different paths.

On the other hand, my head says no, you maximize your learning
potential by immersion in many different traditions, it's
better to be with your ambivalence than to flee from it, and
diversity rather than one-pointedness seems to characterize the
people who have struck me as being spiritually awakened.

This either/or, unlike monogamy vs. polygamy, is probably
really a both/and.  At times our evolution requires studying
several spiritualities at once (as in undergraduate school) but
at other times whole-hearted devotion to a single path is
called for (as in graduate school).

Theosophists seem to definitely be spiritual polygamists by and
large.  Most I've met have been, anyway.  But at the tops of
all the organization are monogamous Theosophists who see
Theosophy as their single whole-hearted commitment.  Maybe in
light of the teaching about serving more than one Master, they
really have it right and the ES is not such a bad idea (apart
from its political machinations).  On the other hand, they are
somewhat hypocritical in welcoming polygamous people into the
organization, but then subtly putting them down and saying
"Only we hundred-percenters really count."

I would welcome anyone's philosophical reflections on this
issue, or personal comments, or description of how you perceive
Theosophists generally in this regard and how it affects the

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