Half a Chicken?

Ancient sages tell of a farmer who became quite concerned about his chickens. Seeing them lay an abundance of eggs pleased him very much, but the fact that he had to constantly feed them was annoying. He came up with a ‘master plan’ to cut their heads off and simply keep the useful half. Needless to say, as he waited for the eggs to emerge he was quite disappointed.

Many of us on the spiritual journey may be modern versions of this farmer. Often, we accept and embrace the principles and practices of a particular spiritual path that sit comfortably with us. We have no problems with those things we enjoy and can quite straightforwardly implement into our present lifestyle. However, it’s a little more uncomfortable when we confront the aspects that challenge us and implore changes to our present ways of thinking, feeling and living. Thus, selectively mixing and matching different traditions has become quite popular and trendy.

One may argue that there is genuine spiritual wisdom in different traditions and spheres of life. We totally agree. However, the conclusion that you can take a little bit from everywhere, merge it together and come up with your own personalized philosophy in life, doesn’t sit too well. It’s almost like picking different parts of different recipes in different cook-books, and expecting a succulent cuisine to manifest after you randomly throw it all together.

Great books of wisdom like the Bhagavad-gita do not present an ultimatum of ‘all or nothing’. At the same time, it may be worth considering that the great success of these ancient books in giving people direct spiritual realization lies in the fact that they have outlined a spiritual process which is comprehensive and complete – philosophically and practically.

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