I tried to find who said “There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same”. Of course, a dozen sources came up including Buddha, Jesus and Confucius. It doesn’t really matter because I think it is relevant in many lines of thought.
In my Huna studies, the quote was used to indicate that people make different choices to get to the same place. I like this concept and see it as useful when talking about healing, wisdom and enlightenment.
There must be dozens of ways to get rid of a headache. Take aspirin, drink a lot of water, get acupuncture, use Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), etc. People will try one thing, then another until they find one that works. It’s great that we have a choice.
The danger is when we decide that there is only one way to get rid of a headache and keep trying that approach over and over until it works. The “one approach” approach rarely gets results. We get frustrated and begin blaming the approach. “I’ve tried this a hundred times and it still doesn’t work!”
Attaining wisdom works the same way. Some people expect it will all come from a book. Others sit in a meadow all day and meditate. Some people go to a different workshop every weekend with the hope that they’ll find a teacher who will give them what they want.
There are roughly 20 major religions on this planet and dozens of smaller belief systems. More than anything else, this shows me that there are many paths to enlightenment. I think it’s great that people have a choice. Red flags go up for me, though, when any of them professes to be the “one true path”. According to whom is it the only path up the mountain?
The world might be a more compassionate place if we all had the belief in many paths up the mountain to enlightenment. We don’t even need to agree on what enlightenment is. That sense in us that there is something waiting for us on that mountaintop is enough to connect us all.
Remember, too, that everyone walks on their path at a different pace. We may all not meet up there at the same time, or in the same lifetime. That’s more reason to support each other on the path we choose, at the pace we choose to walk it.
“There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same” works for me on many levels. It reminds me that we are all on a journey in this life. We will have some interesting stories to tell each other about our different paths up the mountain.
Keep climbing and I’ll see you at the top!