i have been talking with people on the internet,on different forums,and they all follow different paths to God.
at the end of my conversations i feel very confused,i find myself thinking a lot about what was said to me.
at the end of it all,i am left uncertain about what is the right path for me,also the question arises as to whether i am following a valid path or not.
how can i deal with this?
Excellent question, Ryan.
Spiritual discussion forums, although sometimes fascinating, are appropriate for three groups of people: those who are “shopping” for a spiritual path (and therefore want to sample ideas from here and there), those who like to intellectualize their spiritual path, and those who think they should teach others.
For those like you, however, who sincerely want to move ahead, those forums are simply a mish-mash of ideas. There are many valid paths, but at the level that most such discussions take place, different paths will often seem to be in conflict, and hence confusing. This happens even among the various Yoga lineages, at least at the superficial level.
I suggest that it’s time to leave behind such discussions and answer the real question: How can I know what path is right for me? Allow me to suggest two steps.
First, don’t insist upon the perfect path. Waiting for perfection will be endless. Think, rather, of what’s the best match you’ve encountered so far, the path you most resonate with. One way to assess that, in addition to considering the teachings themselves, is to look at others who are on that path. Do they appear to have the qualities you want – above all, inner peace and true happiness? If so, then take a second step…
Try it. Give that path your full, sincere effort for a period of time: three months, six months, a year. You are conducting a very important experiment; don’t be distracted by sampling other paths (teachings or techniques) during that time. By giving it your all, you are building a spiritual magnetism that will either draw you deeper into the center of that path (if it is indeed yours), or attract you to a path that’s better for you. Either way, you win.
And don’t forget: As you’re doing this, do it with God. Pray, “God, I am doing my best to seek you. Show me the way.” Keep the company of God and make your quest a partnership.
True spiritual seeking is very different from discussion forums. It sounds like you want the former. I salute you and wish you all the best.