All teachings are mere references. The true experience is living your own life.
– Deng Ming Dao, 365 Tao
From organized religions to other spiritual tracks to formal education, us humans have set up a variety of formal avenues to educate ourselves. All have value, though like other aspects of life, the dividends reaped usually depend on the effort expended.
But we cannot depend on these institutions completely. Any sacred text or school lecture can only teach us so much. It is only by going out and putting to the test what we’ve learned or, better yet, taking in something we have never experienced before
All teachings are mere references…
Experience will always be the best teacher. There is no substitute for putting what we’ve learned in a classroom or church to the test through the examination of everyday living. And everyday living can be a relentless instructor, too, issuing us lessons repeatedly until we learn them.
There is no profit, except perhaps the balm of having passed responsibility for your life off on someone else, to blindly following the precepts of a religion or spiritual discipline. If you stop learning after someone issues a degree, you will be missing out some of life’s greatest lessons. Similarly, someone who goes out and faces life without the structure that comes with organized thought and teaching, is missing an important cornerstone.
The most adroit amongst us utilize all avenues of learning. Only when we do that, when we are completely open to every lesson there is to learn, will we get the most out of our time on this planet.