It does not matter which spoon you use
by Brahmacharini Rebidoux
St. John's, Canada
As disciples surely know, though we all share the same path, Guru deals with each soul that he has accepted individually and uniquely, calling them forward, upward, and inward in just the way each disciple needs. One of the ways in which he has dealt with me, since pretty much the beginning of my disciple life, has been through dreams – very vivid, very illumining communications of spiritual meaning, instruction, comfort, etc., usually with Guru being directly present in the dream.
One inspiring dream I had came right at the beginning of my disciple life, when I was a Master’s student in philosophy and, while not irreligious, was looking for God, as philosophers generally do, in the form of impersonal 'Truth'. I was having difficulty with the path because I was feeling that it was too devotionally oriented and not intellectually rigorous enough.
Guru, of course, could have just laughed at my mind (which he probably did); but instead, he communicated to me just what I needed to know in a way that was illumining while also not being simply dismissive of the mind. I had a dream in which I was, with other disciples, at a great banquet. Everyone was eating most ravenously, but I, sitting off by myself, refused to eat because I didn’t like the spoon that I had been given. I kept trying to get the servers’ attention so that I could get another spoon, but they were ignoring me. Suddenly Guru was beside me, and in the most tender, but also bliss-filled voice, he said to me: “Once you taste the soup, you will see that it does not matter which spoon you use". The spoon, of course, I understood to be the path, and the soup to be God.
And now, many years later, in teaching philosophy and religious studies at university in Newfoundland, I still feel – or rather, I feel ever more and more – the potency of the illumination of that dream. No matter which religion I teach, I try to realise God’s presence and light and unique manifestation in that tradition. When I teach Islam, I become as though a Muslim in my heart; when I teach Buddhism, I’m a Buddhist; when I teach Christianity, a Christian; etc. And in so doing, I have never felt Guru or Guru’s path to be far away from me. He has all along been right there, it seems, studying and teaching and even 'realising', right along with me and inside of me. And ever more and more have I felt, therefore, the growing and steady presence of the Supreme Beloved – who, for me, is 'Truth' personalized – hidden within all traditions and within all things, to which Guru has ever been pointing and leading us all.