Let’s go back to the much-used metaphor of many fingers pointing at one moon. It’s popular, because it allows for any path, any philosophy, any sharing, any mode of life to be an equal and equivalent teaching. It gives rise to platitudes such as:
  • “We’re all talking about the same thing.”
  • “Let’s agree to disagree.”
  • “I’m just doing my thing, and everyone else is doing theirs.”
  • “I speak my truth.”
For the sake of illustration, let’s push the metaphor to do a little more work for us. If you are talking about ‘how life works’, you are pointing at the moon. And all pointing at the moon is equal. The mental health model, the religious model, the rational humanist model, the capitalist model, the communist model, the nihilist model, the dental hygiene model, the drug baron model. Those we like, we’ll call ‘helpful’. Those we don’t like, we’ll probably condemn as ‘limited’, ‘misguided’ or ‘evil’. If, even for a moment, you are suggesting the moon shines with its own light, you are wrongly taking an appearance as truth. A simple example of this might be to suggest that a human being has wisdom or can access wisdom. If you are saying nothing can be known of a distant moon, it’s like you were pointing at your own finger. Perhaps it is worth asking who it is that knows ‘nothing can be known’? If you point to the moon as a gentle way of seeing the echo of the sunlight, this is called the progressive path. You might never come to point directly to the sun, but you’d also never suggest that moonlight is anything other than the sun’s reflected glare. I know several talented coaches, counsellors, therapists and teachers working in this way. They have one thing in common, they don’t ever suggest the existence of separate beings. I respect their work and refer to them when it seems appropriate. If you point to the sun as the source of all light, this is the direct path. You’ll acknowledge that the moon appears to shine, but you’ll always confirm the sun is the source of that appearance. You might talk about what is seen by the light of the sun, but you’ll rarely stray far from the essential nature of sunlight. Are we sharing the same thing? How does it seem to you? With Love, Sara

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