My grandparents on my father’s side were a tag team, tongue-speaking, Pentecostal preaching duo. I went to church and Sunday school and grew up decidedly Christian. As a teenager I was introduced to Buddhism and it took a deep hold on me. Later I began practicing some types of yoga, and fell in love with the mystical poets of Persia.
The thing is, this sort of pluralistic approach to religion is frowned upon by the traditionalists in every one of these faiths. A debate on the subject will often be brought to a close by someone invoking the old adage, “It’s better to dig one deep well, than ten shallow ones,” or something similar. Seems like an air tight case.
I’ve got no problem with the proverb, but i’d like to suggest that the metaphor has been applied incorrectly. The suggestion is that the “well” is the spiritual tradition itself. I say that the many forms of spiritual practice (sadhana) are not wells themselves, but what we do the digging with — shovels, spades, backhoes, our bare hands. The point of the metaphor is not the well or the digging though, it’s the water! We’re digging a well to get to the water. We’re practicing in these faiths traditions to get to God, truth, inner-peace, or ultimate reality. There are many different ways of digging, but there’s only one type of water.
You could make the argument that it’s still better to practice with one tool, to hone your abilities rather than trying different implements all the time. I think there’s something to that, but if you keep using that same shovel in the exact some way, you’re liable to give yourself some nasty blisters.