Suddenly I realized, oh my God. What I’m learning in Buddhist practice is not limited to Buddhism. It’s a universal that’s found all over the world. I came to discover that there was a Jewish meditative tradition and an Islamic meditative tradition. Although the cultures and theologies and practices of these religions vary enormously, and seem to be at odds with each other, the core experiences of the meditators overlap. This absolutely blew my mind. In her book The Interior Castle, …when Saint Theresa describes her journey through life, it fits perfectly with Buddhism. The theology is completely different; there’s no mention of God in Buddhism. But if you look below the surface, and see what’s actually going on, you see that it’s the same kinds of experiences. You can see it in Rumi, who is Muslim. You can see it in Isaac Luria, who is a Jewish Kabbalist. This is a universal, human phenomenon, that doesn’t even have an accepted word.
I came to see what I was doing in Buddhist practice as part of a much bigger picture. Suddenly, everything fell into place, and I could see there was a core set of experiences that were universal to all forms of spirituality.