For my part, I think I could agree with the statement if it were “every person’s spiritual path is valid for them” but that would have to also be a limited time offer, subject to change, some conditions may apply, offer void in some states, do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.
The main reason is the switch from determining this for someone else to doing that each for oneself, with the former being potentially dangerous, and the latter still being subject to consequences beyond the individual.
I’d also say that people can and do have spiritual practices as part of their path that they find unacceptable, but do them anyway. So, that a practice is unacceptable to, even, oneself, don’t make that invalid if they are practicing it. I think I’m maybe coming around to the idea that the validity of a practice is the doing of it, not one’s feelings or thoughts about it; but I’m also tending toward including the thoughts and feelings about a practice as part of the practice.
So am I coming around to saying that spiritual practices that a person does is valid for them, whether its acceptable to them? But then what about coercion? Is the addition of “by their own volition” necessary and sufficient? That allows for people practicing things they don’t necessarily like or want, but do voluntarily for reasons, say, of experimentation or exploration.
Let’s try that on for size:
“Every person’s spiritual path they practice of their own volition is valid for them.”
But, here’s the rub. I’m thinking of the scientific idea of “validity” which is that the results of an experiment are correct: interiorily that they follow the method and has results, exteriorily that the experiment measures what it set out to measure and that the results provide a conclusion that is supported by the experiment. But that means that the practice, thoughts and feelings are still valid even if the practice is coerced.
Okay, then, let’s be a little more radical. Let’s make that into a more forward looking prescription, that separates the idea of validity a little more, but also includes an ideological statement about volition:
“Every person’s spiritual path is for them to practice, and should be of their own volition. Their practice is valid if it is on their path, what they meant to do, and that practice offers them results supported by their work.”
So each person determines their own path, hopefully of their own volition. And, that work is valid if it is on that path they chose, for if not they should revise their path into a new one or revise the practice to conform with the path they have chosen. Furthermore, the practice should be what they meant to do, for if it was not then they may need to work harder to do the practice the way they wanted to do it, or revise their practice to conform with a new way they are doing it. Finally, the practice should offer results supported by the work they are doing, for if there are no results or the results are not from the work, then they should revise the practice to have results or find out what generated the results and practice that instead.
Therefore, spiritual paths contain practices that provide results. When individuals engage in practices, hopefully of their own volition, on a spiritual path where results are as they intended, the whole is valid.
In a twist, by separating “validity” out like that, it might now be actually possible for others to question the validity of another individual’s spiritual path, curtailing which was part of my intention with the original revision, but, this time, crucially, I think, not without including the individual in the discussion!
Let’s go with that!