There are many traditions, each containing many distinct lineages. Common traditions include Taoist, Vedic, Tantric, Celtic, Christian, Egyptian, Jewish, Buddhist, Sufi and even extraterrestrial. Some people belong to Solar traditions and other to Venusian. I’ve met people from all kinds of traditions – I find it very interesting.
Your tradition may be a lineage of masters that specialise in devotion to a Celtic deity or specialise in Taoist philosophical enquiry. I believe that everyone already belongs to one tradition or another, whether they are aware of it or not, in the same way that we belong to an ethnic tradition. Though we may temporarily spend time with another tradition, ultimately we stay with one. And, like our ethnicity, we don’t choose our tradition – it chooses us. (What I am referring to runs much, much deeper than just personal beliefs.)
Dr. David Frawley discusses in his book Inner Tantric Yoga “The Question of Tradition”. He says that traditional lineages that have been developed over centuries carry a special internal power (Shakti) that assists seekers and connects them to the tradition’s masters and deity. Dr Frawley says, “Just as a scientist today cannot ignore the greater tradition of science and go far with his research, so too a real yogi cannot ignore the greater tradition of Yoga and go very far in his practice.”
Each tradition has its particular practices and it seems to me that sticking to them, and following your intuitive cues, is the best avenue for evolution.
The masters of your tradition are inwardly available to you if you are intuitively receptive, and even if you are not aware of it they are still helping you out. I’ve found that this internal tradition is like a stream of consciousness – a powerful river – with its own momentum that can carry you along. Initiations and ceremonies are powerful aids for coming in contact with them and aligning yourself with their flow of consciousness.
And it is important to remember that the masters of your tradition are in fact all aspects of the One – they are the manifest, dynamic expression of pure consciousness.
Here is a part of a prayer that I say every day. It has had a very big impact on my life and I consider it an essential part of my practice.
I prostrate to all aspects of the Divine,
To all the founders of the universal spiritual teachings
Conveyed in all the great spiritual traditions,
To the founder of my lineage,
To the great realised ancestors,
And to all living spiritual masters.
I am that Absolute Reality
that is the One without second
beyond the modifications of mind
the Self of the conditioned individualised soul
the bright and discriminative perception
that knows by the experience of oneness
the essence of monism.