"While it is true that dedication to a single teaching can bring depth, discipline, and focus to your pursuit of the sacred, it can also make you complacent. You might miss out on an insight or practice that can speed your journey or make it more comfortable — or uncomfortable, for that matter, in which case you might deprive yourself of a vital learning experience. Your spiritual needs are bound to change at various stages of the voyage. At times, you'll crave a broader perspective or fresh knowledge. At other times, your spirit will feel stale, prompting a desire for some new discipline or ritual. Your heart might cry out for an opportunity to love, serve, or worship. Your body may ache to be purified or cleansed. Since it's not likely that one package will satisfy all of your changing needs, the opportunity to shop around would seem to be a blessing — as long as you stay focused, conscious, and informed.

"Smart shoppers are open to the new without being indiscriminate or naive, and they are selective without being narrow-minded or distrustful. This is not an easy balance to achieve. In my experience, those who manage it well tend to be one of two types. One consists of serious seekers who are looking for something to which they can be dedicated — the equivalent of singles who are ready for a committed relationship and are searching for the right partner. The second group is spiritual veterans who are anchored in a core teaching and wish to fine-tune their repertoire or fill in the gaps in their development.

"The importance of having an anchor can't be emphasized enough. Even the most confirmed wanderer needs a bed of his or her own to come home to. A core practice — something you do regularly enough and long enough to penetrate beneath the surface and settle into the depths — can lend stability to your explorations. It allows you to keep digging deeper while at the same time spreading your tentacles widely. And a bedrock of basic beliefs gives you a framework with which to interpret and evaluate not only spiritual teachings but also your inner experiences and the events that cascade around you."