Atlaswept's reply to a post in sgforum. I'm posting this here as this reply left an astounding impact on me, and leaves me with no doubt that it is true in order for us to be of any benefit to others, an honest and true practice of cultivation is required.
Efforts encouraging others along their own inimitable spiritual path may serve to deepen personal faith(s), qualifying and quantifying, garnering and discarding their own discoveries, in their own way, in their own time. All such affinities along all such spiritual paths should be undertaken freely, absent deliberate repudiation. They should be studied and practiced with all seriousness and fervor, like someone digging a well that perseveres until they actually find water. While keeping a tolerant, open and compassionate mind, it is important that people dedicate themselves to the path they have chosen, as it would be pointless for someone to half-finish a dozen wells without ever reaching the water they are looking for.
Spiritual practice is based on experiential exploration and discovery that has to be pushed just as far into the inner world as science pushes its explorations into the outer world. That experience is always fresh, and it is ceaselessly renewed. It also brings along with it no shortage of obstacles and happenings of all sorts. It is not at all a matter of using ready-made formulae but of experiencing the teachings in the present moment, knowing how to use life’s good and bad circumstances, dealing with all the thoughts of all kinds that arise in the mind, and understanding for oneself the chain reactions they cause and how to set oneself free from the process. True spiritual discovery is to know how to use every instant in life for the goal one’s set oneself.
For relationships with others not to be mainly motivated by selfishness, which only creates friction and disagreement, each person has to give meaning to their life and attain a degree of inner development. Every instant of the process of spiritual transformation has to be accompanied by the idea that the qualities one’s trying to develop will help meet others’ needs better.
Perhaps it is along this way that we may present the wisdoms of personal successes and failures absent favor. Perhaps it is along this way that we may offer such experiences to others, not as Buddhists or Christians or Muslims, but as one human being to another. Perhaps it is along this way where we may find that we are one yet not the same, for within the limitless possibilities of perception countless living things have as many different worlds in which they exist. Perhaps it is along this way, where it may be best not to look upon oneself as the wise or good or as the purveyor of truth, but rather to always seek to understand wisdom, goodness and truth so that one may learn to recognize and honor them everywhere, within everyone and everything.