When I was a child, I was told by my catechism teacher that Adam and Eve had to leave Eden because they
ate a forbidden apple. God had told them that they could eat whatever they wished in the garden except the apple, and when they did, God kicked them out. There was a few years there that I was afraid to eat apples ... It was only years later when I actually read the verse, Genesis 2:17, that I found it never said they ate an apple?! They ate from "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Even with that I didn't understand until years later - what tree was!
In short, my Catholic religious upbringing was so confusing to me. It seemed like the Church told me one thing, Jesus taught something else. I finally left the Church.
One day I read a fiction book that talked about a place that existed between waking and sleeping. I wondered if that was true, and decided to try it. I closed my eyes like I was going to sleep, and when I felt myself starting to drift off, I pulled myself back. I really had no idea what I was doing. It was just fun and exciting - a whole new place to explore. I'd never heard of meditation, but I kept exploring.
A few years later, I heard of Transcendental Meditation, TM, and went to a lecture. I was blown away by the fact that it was describing the experiences that I was having. I learned how to meditate with the TM technique and later became a TM teacher. Through TM, I learned about Vedanta, higher states of consciousness, unity, and enlightenment. I studied the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita as well as the Eastern Saints and Masters.
One day, I learned that one of my fellow TM teachers was going to enter the seminary to become a priest? It seemed like a step backward to me. So, I asked him why in the world he was choosing to do that? His answer actually changed my world.
He told me that there was a direct relationship between the experience of Catholic saints and mystics and the Vedanta description of higher states of consciousness. That the mystical traditions of the Church offered the same experiences and knowledge that Eastern practices like TM or Vipassana did. That the Catholic mystical tradition offered the same fundamental realizations of higher states of consciousness simply languaged differently. His seminary thesis was entitled "The Correlation between the Levels of Prayer as Described by Saint Teresa of Avila and the Seven States of Consciousness Described by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi" (or something really close to that).
With this new connectedness, I began to understand scripture within the context of Awakening, or Mystical Awakening. The Garden of Eden became the reality of nature, which is loving relationship, and eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge is representative of turning away from the heart and placing the mind's judgments above God's Love. And while references to any scriptures can trigger some old wounds or threaten our own beliefs, once we begin to realize that all scriptures are only different culture's languaging of our true spiritual essence and oneness with all, we find a home within ourselves and within in all religions.
The truth inherent in all Wisdom Traditions is simply this, when we move beyond the mind's hunger for knowledge, we find ourselves back in the Garden of the Heart. It's a simple truth that we all search for until the time the Heart awakens us from our mind's dream and fills us with Love's Wisdom. You are already the goal - don't sweat the journey. Simply be in Love with the moment and let the moment Love you in return.
Hopefully, this might be a help to some.