The path of enlightenment is a twisty one; it is definitely not the ‘straight and narrow’ the fundamentalists (of all religions) speak of. This path takes you to some unlikely places. It does not ascend steadily towards the Divine. Sometimes it goes down -way down – before ascending again. It is like a winding mountain path, weaving back and forth on itself at times.
It has no clear directions or signs: most often it is unclear whether one is even on the Path, or going the right direction. There are occasional hints along the way, but the directions often appear to conflict. Sometimes they point us in ways that do not appear to point towards the goal.
Unlike most paths, this one may not even have a goal or destination. There may be no summit pinnacle, to chance to say you’ve made it. The goal of the path may be the Path itself. It’s not a “been there, done that, got the T-shirt” type of thing (even though some claim it is, and they’ve done it).
This path may not even be a path at times; it could be a route up a vertical cliff. The advisories of specific routes and hand/footholds may have applied to those who wrote them, but may not work for you, given the difference in reach and grasp.
You’ll have to find your own way along this path.
We imagine that others can walk it with us, but in the end we have to walk it all ourselves, whether alone or in company. We are always in company, even if we happen to be alone on one particular stretch of path at a given moment. We are in the company of all who ever walked it, or ever will.
Some walk beside us for a while, and when they diverge (appear to take a different path, but actually just take a different route) we may feel lost. We may feel that one of us has gone astray. There are times we forget that there are many paths up the mountain.
There is no speed limit, or set pace. Each goes at their own pace, according to their loads, abilities, and motivation. Each is correct, proceeding at the perfect pace for them. There are no police on this road, although there may be people who want to be. No laws, no rules, no signs.
All paths are ultimately part of this one, great path, even ones that appear opposed to it. All people walk this path, whether they know it or want to. Some refuse, stop by the wayside and rest, perhaps even burrow in and hunker down…for a long time. No matter – they are still on the Path, just stopped on it for a while. Some never seem to move at all. That is their path for the moment.
The path may not even be a path, per se. It may just be our road to remembering, to realization of a place we’ve already been…and are going to again.
Only you can know. Only you can choose. Only you can decide to walk, stop, or turn around. Only you.
There are things we can do to help us along the path. Previous walkers left notes and hints and tips. Some of them may work for you. Only you can choose to try them, and only you can decide if they help.
No loads are required, but some make heavy loads for themselves anyway. Some rough sections could potentially be avoided, but some people choose to go on them anyway. Some lean on staffs, while others go without shoes over the sometimes rocky and thorny ground.
Each chooses, even if the choice is not to choose. The default route is typically tougher in the end than the mindfully chosen one. We choose anyhow, as we see fit at the moment.
Yes, this path is both strange and beautiful, both terrifying and uplifting. It crosses the spectrum of possibilities. On it, we are ascend to our highest heights, and descend to our lowest depths. We meet ourselves in our many guises, discover ourselves in our many moods, in our unimagined strengths and weaknesses.
This is not a linear path of progressing and arriving, but a path of becoming, of manifesting.
Call it what you will…the path to God, the path of self-knowledge, the path of enlightenment.
Call it Life.
The path doesn’t care. It just awaits, beckons, welcomes.
Maybe I’ll see you out there on it. Maybe not. Either way we are fellow travellers on this path. None is greater or lesser for the pace they set, or for the point they are currently at on it. We all travel as best we can, using our internal compasses to guide us.
I pray that you (and I) can walk this path in grace, with gratitude. Yet I know we are human, and will quite often walk it with tears, stumbling, with many ‘wrong’ turns and backtrackings. We will feel lost at times, weary, and may even curse the Path or ourselves. I wish you swift travel through those difficult sections.
This path is not a struggle, it is a gift.
No one truly knows where it leads, only where they’ve been.
This path is full of mystery, of magic.
This path leads the one place, the only place it possibly can…onward.