Illusions – The Reality of the Paths We Walk
It’s surprising where one finds a road to follow when wandering. There are busy roads and paths which draw the attention of most people; but the roads that catch my eyes are quiet roads. I don’t walk around this foreign country with a machete so that I can walk where there are no paths. I have no sense of where once I enter the dense jungle that doesn’t allow more than a few steps before becoming impassable. I guess it isn’t all that much different than wandering through the swamplands of soul. One needs a path to follow at the least. Better still, a guide is needed if one is to move through the swamplands and the jungles with some sort of safety and direction.
I remember comments from some who wondered why I would follow paths rather than walk where no man has walked before. I knew that the idea of being original, carving a path that was mine alone was more about ego than about soul. My ego would love to be so unique, so gifted, so wise, so all-seeing . . . and perhaps even famous for carving out that unique path. However, it isn’t the destination, the fame, the glory or the rewards that are important. For me, it is about the journey, about knowing that though the paths of my journey have been followed before and will be followed long after my body has returned to the soil from which it came, what I gain from the journey is more about connecting me to the world, connecting me to others though they are long absent in physical form. Ask anyone who has walked a pilgrimage and you will hear of that connection with the pilgrims that have walked over the same path, a path that was created by the walking, and changed to take on the presence of each pilgrim in the process.
Walking down rough trails that discourage superficiality, demand one’s presence is an act of meditation, a psychological and spiritual journey that is as much about the person walking as it is about the path being followed. In that meditation, both become one and then more than both the path and the self. Walking down that particular trail was magical for a moment until the reality of that path demanded that I be present and not lost in some inner space. Flies that wanted to feast and mosquitoes thirsty for blood told me that as I walk down my path, I need to be focused and fully present. Life demands this.