Spiritual Practices From the Inside Out: Following Our Path

There are people who spend their entire lives searching for the right path. Some of us have very specific requirements for the path we will choose to take. We want a good balance of sunlight and shade, not too wet and not too rocky. Some may prefer a gentle grade which is not too challenging to follow. We may be looking for a path with spectacular views.

Some of us would appreciate a good guide or a book to reveal our path to us.

Others have told me they have seen their path all at once, in a flash of insight. Sometimes we are not looking, not really paying attention, when paths present themselves. We are walking along, minding our own business, when our path twists or turns unexpectedly. We might not enjoy such a dramatic change of direction, but still we follow our path.

Some of us relish a path with its own drama, its own challenges, its own questions.

Finding Our Path

We may have set out on a path before we realized we were doing so. Some of us inherited a path from those who went before us, or began a path we were expected to follow. We may have chosen goals at a very early age and taken the first path we found in that direction. People may start on a path and subsequently recognize it is taking them somewhere else.

Some paths make promises they cannot keep. We take the first steps, learn and follow the path’s rules, and achieve what we set out to do. Getting to a certain point we realize, though we have done what was asked of us, we are not where we want to be. Our journey has cost us time and effort. How we see ourselves may depend on how we have followed our path. We may be afraid or embarrassed we have not chosen well.

Following our path well demands awareness and reflection, and knowing ourselves. As we gain experience and insight, we need to be honest with ourselves about what we find.

There have been times when I was certain I was on the right path. The path fit my personality, my experience, my interests, and was comfortable for me to follow. I was confident I was headed in the right direction. I was caught by surprise when the unexpected twists and turns came.

Path for Our Journey

My exploration of paths widened with help from wise teachers and great books. I began to see the paths we follow may be more about seeking than about choosing and finding.

Our path is not a line on a map, moving us from one point to another. My path continues to take me from seeking answers to valuing questions.

We follow our path each day, collecting questions to illumine our next steps.

What steps do you take each day as you follow our shared path of discovery?

Where will our path take us this week?

[Image by Simon Matzinger]

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