When the Path is not only
the Way but also the Destination ...
People often talk of
'being on the path' when they refer to 'spiritual journeying'.
Perhaps we have, over the years, come to believe the analogy and
succeeded in distancing our self from our Self.
Self with a capital
letter refers here to the Soul, the guiding principle of our spiritual
life on earth, while self with a lower case refers to the ego, the
personality which clothes the Soul during this lifetime.
One of the tasks of reclaiming our inherent spirituality by
acknowledging that we are spiritual beings on an earthly journey is to
reunite the two selves which have so long been separated.
The Path was originally a
metaphor for Self. We cannot
separate Self from the journey it makes.
So speaking of 'falling off the path' during times of
disillusionment, difficulties etc really means that ego-self has become
disconnected from Soul-Self. We
have blocked our line of communication through which we receive
nourishment from the spiritual source within, which is connected to the
Eternal, or God. What is
more, polarisation has occurred between material and spiritual,
personality and Soul, so that in our thinking today one is termed 'bad',
the other 'good', adding to the blockage. But
as co-dwellers in the physical body, they need to live in harmony.
Learning we acquire
through personality-experiences in this lifetime is also transmitted via
the Self-self link. So when
connection is blocked for whatever reason, we feel bereft, as if we have
fallen off a familiar path. Understanding
what this really means enables us to do something about it, to find our
own way of reconnecting, which may be through prayer, meditation, music,
walking in the countryside, etc. We
open up to that part of us which knows the way forward, knows how to
handle difficult situations. It enables us to add to the knowledge and
experience stored in our spiritual repository, building up a resource of
innate wisdom, accompanying us for many lifetimes.
'Finding the right path' is no longer a problem.
Anything we do is part of 'the path'.
The challenge therefore is to make the most of any opportunity,
rather than to berate ourselves for 'falling off the path' temporarily,
or despairing when we 'fail' to find the right one.
Speaking of journeying
along a path implies that there is a destination to be reached, giving
us a misleading impression that there will be a time and place when we
feel we have arrived. Viewing
the path as Self changes this. Every
moment becomes part of this exchange between self and Self.
The pressure is off to 'get there'.
We begin to live more truly in the moment, knowing we are doing
what we most need to do, simply by being present at every opportunity,
by participating in every experience to the best of our ability, in the
knowledge that this in itself is progress.
We become more tolerant and compassionate towards others as we
understand that their 'paths' are expressions not only of self but of
As long as we have basic
ethics such as not harming others or ourselves, and as long as we
process experience through the channel between the self and the Self, we
will find we both give and receive more from life than ever before.
Back to Essay Index