The illusive path, this sacred path every soul walks, is paved upon the choices we make. Robert Frost wrote about it in the famous poem, “The Road Not Taken.” The last stanza reads,
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
We all have a path, whether we are conscious of it or not, there it is laid out right in front of us and behind us. Depending on how much of the path we have walked and the years that have past, we look at our lives, a culmination of every decision, every thought, word and deed, and sometimes ask, “would I have done things differently?”
Some of the choices we make are made from a reactive mind, which tend to come from a source of fear and denial. Most of those reactive decisions bring pain and suffering. Instinctual reactions though can be lifesaving, like reacting to a fire, grabbing a child in danger, saving a choking person. Our reflexes kick in and we react with survival instinct. Many a hero are born from running towards a fearful situation. We are surrounded by them every day. But sometimes we’d rather run towards that burning building than face the seed of suffering we carry in our hearts. No matter where we run, it is there and keeps showing up until we listen, reflect and perhaps surrender to it with resolve. This can come through prayer, loving kindness, tenderness and compassion for ourselves. We cannot rush our pain, but try to walk through the storm until we find ourselves on friendly shores.
The dark emotions that fuel our sometimes discursive, meandering, reactive mind such as fear, shame, anger, denial, grief and despair are thought of as negative or bad which brings a kind of intolerance to our human condition of suffering. Ever hear some say, “get over it” or wish that a loved one would move on already. But these so-called dark emotions are a natural and inevitable response to life and our existence here on this rock — Earth. In other words, it’s a part of life.
Buddha, as he sat under that infamous Bodhi tree, formulated a path to enlightenment that began with the Four Noble Truths starting with, life is suffering, and gave teachings to a path to end suffering or enlightenment. This path is sought through right action, right thought, right speech and right mindfulness.
Another path is to give our suffering meaning; it doesn’t eliminate it, but it loosens the tendrils of our heart long enough for us to breath. Much good and light are born from such darkness and suffering. Without the darkness, there is no light. It is only when we stay in the darkness, holding onto it, that we lose sight of our path, we lose our way. This is the discursive, punishing mind that holds us hostage. Unchain yourself from the prison of your darkness and know that you are not alone, your suffering has meaning and can give birth to light, love and forgiveness. You have the key, pick it up, and keep walking your path. The dark will give way to the light, just as night gives way to dawn.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In the space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” - Victor E. Frankl from Man’s Search for Meaning. Namaste. The light in me honors the light in you.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS