I am a seeker. A learner. A teacher and a follower. Although I’m only proficient in a few, I have attempted to become familiar with many paths. There’s the path of the Buddha. The path of Kabbalah. The Way, Jesuit, Gnostic, the Serpent’s path, Tao, Zoroastrian and the list goes on. There are enough paths that a person could get really lost. So far I haven’t, well at least I don’t think so. Some would say that I am. I wish I could say if I am lost then the world is my home. I’m not quite that far yet. Probably never will be. The truth is that some of these paths or religions are so similar that an outsider couldn’t tell them apart. But I guess that’s the normal thing isn’t it? Until you get to know a group it’s difficult to see the distinctions.
What strikes me at this moment is the distraction that these paths and their own nuances offer. They keep us busy. It’s similar to the beads on the rosary which a Catholic will use as a prayer connection. It serves its purpose to keep your mind on your prayer. It reminds you that you are not merely a man or a woman standing alone, but you have access to a higher power. And that’s where these things should stop.
A woman looks in her closet for clothing to wear. She decides what to wear based on what type of day she will have. If there is a lot of walking, she will wear comfortable shoes. If she is appearing before important people, she may want to dress more dazzling. At one time, we did not choose our path, it was chosen for us like our clothing was and even our spouses. This is the time of choice. Independence. Freethinking. We can choose our path as well as our clothing. We are not limited to corsets and parasols. No more breaking and binding of our feet to make us appealing. The proper husband or wife is not picked out at birth for us.
It’s also a time of uncertainty as well as opportunity. Those two go hand in hand. The same with the fear of the unknown and it’s counterpart, paralysis.
When I look at some of these paths, I can feel the devotion. It’s like running my hands over a soft cashmere shawl. Or the feel of a silk scarf around my neck. The scent of a rose petal. The kiss of a child. The love of the pursuer and the hug of a friend. Comfort. Home. We belong and find rest.
Along with this new frontier we are all on, is the desert or wilderness in front of us. The unknown. The “not home” or otherness of it can make us wish to hide. But we left it for a reason. Do you remember? Stifled? Mine didn’t fit anymore. Do I still believe? Yes and no. Part of my beliefs I am even more adamant about, but others are added in at the last minute and cluttered up the purity.
If you want a path to follow, there are many out there. If you want a life to live, you have one. No one needs to give you a map for it. Walk. You don’t need to know where to go. Walk. Each step you take is your path. Your path is enough. So you left your home, keep going until you want to stop. Have you read the story of Siddhartha? Siddhartha_(novel) It’s a story told of original Buddha. He left his home and his family and his friends. He didn’t know where he was going, but he had the need to go.
There’s a phrase I’ve heard often, If you meet the Buddha on the way down the mountain, kill him. http://www.dailybuddhism.com/archives/670
Whatever your conception is of the Buddha, it’s WRONG! Now kill that image and keep practicing. This all has to do with the idea that reality is an impermanent illusion. If you believe that you have a correct image of what it means to be Enlightened, then you need to throw out (kill) that image and keep meditating.
Most people have heard the first chapter of the Tao, “The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.” (So if you think you see the real Tao, kill it and move on).
Since we are away from our home, let’s not start a religion of Not Being Religious. We are free of prescribed paths. And since we are free, we need to stay free. I hope that I never trash another’s rosary beads. http://bible.cc/1_corinthians/8-9.htm
But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.There could easily be a day that I will need them.
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.
- Buddhism (kshemadep.wordpress.com)
- The Buddha Wears Camo (johnhintonart.com)
- A Critical Mind (karmayesherabgye.com)
- Grace: For Jesuit priest in training, Rome is a place to visit, not a career destination (omaha.com)
- Two books by Pope Francis released – Newsday (newsday.com)