Any path is only a path and there is no affront to oneself or to others in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you…Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself and yourself alone one question…Does this path have a heart? If it does the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use.
Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan
One thing is for sure, If I had taken some notice of Don Juan after reading all Carlos Casteneda’s books when I was 15 I may not have ended up with the spiritual mess that I have made for myself. At the time the teachings seemed like just another entertaining story and not a metaphor for how my life should be. At 15 life was just beginning to look like it may hold more attractive possibilities than my childhood attachment to spirituality….after all, what had it brought me? Failure at school and 11 years of confounding the education system and several child psychologists
There is a story in the middle of all of this and if you read my earlier post Meditation, the art of pain suffering and joy. there is more on this.
Now thankfully I am back on the path of the heart. Back to what I believe in, which is really just simple truth, nothing more fancy than that. Part of my meditation practice is to walk a Labyrinth, a path I am using as a metaphor for my own life. My practice is to meditate in the Labyrinth until I reach single point consciousness (a term I came across by reading Thomas Campbell) Thomas CampbellI then attempt to walk the labyrinth maintaining this state of awareness which at the moment is impossible. At first I could not even get up of the bench without losing the feeling of elevation, now I can do the perimeter circuit of the labyrinth before having to stop to regain focus which is sometimes still not possible to do. I still have to regain focus around 10-15 times to walk the entire path as it gets harder as the circuits get shorter and turns more frequent.
This is yet another work in progress. I think of the labyrinth as my life, like any other path it is one where pain, sorrow, fear doubt and life in general will distract the continuing journey towards equanimity making it necessary to refocus attention and from time to time reset the direction of the path itself after asking the question …Does this path have a heart? If it does the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use, and most importantly; do I believe in this path?
At this point to be really honest I have to say that parts of my life do not have the ‘heart’ that they should, yet for now I am knowingly still walking them, so yet more work in progress…also every change needs strength and I don’t have it yet.
One thing I do know is that if I walk a path that I don’t believe in that path will fail.