A Path is Not the Way

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meditation fingersThere are many pathways along the journey to higher consciousness, and many teachers on the path. Often individuals search to find the one path that suits them, and upon finding it, embrace it fully. There is a security in this, because the structure allows them to be followers. Others have blazed the trail, and the followers need only heed the directional signs. Sometimes it may be difficult to say on the path, so the struggle is simply to stay focused, and to keep coming back to it. Following is one way to progress along a path. It prevents one from getting lost and wandering around aimlessly.

A subtle shift in consciousness occurs, however, in individuals and groups, when one path is embraced in favor of all others. At the individual level, there is a surrender to the ideals or leaders of that path. At the group level, there may be a process of detachment, as the group separates itself from the rest. It does this by defining boundaries, including what is ‘our path’ and excluding what is ‘their path’, or ‘no path’. What is often lost in this process is the unity consciousness, the all inclusiveness, the love and acceptance of all beings as equals. Whether it is overtly stated or not, beneath the outward acknowledgement and acceptance of all paths, lies the inner certainty that ‘my path is the true path’. Followers of one path may reinforce and validate one another, strengthening their belief that they are ‘right on’. A path, however, is not ‘the way’.

‘The way’ is more like an internal flight path. Think of the birds who migrate from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere in the fall. They can cover great distances, returning each year to the exact nesting ground from which they left. Our souls may be like that. We may ‘migrate’ onto the Earth for a lifetime, yet in the moment we are born, we are beginning the return journey. We each have an ‘internal flight path’ which leads us surely and safely home.

The more closely we tune into that inner knowing, the more authentically we live. Living authentically means being ourselves: genuinely, clearly, openly. Spiritual authenticity means allowing the energy of spirit to express itself uniquely through oneself. It means trusting yourself to be a reflection or embodiment of the highest consciousness. It means allowing the breath of spirit to move through you, as through a flute or pan pipes, sounding the unique note that is the co-creation of the wind and the instrument. We are the instrument through which God, Buddha, Allah, the Tao, or universal intelligence find expression on Earth. Even if there was not a single path to follow, nor a single leader or teacher, we could still find ‘the way’. Sometimes as we get caught up in the verbiage of a particular path, we drown out the silence which holds eternal truth. As we listen to the voices of others, we may lose the ability or motivation to give voice to truth as it awakens within us .

Spirit is evolving, like everything else in the Universe, and always there must be those in each generation or era who express its evolving essence as it manifests within their consciousness. In the past, such thinkers may have been called heretics or mystics, and the truth of their visions may not have been validated until hundreds of years later. Individuals who have the courage to express their own awareness of spirit can awaken others. Like a flashlight beam illuminating the way ahead, the light of their understanding moves us all forward.

How fortunate we are to be living at this time. The wisdom of the many spiritual traditions is readily available to all, at the same time as we are becoming aware that we are spiritual beings. We can embrace the wisdom of the wisest of our ancestors, filter it through our evolving consciousness, blend it in the loving crucible of our hearts, and then release it through expression out into the field of the collective consciousness. What powerful fertilizer for growing human awareness. Just as a seed provides the nutrients for an emerging flower, human consciousness is the seed for the blossoming of spirit in our world. It blossoms through each and every one of us .

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