Walk the path, any path

“The farther you go on your own path, the more you understand every other path. At the end, they all converge.” – Philip Toshio Sudo (from: Zen Guitar)

Not many things are as liberating as letting loose the perpetual and urgent sense of having to do more. Whether due to an underlying belief of not being enough, or simply the addictive dopamine rush of the next new thing, this sense is able to wreck contentment, work-performance and ultimately even the principal prerequisite of a fulfilling life: your physical health.

The path of the heart

The self-improvement industry counsels clichés like “follow your heart”, which, however true they might be, are surprisingly useless. I highly doubt that the answer is found in more of what the heart wants. Perhaps we ought to actually follow less of it, to save ourselves from drowning in the youngest of numerous passions and allow the heart to reveal its essence.

And what is this essence? It sure isn’t some preexisting, godsend calling to become a yoga-instructor (although if it is, that’s fine, yoga is great). Nor is it a job title, life-altering insight, or newfound mission statement. It’s something else, something greater.

In fact, it’s the path itself, or perhaps I should say ‘a’ path, any path. For it isn’t the label that the heart truly desires, it’s the experience. It’s the process of deeply plunging oneself into something, anything. To be captured by it wholly.

And to be good at it too. Not good in the sense that you’ll be loudly applauded by the many (although, again, if that’s the case, good for you sir), but good in the sense that you find a deeper means of self-expression and life-appreciation in it. That you may forget about everything else. A kind of craftsmanship if you will.

Depth over width

The heart longs for such immersion, and it can only be found by doing less rather than more… by not allowing your attention to wander all over the place, checking Facebook first thing in the morning, or watching Game of Thrones, while texting your spouse and answering the last few emails of the day.

It can only be found by being. Right here, right now. And allowing single-minded focus to seduce you into its captivating arms. It’s by appreciating depth over width that the heart wins. May it kindly light your way.


The grand paradox of acceptance

Consider these three equivalent statements:

  • Accept a situation completely and unconditionally as is, in order to move past it.
  • Give up the need for change in order to change.
  • Cease to force growth and growth will be catalyzed.

They describe a paradoxical force of nature that is independent of any deliberate human resolution: the deceptively simple act of acceptance. In my experience, it’s hard to overestimate its benefits. Acceptance comes with a mighty wave of serenity, which can ridden at any time but is more typically neglected. I wonder why… and I think we should change that.

To acceptance

Could we simply be observers as the secrets of the future gradually reveal themselves to us? Or would we rather hold on to the conceivably illusive notion of control. I think that answers to such questions matter.

One viewpoint may encourage negligence and passiveness, whereas the other might be the very root of our suffering. Every day, every minute, every moment we get to (feel like we) decide where we stand on this spectrum. Do we seize or release? Contract or relax?

As with most things, the truth of the matter is far from absolute. And the answer can probably be found somewhere in the middle. However, I wish to conclude with a gentle reminder of how good a life of acceptance can be, because I think that’s what the world needs a little more of right now. A soothing exhale.

“Stress is caused by being “here” but wanting to be “there,” or being in the present but wanting to be in the future. It’s a split that tears you apart inside. To create and live with such an inner split is insane. The fact that everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it any less insane.

If you have to, you can move fast, work fast, or even run, without projecting yourself into the future and without resisting the present. As you move, work, run — do it totally. Enjoy the flow of energy, the high energy of that moment. Now you are no longer stressed, no longer splitting yourself in two. Just moving, running, working — and enjoying it.” – Eckhart Tolle (from: “The Power of Now“)