There Is No Long and Winding Path
You are the cutting edge
We tend to regard life as a series of adventures or disasters as we make our way along a long and winding path that stretches temptingly before us.
We’re always trying to get further along the path, so we spend our lives focussing on what’s just ahead, or around the next bend, or on the other side of the mountain.
We plod on, one foot after the other. But each step doesn’t really get us further along the path because we keep mentally throwing life forward, then struggling to catch up with what we’ve projected, while the path stretches even further ahead of us than it did before.
When we’re young we want to grow up. Then we can’t wait to graduate, become employed, have a relationship, get that promotion. Or we want to be on holiday, live in a maintenance-free house, enjoy a perfect garden, be the ideal weight, go viral and suddenly make lots of money. As we turn grey and begin to stoop, we long to be the recipient of accolades, make it to the board of directors, get a seat in the senate, land a king-sized single bed in the 5-star permanent residency facility, or be allocated the plot with the best views at Serenity Central Cemetery.
If something unexpected crops up that stops our progress towards where we think we should be already, we try to dodge around it, push it away, ignore it, or deny its existence. “This shouldn’t be!” we shout to the gods inhabiting the sky. But none of them are listening. So we plod on.
When we view life this way we’re never where we want to be.
And we wonder why we feel weary!
But what would happen if we changed how we perceive life?
What if we stopped thinking of life as a journey on a long and winding path?
What if it dawns on us that our current step is all there is? There is no path stretching before us. We are on the edge, the cusp, the cliff, every moment of our lives. What we do in this moment is all there is.
How would we feel if this was how we looked at life?
We’d be on high alert, curious, intrigued, energized, open to inspiration, free.
We’d be wide awake!
Pema Chödrön discusses this in her book When Things Fall Apart:
This path has one very distinct characteristic: it is not prefabricated. It doesn’t already exist. The path that we’re talking about is the moment-by-moment evolution of our experience, the moment-by-moment evolution of the world of phenomenon, the moment-by moment evolution of our thoughts and our emotions.
And further on:
When we realize that the path is the goal, there’s a sense of workability.
When we realise that the path and the goal are one and the same, the “journey” is reduced to this moment only. Suddenly there’s a lot less we have to deal with.
When we become aware that moment-by-moment we are the considerers of possibilities, the explorers, the choice-makers, we feel energized to take charge of our lives, now.
There is no long and winding path stretching before us.
There is just this step.
We are the cutting edge.
With love, Marlane
First published on Medium.com/change-your-mind