September 5, 2012

The path is the teacher

To many of us, the final goal is what we cherish, whether it is called an objective, a destination, an achievement, or even enlightenment itself, is what we look for in life. That is what holds our attention. Our desires seek out what we want from the stimuli around us – from what we perceive with our five senses, and sometimes with a sixth for those who would listen to it close enough. Yet, getting to these will entail effort. Our wishes must be put to action, for otherwise these wishes will remain mere aspirations. Every achievement is the outcome of effort.  And our lives are geared to seeking these final outcomes.

But to get to these there is always a path one must take. The path is the action. It is this path that will take us to our destination and of course there are many paths we can take just as there are many vehicles to hop onto. From Male to Eydafushi I can decide to take a fast ferry, a mechanized mas-dhoni, a sail-boat, a speed launch, a seaplane, or even, if I am brave enough or skilled enough, attempt to swim the strip of ocean that separates these islands. It will be the depth of my pocket, environmental exigencies, my urgency, my resilience or my sanity that will dictate the choice of my option, and there is only one option for me each time I decide to make that visit.

For a deeper understanding of our life’s journey, this metaphor of a path in our physical terrain can help to understand our life’s path too. From the time we were born, to this moment in our lives, we have traversed a path to get to where we are. We had only one choice in each of the moments we were at any cross-roads in our lives. That was the only one of so many we could have taken, and we took it. There is no amount of regret that can put us back on the past junctions of our lives again. We have to go on. These stretches of paths are supposed to teach us the stuff of our life. Some people on this journey are more perceptive than others, and glean more lessons along these trails than others and that is what make us what we are. Wisdom, awareness, sensibility, tolerance, love and sharing all come from being aware and imbued with the knowledge that our paths have to offer us. This awareness is what helps us in being happy or sad in this life, for we should know from experience what works and what does not. Happiness and joy are experienced from what we do to ourselves and not what the road does to us. There is a spiritual saying that “success is not a destination, but a journey.” This truth is inherent in what we just discussed. We must learn to enjoy the journey and not wait for the destination. I know that many parents amongst us will have experienced our little ones often complaining while on a long journey, “Mamma, Bappa, are we there yet?” Just goes to show that human nature is hard wired towards the outcome rather than the process. But it is from the process that we learn and become better human beings. We can teach our children to enjoy the journey. Those who are not mindful enough to observe the lessons of the path, will be left behind in ignorance and struggle. That is the basis of our misery and suffering in our life.


Jadulla said...

I agree with you that if one is not mindful enough to observes the lesson of the path of our journey,at any moment we will be left behind in ignorance and struggle.We may have the privilege of choosing from more than one path. Whatever our path may be, I hope its a moral one,should we not the "end in mind", that is what we want to achieve?. Yes.we must enjoy travelling the path/paths we have to achieve our good/moral goals.I am also hesitant to say that "end justify the means" always.

Abdul Sattar Yoosuf said...

Yes Jadulla, I agree. Our common high school experience of "Respice Finem" is about looking to the end. While you are right about the end not justifying the means, the idea of the end, to my mind, is about being in focus, because commitment and dedication come from being in focus -- two ingredients that will lead us to our desired destinations.