A friend reminded me this morning of Carlos Casteneda, and how much I admire his work. This reminder sent me looking for an article that I wrote for my newsletter in 2007, when I was engrossed in Danah Zohar’s book; Connecting with our Spiritual Intelligence. At that time, I was grappling with the notion of choosing one path (career-wise, spiritually, intellectually) when I have an intense desire, paradoxically, to be on many paths simultaneously. The article is nothing more than a re-quote of Zohar’s words, and it still rings true to me today. How does it resonate with you?;
“It is useless to waste your life on one path, especially if that path has no heart. Before you embark on a path, you ask the question: Does this path have heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. A path without heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it.” ~ Carlos Casteneda, The Teachings of Don Juan
“In the West we have believed strongly in the One Way, the One Truth, the One God. We admire people who find their path early in life and then stick to it; we mistrust doubt, uncertainty and unsteadiness of purpose.”
This is the observation of Danah Zohar in her book Connecting with our Spiritual Intelligence (Zohar & Marshall). She explains further;
“By a ‘path’ I mean finding my own deepest meaning and most profound integrity, acting from my deepest motivations and bringing this action to bear upon my family, my community, my nation and so on. My path is my journey through life, my relationships, my work, my goals, my dreams, and how I live these things. To follow a path with spiritual intelligence, or a path with heart, is to be deeply committed and dedicated.
A person may be fortunate enough to strike out early upon a genuine life’s path with heart – to become a doctor, say, or a teacher. If so he is acting from his centre, from one of life’s deepest motivations, and he is on a spiritually intelligent path. But all too often the pressure to commit early and then stick to it can lead people to ignore the wealth of paths that lie before them or, worst still, force them on to a path that lacks both spiritual intelligence and heart. A person may be forced on to a path by the expectations of parents or society, or seek it out for shallow motives such as personal gain. Some simply blunder on a path because circumstances took them there, but then don’t know how to get off. Yet others feel they have no path in life at all.’
Zohar concludes with this profound guidance;
To realize that there are many paths, and that in the course of our lives we may walk several, many or, to some extent all of them – this may be the most profound realization yet of spiritual intelligence.
We must understand that there are many paths – there is not just one way, nor even a best way. All are valid and necessary.”