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Pathways of Sand, Dirt, and Pebbles

An Excerpt from Temple of the Reverend Seeker

We are thrust onto the road of life, whether we are ready or not, and we fend for ourselves as best we can with whatever courage and resolve we have, or don’t have. And we wish to make the journey an enjoyable one, with a destination for which it is worth generating our momentum forward. But it’s so easy to get lost on this voyage, with all those off-ramps and on-ramps and detours and forks in the road. We now consult our GPS to locate where we are or how to get somewhere, and while we position ourselves on the earth we often forget to consult our internal moral compass, and find ourselves lost in a world of trials and tribulations. The map of the earth doesn’t transcribe into the map of our world. We are adept at discerning our geographical coordinates while simultaneously overlooking our spiritual dimensions. We even begin to believe that the map is the territory, and lend more credence to the diagram than to our internal horizons. Then one day we end up in unknown territory, without any reference point to guide us, and we wonder how we got there; what went wrong? The road of life led us astray. Or at least that’s what we contend, because it would be too painful to admit that we made choices all along the way that inevitably brought us face to face with our own reality. We are lost. We are tired. We are fed up. Maybe we are also mad, or sad, or bad. And taking the next step forward is the most difficult task we have ever had to perform. Or a step backwards. Or sideways. No more steps. Once we’re lost, nothing makes sense anymore. When we lose touch with the why, the what simply doesn’t matter. Or the where. Or the when. Regrettably, the who is diminished as well, or belittled, or dramatically erased altogether. In the middle of nowhere, the insignificance of everything is palpable. We might tell ourselves, “This is where I am meant to be,” and at one level of consciousness, we recognize the truth of that sentiment. Or we might tell ourselves, “Everything happens for a reason,” and at another level of awareness we identify with the thought. However, at a different level of consciousness or awareness, perhaps at a substantially different level of awakening, we can also detect that everything we tell ourselves to justify ourselves is nothing other than unadulterated bullshit. If we really want to practice radical honesty, the truth is the most radical of all things. Bullshit is not radical; it’s the manure of lies. We never ought to perpetuate the confusions we cause ourselves. The effects are too nefarious. That being said, there is a positive intent to everything if we intend on discovering the positive. Heck, nothing stops us from fabricating the positive if such is our need. Ah, but, we tell ourselves, “I want to live authentically. I want to be genuine.” It’s an admirable quest, and we can begin by authentically and genuinely embracing our bullshit. This doesn’t mean condoning the BS; it means taking ownership of the falsities we’ve told ourselves about ourselves. The paradox is that when we are lost on the road of life, we can most easily find ourselves according to our own bullshit. We all know it; our bullshit is uniquely identified to us. Actually, maybe it’s the other way around; we uniquely identify with our bullshit. Whereas in the past we used to go to an outhouse to relieve ourselves, when we are lost on the road of life and find ourselves in the middle of nowhere, we can take an allegorical laxative to cleanse ourselves of all the bullshit we’ve carried around in our spiritual colon. It’s amazing how much lighter we feel when we shed all that is shedable. Make it all that is shedabull; it’s a more appropriate term. Once we have washed ourselves clean in the fountain of our private confessions, that sacred space where the truth of ourselves is so raucously loud that it pierces through our deafness, we are ready to begin again. It doesn’t really matter where we came from or where we are going, or for how long we have been lost. As our eyes open to the truth around us, we begin to notice that there are plenty of other people in that lost terrain. We are in fact surrounded by people in similar situations, on parallel journeys, dealing with equivalent bullshit. And it finally all comes together, like an unsolicited miracle. There is no “road” of life; there are only pathways made of sand and dirt and pebbles. They descend into valleys and ascend onto mountains. They ask us to cross rivers with no bridges, without a canoe or paddle. They ask us to negotiate through thick forests replete with wild animals and countless dangers. We may pray for safe passage, but we are also the prey that might not make it out. The only solace we might find is in the depths of our own heart. The only hope we might entertain is in the recesses of our soul. The only desire we might experience is to live another day. One more day. And we have thus figuratively turned the corner. We want to live! We are not lost!! We have just found ourselves!!! Better yet, we have revealed ourselves to be who we have always been. The person we have so assiduously hidden has appeared. No more bullshit; this is the real thing. We don’t need any maps to guide us; we follow our intuition. For better or worse. Because at the end of a lifetime, when we are at the precipice of death, that ultimate passage back into the unknown, no matter what we have done or not done in our time on earth, we want to proclaim that we have known ourselves to be true to who we really are. There is nothing more or less than that. We are never lost. We are always, in every way, making our way somewhere, no matter what direction we take. Let’s get going! It’s a marvelous journey for everyone who marvels at what is and what is not…us.

Copyright © 2018, Joseph Civitella

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Pathways of Sand, Dirt, and Pebbles
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