We often speak of our life’s path as though it runs in a straight line, or possibly that it’s more like a meandering lane. Looking back I have come to realize that my path hasn’t been, and isn’t now, an easy target to define.
When I drank beer, wine, and Scotch whiskey in my younger years there were times my path was a bit blurry, and sometimes the whole darn thing was lost in an indecipherable fog. There were other times, though, when the alcohol brought out instances of fairly worthwhile insights and a sense of camaraderie with my fellows.
I’ve thought more than once that many novelists, story writers, and poets, both alive and departed, found inspiration in the bottle, or other drugs. They seemed to become connected with some aspect of mind or soul that they couldn’t connect with otherwise. Or, it might have been that without the solace of drugs the pain of living was simply too unbearable.
During the LSD heyday of the 60’s a whole lot of folks found a fantastic unreal path that unleashed awareness, angels, and demons, in spades. I had plenty of friends who experienced great trips, bad trips, and life-changing revelations with the aid of lysergic acid diethylamide. Not me, though. I valued my cognitive mind too much to risk damaging it in search of God or gods or psychedelic rainbows.
I knew a couple of people who never fully came back from an acid trip. At least one friend’s subsequent mental instability became a permanent part of his life. Various folks urged me to drink the kool-aid, so to speak, because they said I was so together a mere drug couldn’t possibly cause any damage. But what if it did? No thanks.
Sometimes my path hasn’t been a path at all but more like a two-dimensional space, and other times it’s been more like a three-dimensional matrix, full of possibilities at every juncture.
There have been times of absolute giddiness when the path seemed to resemble silly putty more than anything else. I’ve experienced more than one dark night of the soul when the path was indiscernible, not blurry, not fuzzy, but empty as if my soul had abandoned me. During those times there has always been Something that has pulled me through, shown me another portal, another space, another way.
For many years now my life’s path has been defined by meditation. In meditation I can see or sense places in my body, both the physical and the not-so-physical. There’s the infinite space around me, the silence, the stillness, the bliss, as well as the infinite space of the universe (for lack of a better way to say it). I’m tempted to say I can “explore the infinite space inside my own head” but that might provide too much fodder for the skeptical.
The safest path, the one that offers the most enrichment for the soul, the body, and the mind, is meditation. It’s the path that’s most enlightening (I couldn’t resist).