Dafremen "In the quest for truth an meaning in life, there is a Path that defines the Way. None may be led down that road to understanding, still we need not follow its winding curves alone. For as to each falls the task of choosing his footsteps, so also may we choose to mark the trail where we stumble. Look carefully for the signs left to my brothers. They are everywhere, left eons ago by those who, having made the journey, couldn't bear to leave you behind. Hear too the cries of one who has seen the way, and longs for what he had before straying from the Path. Take these offerings of love and find in them the way to your birthright, to your happiness."

Imagination takes us places that reality begs to, but fails to for its substance. Were the mind to see what the heart has forgotten, loneliness would be replaced with solitude and the days of its reign over the human experience would come to an end. Were we to have been taught from birth the truths that our race has all but forgotten, our time would be valued, each individual life cherished for its rarity; each day and the moments they contain would be weighed as gold paid in appreciation, forgiveness and understanding. There is such a truth. On the heels of its discovery follow the signposts that define a path. There are many who believe that there is no such thing as "a Path" or "the Way." With so much stacked against our understanding from the very beginning, it's no wonder that many find the notion absurd. Still, the Path isn't necessarily about faith, or at least it doesn't have to be, for the signs of its existence are there to be seen and understood by those who must see to believe. There isn't just one path, no, there are many paths in fact. Not all arrive at the same destination (some don't even arrive at the desired destination), but most head in the same general direction. This, at least, is an improvement over wandering lost. The direction these paths run is parallel to those which define the Way. The Way is a destination. It is the evolution of the human race. The Path is a teacher. One is the end result of an inner metamorphasis, the other a series of lessons that provide the catalyst for that metamorphasis.

There are those who stumble onto a Path. There are others who search after the Way. These are the Seekers, and they may or may not subscribe to faith in the divine, but regardless, they make their way down one Path or another in pieces and stutters. The trials along the way are each met or hidden from, faced or failed. Even in failure, new pieces can keep coming, and often do, but they only serve as tantalizing reminders of what awaits down the Path, beyond the inner change its testing brings about. Until the tests are passed, there is usually little or no advancement.

At the end of that evolution of the psyche, there is respect, love, appreciation, consideration, purpose of emotion, humility, purpose of mind, courage, empathy, purpose of will and understanding. There is clarity of vision, the unseen is seen, the mind's eye is open to reality as it exists, not as it appears to or may be. Of the many Paths that lead to that destination, some are well-traveled, some remained to be blazed. As one Teacher said, "The Path may be chosen or forged, but the well-worn dirt between the grasses seems to hold more promise than the parted blades beside it." Taking an established Path is generally more reliable, easier, and faster. (Depending upon the Path chosen of course.)

For those of you not inclined to deep, philisophical thoughts, I would highly recommend a theology or method for living which emphasizes:

1. Unity

2. Will's ability to exercise authority over material urges, desires and habits.

3. Humility

4. Appreciation of and reverence for all life, preferably for all things.

5. Acceptance of the need for both darkness and light, joy and pain..for cycles and contrasts.

This theology or philosophy does not have to be a god-based religion or belief system. Most Paths DO come to some terms with the question of divinity. The Way is a destination though, not a set of rules or rituals that lead to that destination. These rules and traditions are simply the tools and guides along each particular Path. Since the Way is a destination, a Path need not require that you make any assumptions about what is waiting at the end or even whether or not there IS an end. A Path's purpose is not to shape your beliefs into a precast mold that will bring you to a state of blissful ignorance (although some do almost that.) The purpose of a Path is to bring each of us to a point in our lives where we are enamored of this infinite march of finite mortal rarities.

Each life is a gem; singular snowflakes of creativity and expression. When you take the time to see them, they're not that hard to enjoy. They enjoy being enjoyed. The ones that we DON'T enjoy? (Sure do make me appreciate the ones that I DO enjoy that much more.) Here then is where the lessons we must learn along the path come into play:

1. Unity brings acceptance of the flaws in others. This, in turn strengthens traits and talents in the self: diplomacy, patience, empathy, tact. They win. We win. Everybody wins. We are kin. We are none of us perfect, but we are brothers and sisters and we are ALIVE. Let's not waste a second of this! Not theirs not yours, none of it. It's just too precious. We can forgive each other; we are family.

2. A philosophy which emphasizes detachment from material items, and which embraces at least the NOTION of establishing the will's authority over material urges and tendencies, is a key. For as long as one cannot control ones wants, desires, actions and urges AT WILL, attachment to the notion of self as individual will continue to dominate over the notion of self as part of a greater whole, severely hampering the progress of our race. Sadly, but truly, the wants and needs of the material self WILL be gratified, without adequate restraint, in spite of the emotional, material and mental consequences that such gratification may create for others. The greater the stake, the harder the want or need becomes to restrain. Would you kill a boy for his shoes? Some would. Make it a fast car, a suitcase full of money and a pretty girl. How many more would pull the trigger then? Why? Material gratification out of control. Nations go to war over it.Your comfort or ours? Your pleasure or ours? This doesn't mean that one has to give up all of one's things, (although that's great if that's what you want to do), but it DOES mean that you are made to prove that you HAVE that control. This may means periods of self-denial. This may mean fasting or atoning. It may mean coming to the realization that part of you is made of dirt, and that it is absurd to let THAT part of you dictate your actions. However it is achieved, self-control should be a high priority for any Path that is taken along the Way.

3. It is also uniformly important that a well-oriented Path lead one to know and embrace humility, to release the ego. Preferably, the method should not be based upon a praise or reward system. Class distinction often rears its head along such Paths as these. Humility is best taught as a matter of perspective, with the best rewards being comprehension, appreciation and gratitude.

4. Most established Paths attempt, through various means, to still the instinctive reaction that most of us have to the notion of our mortality. This should be the yang to the yin of an active love and appreciation of life in its many forms, if a Path or string of truths truly runs parallel to the Way. Again, Unity is key to this appreciation of life and this acceptance of death. How LUCKY are we to have been given the chance to live? We should be excited, not only for ourselves, but for the others that also participate in this incredible miracle. This is their shot too. The most unspeakable tragedy we should know of, is to have taken that chance to be alive away from another living thing. Respect for the sanctity of all life is crucial to the evolution of the human race. If a living thing must be killed, let it be done with respect, reverence and regret, out of necessity. Not with indifference, out of pride, fear, anger or greed.

5. Along with the idea of Unity and acceptance of life and death as natural cycles, should come an embrace of the notion of darkness or negative as a necessary prerequisite to light. There is no darkness without light, nor is there light without darkness. These cycles are necessary. Although the universe balances out gray over the long term, it is through constantly changing cycles that it does so. She swings from dark to light to dark again..over and over. Between black and white lie all of the colors of the rainbow. This is the infinite range from which spring all possibilitities. Between ultimate pain and ultimate ecstacy, lie all of the various combinations of joy and sorrow. Between ultimate hunger or thirst and ultimate satisfaction lie all of the varying degrees of want and need, contentment and desire. An ideal Path will teach the necessity of the "dark" stuff: the black stuff, the negative stuff, the passive stuff, absorbing stuff, the imploding stuff, the attracting stuff..the stuff we need as much as we need its opposite, positive stuff. When one learns to appreciate rude and obnoxious people for providing contrast, it tends to polish one's appreciation of the other people in one's life.

Those, seem to be the main milemarkers along the Path and the best indicators that one has found a Path that heads toward the Way. There may be more, this Seeker has yet to reach the destination himself, however there is one final bit of advice that should be left here with this. It is probably the single easiest thing one might do to begin one's search for the Way:

Begin finding the similarities in EVERYTHING. Even things that seem completely unrelated. Get into this habit and it will be a handy Teacher that you take with you wherever you go.

Having spent a lifetime learning to differentiate, categorize and individualize, we've forgotten, or lost the opportunity to learn many of the lessons that comparing commonalities can offer. What is of consequence, isn't just how our perceptions are perception isn't the only thing aided by getting into such a habit.

Perceived similarities often foster empathy, creat bonds between people, forged of shared experiences and common backgrounds, be they only assumed. If one's thoughts went immediately and automatically to what we have in common with others, our differences would appear less glaring. Finding common ground serves to temper frustration, anger and ambition with understanding, patience and sympathy, at some level. Just as differences perceived become the stepping stones in chains of thought which lead to the conclusion that there must be more differences, so too do perceived similarities tend to breed the notion that there must be other similarities as well.

There can be no harm in looking for insight in the things that connect us, rather than looking for truth in the things that alienate us from one another. It is through comparison of similarites that some of our wisest have taught us the most:

"He who chases two rabbits at the same time, catches neither one."

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

Pick your favorite Buddhist simile.

Pick your favorite Quranic metaphor.

Pick your favorite Biblical parable.

(And yes, yes of course...silly stuff has come from comparing similarites too. Like wearing a cheetah skin on your head in order to run fast and be fierce...etc. Hey, nobody said that we should stop thinking or observing.)

In the end, what you choose to do with your life and what you choose to believe is up to you.

If you seek the path or find religion or both or neither, enjoy yourself. Be good to one another and pass that on to your kids. Do that much at LEAST and you will probably have done alright by most standards. Don't fear the end, because it NEVER ends for us all together, just, perhaps, for each of us alone.

One unique experience to be amazed by and with which to amaze. That's what we KNOW we've got, regardless of what we believe happens after death. A chance to live and learn and love and grow. We have SO much in common you and I, and there are SO many paths out there, that I hope this helps you some.

There IS a Way, and it heads ever upward to the best that you have inside of you. Although some may never get there, rest assured, the best hope for the future of the human race lies dormant within us all. Have a great life, and enjoy the show.

Your brother who loves you dearly,

oldephebe OK - whew! let these scriptures be seared upon the tablets of our hearts - no but really that was first rate Daf i'll probablly have to print this one out and read it several times - but i am left without words - we always seem to be approximating a kind of kindred or sympathetic reverberation - OK here's why i'm saying this - after I posted some quasi-religious spiel under ash's scars that make up me (only it wasn't a spiel see i was so shaken by what i'd read and felt the need to try and step into the thin shadow of despair or desolation or that sliver of her soul that she'd revealed and attempt to apprehend maybe, or at least to ameliorate maybe my own sense of despair after reading it or her sense of loss - i don't quite know right now, but anyway after i'd posted those words that i'd cast into the flames, i scrolled down the page and Lo! there it was - the path - i read the first half yesterday and finished it today, just now - any true existentialist would have a field day quantifying and qualifying and categorizing the world we live in today - every breath it seems is tainted with an existential ague - what are our souls moored to? what is it that makes a man murder his wife and kids because he lost a divorce/custody battle? or a man just fired walks into his former worksite and indescriminately begins blowing people away? What are our souls moored to? Before i start parroting the whole litany of whats wrong with the world today i'll stop it here - but really is humanity equiped as we are presently constituted to deal with the sometimes wrenching vicissitudes that casts our lives into uncertain and unforeseen waters? Are we? Modern man/woman we are all exteriorization - all in a desperate flight from ourselves - maybe there is something out there for us, a truth, a verity, a belief system, a philosophy, a way of Being that can shore up the ramparts of the soul or if you like mind)
any way you've given us much to think about - more cud to masticate upon in the old salivary maw - keep writing man, keep pursuing Truth, empathy compassion - in the end I believe it's the only thing that will save us

oldephebe wow i just noticed this entire column is canted - markedly so - the leaning tower of verbiage and what not - i don't think my head is canted (my mind? well that's another question altogether, let's really not ruminate upon that..)

but seriously check it out this entire page is canted - it's just a little

Death of a Rose good strong words Dafremen 031016
hsgatincamail unremarkable poetry 040701
dafremen see also: perception_is_not_reality 050725
daf see also: crisis_and_observation 050913
Christ without the cross Cool man! I love people. I am growing in this love for people. I can see God in everything and i thank God for giving these eyes and these ears and all these senses. I thank God for the spirit that he has given to man and all creation. It is true that we have not used it towards the most beneficial ends, but blessed are all of God's creation because they shall come to know God.

Everything here is true. Truth is and always will be. It never ends. it is constant as well as constantly changing. It grows with every birth. It expands with every death. What is left other than truth for God is truth and God is everything. Everything contains truth. Everything has the spirit of truth engrained within. When we truly see ourselves as one we will gain the absolute truth. The absolute does not require the relative. In the absolute there are no lies. We should work toward this. Truth should pertrude out of our lips every time we speak.

God is love. God is the universe. God is all creation. God is truth. God if life. God is the journey. God is the destination. God is change. God is constance. God is light. God is darkness. God is. I am. We are. All are.

God is...

Christ without the cross When did i write this crap? It is interesting to see how a person's mood changes. 061106
blather_pollution blather_pollution 061106
Christ without the cross hmm...
I need to find that place again where i can believe the words that i write. I need to believe that it is possible for things to be the way that i have dreamed for so long. I know that i must speak the words but more importantly, i must live the life.

I have already chosen my path but now i must walk it, but my feet won't move. They won't start threading down the path. I am holding myself back.
P the DCLVIII To change one's views is a part of the_path, Cw/otC. We learn by embracing, recoiling, and embracing again. Cutting oneself upon the thorns either forever repels one from the rose... or draws one even closer to it.

[To me] this seems to hold true for many things, both concrete and abstract.
Wasandru Sometimes the forks in one's_path are really to routes to the same destination. 061106
Gah! "...are really tWo routes..." 061107
misstree one step at a time.
sometimes baby steps.
sometimes inches.
the important thing is
unhinged i am devout and conservative religiously to some degree. but the reason i got here is because i have sincere faith in


buddhism is not a philosophy or exotic asian artifact to me. it is the one thing in this world i can
count on to bring me solace (besides maybe my family; even they have been known to give me grief sometimes. the wounded animal in each of us reacts differently).

sometimes the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is the idea that every moment is a new perfect moment unto itself. sometimes i dont get out of bed.

my religion isnt something i picked up to have a conversation topic for others to remember me by at cocktail parties. its the raft i cling to when everything else makes me feel like im drowning.
what's it to you?
who go