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A Path With A Heart


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“Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question. This question is one that only a very old man asks. My benefactor told me about it once when I was young and my blood was too vigorous for me to understand it. But now I do understand it and I will tell you what it is:

“Does this path have a heart?

“All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths, but I am not anywhere. My benefactor’s question has meaning now: Does this path have a heart?

“If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

“Before you embark on any path ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path.”

― Carlos Castaneda, “The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

(see min 1:47)

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Comments on: "A Path With A Heart" (4)

  1. I wrote this when I was in the process of choosing a thesis project. I felt like a million wonderful subjects lay before me; which *one* question could I immerse myself in it for months and months without burning out? This is the quote that helped me decide to choose not the most flashy, cutting-edge project but the one that made me gloriously happy to think about doing.

    I’m glad someone else feels the inspiration of following their heart.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Skye. Following our bliss and passions is good work whenever we can find it and make it happen. Enthusiasm and passion are so important in life. And I look at following one’s heart as similar to saying follow one’s highest and best self. Hopefully there is much overlap in the two. One of the questions regarding any path is what will I become by traveling on this path? “The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what he gets by it, but what he becomes by it.”( – John Ruskin). All paths will change us, some for the better and wiser and stronger and more alive; others not so much so.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting, and beautiful calligraphy and writing, Skye!

      Kindest regards,

      John

  2. Reblogged this on Wholeheartedness and commented:
    Follow the reblog for an excellent video…

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