Saturday, May 26, 2007

many paths, one way

the right way. there are many who claim to know it, many who claim to follow it, many who claim to teach it.

the right way to swim, the right way to ride, the right way to run. the right way to carry your head, the right way to hold your hand, the right way to turn your shoulder, the right way to arch your back, the right way to move your hips, the right way to move your legs, the right way to point your feet. the right way to breath and look and tense and release and count cadence and heartrate and turnover and footstrike.

the right way to train. the right way to eat. the right way to sleep. the right way to study, the right way to pray, the right way to work. the right way to dress, the right way to listen and speak, the right way to think and feel. the right way to live.

so many voices. each one claiming they know the way--and their way is always the right way.

funny thing is, when the day comes and you show up for your race and the starting horn goes off and you find yourself in the thick of people and weather and road and chaos, and the goal of the finish is only a flicker in the distance, you invariably discover that the circumstances are very different from what the many voices told you. by chance or circumstance or purpose or design, you find that their ways do not work.

at least not the way they said they would. or the way you wanted them to...or the way you needed them to.

that's when you look around, and see everyone around you. that's when you see many different people doing many different things. that's when you see that their swim is different, their bike is different, their run is different. their heads and hands and shoulders and backs are different. their waists and hips and legs and feet are different. and their breathing and looking and control and count are different. everyone, and everything they're doing, is different. from you, and from each other.

they're not following any of the ways you were told to follow. in fact, they're not following any way at all.

all they're doing is moving as best they can as fast as they can with whatever they have and however their bodies will allow them. one hand at a time. one leg at a time. one foot in front of another. in an inexorable progression somewhere anywhere further than where they were before.

all they're doing is moving forward the only way they know how.

all they're doing is following a path.

so many people, so many paths. each person on their own.

of course, some are better than others. some are slow, some are fast. some are hard, some are easy. some are complex, some are simple. some lead to self-destruction and oblivion, or wind aimlessly off the course altogether. but some do none of these; some lead instead over and around and under and through the water and land and sky, on journeys through places and people and sights and sounds forming the full experience of life and living that is the sublime meaning of existence and has as its purpose a serene mystery all its own.

and these paths take people in a manner they were meant to go...or need to go.

and these paths hold lessons far greater than can be covered by any one voice claiming only one right way.

it makes you wonder if there is such a thing at all.

but you know there is.

it's the one that takes you on the path you were meant to go...or need to go. it's the one that recognizes all the paths that all the souls in all the world must take through the sublime meaning and serene mystery that is this creation.

it's the one that gets you to the finish.

1 comment:

Trihardist said...

Excellent, Jonathan; really beautiful.

The scary part, I would say, is not knowing if the way you're going will get you to the finish until you're there.