Off the Beaten Path
Stepping off the beaten path allows us to explore the unknown. Nature controls earthquakes and tsunamis; we adapt and respond. In contrast, humans craft our own inhumanity; it’s not part of nature’s design. Many overlook this reality.
Observing a Kindness Day may seem like a “good” deed, but it often only scratches the surface of underlying mental health issues. Rising global suicide rates sadly reveal that many people are opting out of an inherited world filled with suffering and inhumanity.
Last week, a school bus driver ended his life after witnessing a massacre involving young children. The horror mirrored traumatic experiences from his own childhood, experiences he never thought he’d relive. His spirit could take no more. His heart could not stand such great pain.
The truth hits hard when we dare open our eyes and engage in raw, honest conversations about the state of our current world. Still, each of us has the option to venture into the unknown and carve out a healthier path; off the beaten path. Maybe this crossroads is what we need to explore at this moment in history?
Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us that “We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates—all opportunities—strings of tension waiting to be struck.”
Reviving the Spirit of Discovery
The wind shows its power in ways we can feel but not see. We notice the wind when it makes trees sway, creates ripples in the ocean, or caresses our faces. It nudges us to explore the unknown and reminds us that we’re alive, like our own breath.
Picture yourself as a grand apple tree with deep roots that seek water and minerals. You connect with the Earth and communicate with other trees, plants, and fungi through your roots. Some roots venture into unknown soil to nourish you, finding a different direction. They struggle through hard soil but eventually break through.
People walking by see that your roots have cracked the concrete sidewalk. They discuss cutting you down, labeling you as a disruptive tree. Your life hangs on their decision. Some see you as a problem, wanting to remove you for altering their path.
Then there’s Ruth, a wise woman who values your fruit and shade. “Let’s think about the impact of our actions on future generations,” she suggests. “Perhaps we need to adapt to the sidewalk cracks instead.”
Living in urban environments, we often schedule time to engage with nature, treating it as separate. Yet, realizing we are always a part of nature removes that separation and reminds us of our interconnected humanity.
Off the Beaten Path: Delving into the Unknown with Natural Intelligence
Healthy practices offer us the chance to dig deep into our humanity. There is no need to take anyone down. In nature, the cycle of day and night marks time, encouraging a natural rhythm. Meditating in a quiet room or atop a mountain might be simple. But what about creating peace in a crowded, inhumane world?
Jiddu Krishnamurti, a twentieth-century philosopher, helps us see that, “One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end. The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end—you don’t come to an achievement; you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river. You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life.”
Trekking into the unknown is not just a physical journey—it’s about getting in touch with your courage and humility. And discovering what has been hidden or suppressed within you. This means exploring both your light and dark sides. It means addressing some of your biggest fears, wounds, and subconscious programming—as well as your unrealized potential.
In delving off the beaten path, trekking into the unknown invites us on a trek no longer fearing criticism or rejection. Waking up to our true human nature and creating a world no one need choose to escape. What happens when each of us becomes a powerful creator during our lifetime? And, what strings are ready to be struck to no longer be in heartless stories?