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I remember fondly how I stumbled upon the realization that I had not only started walking the path with heart, but also unearthed what it takes to become one with it.
It was a crispy and bright spring morning. The light sun rays showered my kitchen counter with delicious warmth.
I had a good view of my garden from my kitchen window. Plants and flowers alike seemed to welcome the change of season, and pigeons sang while they took a plunge in the birds’ bath.
It was one of those busy mornings. I was getting everything ready to cook a beef goulash. While chopping all vegetables for the dish, I listened attentively to an online show exploring spiritual topics and the like.
That morning’s show discussed the topic of dharma—how our dharma is oftentimes about what we are most passionate about. It may surface in childhood or youth when we start to discover our likes and dislikes, growing from there into a hobby or passion we can’t do without.
Paradoxically, other times, our dharma may bloom out of a healing journey to mend our grieving hearts. Sometimes, our greatest gifts may come from healing trauma or wounds, nested deep inside.
I started reminiscing my own personal experience as it hit me like a ton of bricks that these two scenarios mentioned earlier intertwined and connected the dots of who I am meant to be.
I loved writing since I was a child; however, it was a crossroads between my professional career and motherhood that led me back to the path with heart.
As fate would have it, my son was diagnosed with severe autism, which meant he required a higher level of care and the need to make a choice I didn’t anticipate.
Nevertheless, before submitting to despair, I decided to put my son first, gave up my career, and provided my son with the care he needed and deserved.
Then, something magical happened.
I took to writing again and reacquainted myself with my childhood’s fairy tale. I wrote my heart out to express all the feelings I couldn’t otherwise unveil. In this way, not only my healing journey began, but also my return to innocence—the path of return to myself.
The online show continued playing in the background as I thought to myself, it is clear I have started to walk the path with heart, but how do I stay on the path? How do I make it my way of living? And how do I become one with my path?
All of a sudden, as if I was conjuring the answer to appear in front of me, the host of the show quoted a passage from Carlos Castaneda’s book, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.
“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.
All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. 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.”
Here are three ways to find and become one with the path with heart:
1. Discipline and devotion to know your own heart.
We must know ourselves to take the path with heart. Chances are we won’t find the path with heart by trying to figure out our way through life with our logical mind. Therefore, we must devote time to meditation and silence to get to know ourselves.
We must also look at each path with detachment, knowing that any path is only a path. There is no shame to oneself in dropping it if that’s what our heart tells us to do.
When I was confronted with the decision to give up my career to look after my son, I had no doubt in my heart about the right choice. By making the choice with detachment and devotion to follow my heart, I unknowingly attracted the opportunity to find my dharma, the path with heart.
2. Let go of fear or ambition.
Taking the path with heart requires to have the courage to forge ahead, following our heart and letting go of the fear of uncertainty. In other words, it’s about being brave to take the first step, even when there’s not a clear path ahead, trusting the next step will be revealed in due course.
When I came up with the idea to launch my own blog, I was faced with the impostor syndrome. Why would anyone want to listen to me?
I failed to see that by writing my heart out and sharing my story I could be of benefit to others. This is why to find and walk the path with heart, we must let go of ambition.
If we give with an open heart and strive to be of service, we will gain a higher perspective of our mission and will receive tenfold what we put out in the world.
I am glad to have launched my blog despite of my fears because as soon as I did, the next step became clear. I joined Elephant Academy and now, I have certainly found my voice.
3. Let go of the attachment to reach a destination.
All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. There’s no destination to arrive at. Only the journey matters, who we are being, and what we are learning along the way.
I used to have the mindset of a high achiever, going from goal after goal, only to find myself deep in burnout and with an empty heart. So, I have learned not to do anything in life just to gain a prize.
I now follow my heart and focus on enjoying the ride.
When you love what you do, you become one with the path. The path becomes your heart itself and will make you stronger. You will no longer make any effort to walk your path.
To finalize, I offer you a poem of my own.
Have you ever wondered about your dharma?
What would it take to walk the path with heart?
Are you tired of being caught up in the drama
to elicit its search with the logical mind?
Finding our dharma follows a pattern,
a golden thread that weaves the shape of you,
connecting the intricate strings scattered
in the full tapestry that makes the whole of you.
No need to get your brain sharpened
to discern or figure out the truth,
only connecting with your soul in silence
will ever grant you an honest clue.
But taking and staying on the path with heart
is a different matter and a choice we make,
for it takes courage, discipline, and faith
to commit to the path of return to yourself.
To walk the path with heart
it’s letting go of who you thought you were,
to become who you truly are.
It’s letting go of certainties
to step outside of your comfort zone,
letting go of external validation
to do what you truly love,
letting go of convenience
to get out of the box.
It’s releasing the angst to reach a destination
to enjoy the journey once and for all,
following your heart and your imagination,
letting your life be led by your soul.
It’s akin to the space of no time,
where you get completely lost,
feeling the flame inside,
answering your soul’s call,
sketching your own design
of your self-abiding love…
It’s letting go of all thoughts
shoulda, coulda, woulda,
courageously burning the boats,
leaving everything behind,
no expectation, shame, or regrets,
letting your heart lead at last
the path of return to yourself.