Image by Bill Kramme via FlickrThis is a tough one.
There is no right or wrong path in life. There are only right and wrong choices.
Perhaps your a regular reader, in which case you may be at least entertained in giving me some latitude. Or maybe you've just arrived, in which case I may seem full of myself and foolish. A reminder to both Iam mostly writing to remind myself of ideas, not to tell anyone else what to do or believe. In either case, what could I mean by what I wrote?
Some paths may be longer, rockier, steeper and more treacherous but that is a matter of our environment (including the choices of others) as well as our own choices. Some people will choose or be shoved onto paths that cause immense pain to themselves or others. I think free will by its and our nature ultimately leads back to God. I don't think all paths are the same, just all understandings/notions of Ultimate Reality are not the same. Each paints a different picture and offers a different destination. But God is beyond pictures, paths and destinations, so in the ends it's like "Surprise! All destinations (and indeed all things) are on some level the same thing."
I know some folks cringe at the G-word because of how it has been used and how many try to define it, but in this case feel free to substitute true depth of being, Buddhanature, or something along those lines. My theology is narrow enough to be quite expansive.
The implication is that while we judge choice by our intent and the consequences of our actions by a moral response and ethical standard, we should not then condemn the path. This can be hard to distinguish. If we made a mistake aren't all the consequences of that mistake tainted somehow?
It is hard. Actions have consequences. But each moment brings new choices and chances. Everyone has heard of the person who made some horrible decisions and now lectures about them to others in order to prevent similar mistakes or to let people know there is still hope. Those who say that in a way taking that rough and rocky path was the best thing for them. But that didn't just happen. It was up to them what to do with the choices they had made and the new choices made available as a result.
This doesn't mean choices are essentially irrelevant, and that there is no right or wrong in choice. It tells us exactly the opposite. Choice is everything. If we have handled one moment badly, we have, and we must face what comes of that. But more urgently we are called to focus on what to do next. Now.
It is in this way that we are born again. It is this way we walk with the spirit of God. It is in this way we recognize that samsara is nirvana. It is in this way we see the Kingdom of God. This is the path of no path. This is the the beginning and the end of the spiritual journey. It is where the prophets, Jesus and the saints walk. It is the way of Lao Tsu and the Buddha. It is always before you no matter which way you turn.
Take off your shoes and bow. You are on holy ground.