I planned when I would wake up…
I planned what I would do each and every day…
I planned how I planned to implement my plan…
I planned, too, how my implemented plan would unfold.
This is what distinguishes humans from all other animals, isn’t it? The capacity to imagine what isn’t?
So, while showering and shaving, I would plan the conversation I was planning to have that day with one of the many persons I planned to see…
I would imagine him saying this…
…and me saying that…
…him doing this…
…and me doing that.
At fifty-eight, you’d think I would know by now that none of my conversations, as well as all my plans, ever materialized the way I had planned them…imagined them.
Life is changing little by little for me, however. The older I become, the less interested I am in plans. I’m finding instead that it’s really more about the path…that life is really more about the journey, not the destination.
Of course, I still make plans. I am just not thinking about them as much anymore.
The problem in much of my religious upbringing has been the preoccupation I was taught to give to a future that isn’t instead of the present that is.
I was taught that I needed to get saved, for example, so as to avoid hell and acquire heaven. Salvation was all about planning to avoid a scary tomorrow with its flames of fire in the company of red-colored fellows with horns and pitch forks. My religious fathers even called this plan “The Plan of Salvation.” They printed the plan in little booklets and told us we should plan on sharing the plan with those who needed a better plan than the one that awaited them.
I see now the madness in all such planning…imagining…worrying…fearing…
Such a life leads nowhere my friend, except to an exhaustion of mind. To an arrogance of spirit, which is much of religion still today, a gross spirit that presumes your plan is the only plan…your path is the only path…all other paths are no plans at all.
The longer I walk the spiritual path, the less I want, or need, a life plan. Or, any other plan.
Why would you need plans if life is really about the path?
I have discovered there really is an Unseen Guide. That I CAN trust the path to unfold just as it is supposed to unfold. That I do not have to occupy my life or preoccupy myself with lots of unnecessary planning. That I need not attempt to control what cannot be controlled…or, plan what cannot be planned.
Sure, I know how hard it is in today’s world to survive without making plans. So, plan if you must. But give your attention to the path, too.
When the Buddha was asked “What do you and your disciples do?” he responded: “We sit…we walk…we eat.”
The questioner pressed, “So, how is that so different from what the rest of us do?”
“The difference,” he answered, “is this: When we sit, we know we’re sitting; when we walk, we know w’re walking; when we eat, we know we’re eating.”
My friend, this is the secret to happiness. It’s what Jesus meant when he asked, “What does it profit you to gain the whole world but lose your soul?” Or, “to make plans but miss the pathway to them?”
Give up the need for plans…for destinations.
Discover the joy in the pathway itself.
There is no destination; there is only your journey to it.