The Wishing Path
Behind my home is a trail. It is paved, and people drive from around my side of town to walk, run, or ride bicycles along its way. My son, who is twelve years old, and I walk the path almost daily. There is a section of the trail that is covered with a canopy of trees which let beams of sunshine pass at certain times of the day. We have come to regard it as a sacred place.
Early in our walking days, we determined that one stretch of the trail would be designated, “the wishing path”. We share with one another, what we dream, or desire, of and for, ourselves and others. For months, we have asked ourselves what we might want, if anything was available to us. There have been chances to collect gift lists, but also there have been chances for us to share what is on our hearts. Asking for things like, healing for others, kindness in the world, or food for those with less than us.
Without one piece of doubt, there is also talk of gaming systems, new bicycles, and material things, but there is always mention of something for others, and this makes me proud… and happy. The ease with which we speak of what we really want, makes me happy, also. On this path, we are neither trying to teach or learn. We are not grieving or celebrating. On this path, we are simply offering our wants, not needs, to the universe.
After we turn around a little farther down the trail, we walk the same path, but in the opposite direction. This what we have come to call “the gratitude path”. While traveling towards home, we speak of the things for which we are grateful. Perhaps it is a simple smile on a friend or loved one, it could be the path itself, or it might even be the things we are allowed to use while we live our lives. This path is as important for us as “the wishing path”, and we grow to know each other while traveling.
We have done this for weeks followed by weeks. One way the wishing, the other way the thanking. I treasure our time on these paths. The paths are both what I wish for, and am grateful for, while I am on those paths, and that is a very special place in life to be. To only wish for a thing that is happening at that moment and to be grateful for the chance to grateful. These two actions might be confused with bliss. But bliss happened recently. It almost went unnoticed.
My son and I left for the trail as we normally do. We spoke of the day at work and school. He was excited, as was I. It was a beautiful day and it was nearly dark when we arrived at home. Just before we unlocked the front door, Carter turned to me and said, “We forgot the paths.”
He was confused as I laughed and hugged his neck. My excitement baffled him as I celebrated, and said, “Finally!”
We truly did forget about the paths of wishing and gratitude that day. And this is bliss. To be so content that there is no wish, and to be so filled with gratitude that there is no need to express it in one particular place. This is bliss. On this late evening, we realized that we have so much, we must find creative ways to share. Not only material things, but our spirits as well. People need us. Just like they need you. It is for us to share.
We all have wishing paths. Most of us walk along some sort of gratitude path at different times. While some use a sanctuary or temple, others might use meditation or prayer. Some will express it outwardly and some might only hold these things in their minds. It is important to have some hope, well mixed, with some thanks. This seems to be what compels humanity to grow.
I am reminded, however, of a quote by a German priest from the 1300’s, Meister Eckhart, who said, “If the only prayer you ever pray in your life is thank you, then it will be enough”. In truth, the only reason we need to express what we wish for is so that we might know what we have received. God does know already. Also, in truth, our gratitude does very little to impress the One who bestows everything. It does make room in us to receive more.
Our minds our temples, as are our hearts. How can we ask for more of anything until we have enjoyed what we have had? This is true of love, of truth, material possessions, and even compassion and empathy. Gratitude, or what is commonly known as “counting our blessings”, is like a controlled clearing of a field in preparation for the growth of new crops. And it never hurts to want more or something new.
What I hope for you is that whatever you want, you receive with little effort. That the Universe provides the working out of things for you. Might I make an observation here? Jesus of Nazareth advised that if someone asks for your coat, you should give them your cloak also. He also admonished that if someone asks you to walk one mile, you should walk two. What if these were not lessons about how we should over tax ourselves at the whim of another’s request, but a commentary on the very nature of the Creator? What if the Creator will walk two miles if we ask that the Creator walk one mile? That we might receive a cloak as well as a coat, if we ask only for a coat?
The secret may well be in the asking, not the worrying for how it will happen. It may only be for us to say, “thank you”, and ask again.
May you find the love you offer, the joy you share, and the courage to understand your divinity in relation to the Divine. May you find peace in places where there was none before and always be brave enough to ask for what you want, not what you need, because it is the game of the mind to confuse the two.