I have been writing about the philosophy of Pathwalking for over eight-and-a-half years now.
In short, Pathwalking is choosing what paths you desire to take in your life. This is a matter of conscious reality creation via mindfulness to find and/or create the things you desire for your life.
This is not a quick fix nor instant gratification philosophy. It takes patience, time, and work. Practicing mindfulness makes you conscious of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. That awareness, in the here and now, helps you choose for yourself actively rather than passively to do things.
It is easy to fall into patterns and habits from day to day. There is an expectation on the part of our culture and society to follow a non-specific path of sleep-wake-work-rest-sleep-wake-work-rest-repeat. The monotony of this pattern broken only by a two-day weekend and time you take on vacation.
This is an easy pattern to follow. Yet it is not for everyone.
Since the “majority” of people appear to follow this, however — is it still a path? Since it tends to be passive and not actively chosen, does that make it a path or no path?
The answer is, unsurprisingly, simple, but complicated at the same time.
The passive path
The vast majority of people I know work in an office setting of one sort or another. They very much follow the sleep-wake-work-rest-sleep-wake-work-rest-repeat pattern.
In some cases, they have made a choice. This is a job they like, it is a pattern they follow because it makes them content or even happy. They are on a path they have chosen, know where it is likely to take them, and for the most part, they are satisfied.
But for all of them, I also know a lot of people who follow the pattern because they feel they must. The place where they work pays the bills — but is by no means what they ultimately would choose for themselves. Still, along the way the job has some opportunity for advancement, promotions, pay raises and offers occasional satisfaction.
This is one example of a passive path. It has come their way, and they are making some choice in following it. Yet if they could, they would choose something different and likely unconventional. This is the lawyer who would rather be a novelist, the project manager who would prefer to be a chef, and the like.
It is still a path, but not as actively followed as much as passively.
Then there is the extreme version of this. Some people haven’t the foggiest idea of what path they would choose for themselves. For various reasons, they have reached a point where the pattern alone drives them. They exist but don’t really live most of the time. They trudge through their job, make just enough money to pay the necessities (and pay-off debts they have accrued along the way).
Those living passively frequently only make choices involving what to wear, what to eat, and how to divert themselves.
Mental health and faux productivity
Let’s address the elephant in the room, shall we? Life is change and change is scary. Currently, in the face of a global pandemic, important social issues, and surreal politics, uncertainty is the norm. Even the present holds a great deal more uncertainty for people than normal.
What is normal? I’m asking this rhetorically because the answer is utterly subjective. However, there remains a stigma about mental health that tends to not get addressed. How you are feeling, more often than not, will be swept under the rug and disregarded for faux productivity.
What do I mean by that? Every time I have held a standard 9–5 type of job, during the 8-hour workday, there was an expected level of productivity. However, realistically, during the 8 hours at work, there was anywhere from 2–4 hours of actual productivity.
Ergo, for 4–6 hours there was faux productivity. Projects I could do in 10 minutes took an hour, for example. The longest possible route from my desk to the bathroom was my frequent choice. Various meetings I might have had to attend for an hour held 10 minutes of useful info and 50 minutes of bullshit.
I am pretty sure this is familiar to many of you. Yet some people DO work for 8+ hours a day at their job. But for every one of them, I know there are a dozen who take part in faux productivity.
Hours doing nothing of any importance is mentally taxing. But if you don’t produce your faux productivity, you get in trouble.
I suspect many of the office workers who had a chance to work from home were FAR more productive during working hours — but also saw how much faux productivity they tend to put out.
No path is still a path
Because everyone DOES make choices every day, even a path that is not consciously chosen IS still a path.
For some, they have not decided just what they want to do with their life. For others, they have succumbed to the belief that what they desire isn’t possible for them. In some instances, people have accepted a false narrative about why that which they would choose won’t work.
I believe that everyone is capable of conscious reality creation. What’s more, I am pretty sure everyone HAS performed this at one time or another.
For example, you really wanted that promotion at work. You envisioned what it would be like to hold the title, make the extra money. In your mind, you saw how cool it would be to succeed at that — and felt in your bones the satisfaction that came of it. Then it happened.
Conversely, you were really concerned that the job you held would collapse. Even doing your best, you feared the job would be lost. There was no indication that this was the case, but you still worried about it happening, envisioned your firing, and felt it at your core how awful it would be. Then it happened.
Conscious reality creation is a neutral matter. Hence why it can be good or bad. But when you put your focus on something, even something you DO NOT WANT, consciousness creates reality.
Thus, not choosing a path IS a path — but it tends to be unsatisfactory. Whatever reason holds a person back, passively walking a given path still gets you from point ‘a’ to point ‘b.’ Unfortunately, the journey between the points is likely to be displeasing.
It is never too late to choose
A final, super-important note. It is NEVER too late to actively choose a path for yourself. You are never too old, too poor, too broken, nor any other reason to decide on a new course for your life. Yes, it might be really hard to do, it may take a serious leap of faith, and there might be a lot of risk involved. That doesn’t mean it is not there.
Even the safest choices can be overridden by extenuating circumstances. COVID-19 in the United States is getting more and more out of control, and that is going to have a permanent impact on our society. While to some degree you have no control over this — you can choose to social distance, wear a mask in public, and take other precautions to lessen the chances of contracting the virus.
You — your soul, your being, the consciousness and subconsciousness that is YOU — get one lifetime to experience everything in this form. Nobody is meant to simply exist — we are meant to live. That means something different for me than it does for you — but deciding on paths to take is a modicum of control you can exert that will impact how you experience life.
Choosing no path may still be a path. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have more options to choose from than less. Hence, I am walking the paths that I am today. That is part of the choices I have made and continue to make along the way. This is something that, even when it gets rough and complicated, still provides much satisfaction.
What paths do you choose — or not?
Know that you are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done our thoughts, feelings, and actions matter, as does what paths you choose — or don’t choose.
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on July 8, 2020.