Originally published on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008.
From the book, The Gifts of Life and Love by Ben Zion Bokser.
The Path We Have Taken
An innate conservatism often holds us back from embarking on new adventures. Sometimes this is a brake on progress. Yet in its own way it makes a contribution to our happiness.
The world is rich in endless possibilities. Each is a path that might be pursued, that would offer many fulfillment to one who will embark on it. But if we followed the call of every possibility, we would be forever on the go. We would dissipate our strength by trying the impossible, to go in many directions at the same time, or to continue shifting from direction to direction.
Life demands that we concentrate on a given path, that we pursue it till we reach its final end. We cannot know what a given path has to offer unless we pursue it for some time, resisting the call to embark on new adventures as a diversion from the task before us.
There are times when the path we have chosen has disclosed its defects, and it becomes necessary to leave it in favor of a new path. Then it is time to abandon the promptings of a conservative disposition with its call to caution. But it is good that human nature tends to surround what we have with an aura of love, and to defend it against the disrupting pressures of a changing world.
Life is full of possibilities. Often, we face the dilemma to choose which direction to take and to be happy and content with the choices we have made. If we could only split ourselves, live different realities at the same time and could somehow go back where we have started, it would be easier and life would be a life without regret. But to live life, we are only given a one-way ticket, one chance. There is no going back and time is forever lost.
In the road of life, a light illuminates but only a part of the way. With religion, tradition, custom of society or laws of the land, or with whatever that tells us what is right and what direction to follow, the course will still be walked with uncertain steps. For all this is only a partial light and it does not clearly indicate what path that must be taken. It is for this reason that every choices made based on certain facts and circumstances are fallible and short-sighted. Thus, our mind must be open to new knowledge and wisdom which time will hopefully bring. In light of the new knowledge and wisdom, we must continually, carefully review and reassess the choices we have made.
However, our innate conservatism prevents us from taking new direction even when the path we have taken is in its dead-end or deviates from our life’s goals, happiness or betterment of living. This conservative disposition calls upon caution as its main reason. It also asserts fondness towards familiarity and resistance to the pressure of change. But sometimes, it is a mask of fear – fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of another possibility of dead-end and failure.
But whatever is behind our conservative disposition, do not lose sight of the goal. With faculties intact, knowledge, wisdom and a dose of courage, it is important to move forward following the direction of our life’s goals and to be not held at a stand still, for in the road of life, we move backwards by standing still in this fast moving world.