The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
There he was, in his cabin, removed from the world, not to renounce it, but to see it better.
from On Poets and Others by Octavio Paz on the occasion of his meeting with the poet Robert Frost
The wisdom of the Veda tells us that everything is a coming together; that each episode of life is an opportunity to love, an opportunity to recognize God in all things, in all people, in all situations. We learn always to step forward, to step into life, rather than away.
The lessons of life we receive before we are able to contact our inner truth often have taught us the opposite–the need for judgment and separation, a defining of ourselves by who is against us as much as by who is for us; a holding back of ourselves from action.
The experience of being a human is the dance back and forth between these two extremes. We step into life, we step back from life, we regroup; and we insist on reminding ourselves that ‘into’ is the ultimate answer. We insist on remembering that those thoughts and opinions and ideas that tell us differently probably came from someone else; and perhaps it is time to examine some of them a bit more closely.
And to step back for a moment to do this is sometimes a part of the process.
Today, if I have thoughts of separation and judgment, I will ask myself if these thoughts fit into my philosophy of life; and if they don’t, I will open myself to correcting them. I will challenge myself to step forward into the unknown, rather than to seek the false safety of the known.