Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that everything agrees with reason and is conductive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. — Gautama Buddha
The path of uncertainty is still a path.
I created this memoir to share what I have learned from and about life. A rope extended in case you ever need something to hold onto for a while as those before me did for me. A book, a hand, or a word is often the needed spark to keep us going. The path we choose is different for each of us. No two are alike. I respect those individuals who always knew exactly what they wanted to do in life and followed that path. I never did. I still don’t.
I did all the things I thought I was supposed to do as a young man entering this world. I worked hard, fell in love, married, conceived a daughter, and divorced. I spent fifteen years in Human Resources trying to be what I was not, a corporate man. I was on a road of conformity trying to blend into a world in which I did not fit, until I could follow no longer. M. Scott Peck’s book, The Road Less Travelled, was a significant influence on me to begin my personal journey in the mid eighties. It inspired in me the courage to leap into uncertainty.
Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “He who follows any man ceases to follow himself.” Confronting myself was therefore the first step. If I no longer wanted to follow this path of conformity, did I believe in myself enough to forge a different trail?
It is unfortunate that our world places so much value on conformity and very little on creativity. The struggle for personal integrity is a never ending war. I sought a life not drenched in dogma, potholed with beliefs, or railed with fear. So, I challenged everything I thought was true. I questioned everything I believed and separated myself from exposure to the world’s fear as much as I could. I remembered Descartes’s words from a philosophy lecture at college, “In order to reach the truth, it is necessary, once in one’s life, to put everything in doubt — so far as possible.”
Tomorrow, the next experience, destination, or life change is uncertain, but I do not feel lost. When I let go of my preconceptions of life. Life flows. I flow with it. There is not much conflict and little fear in my life today. I have come to trust myself on this road less travelled and this path has brought me ‘here.’
I have few beliefs. I trust the memories I need to remember will surface when needed but my memories are not my life. I do not have the time to relive what I have already lived. My life is this moment. There is too much happening right now to think of the moment before this one. The notes of a saxophone playing on the radio, the flickering of the fire’s flame above the candle’s wick, or the cat curled asleep upon the bed. As my thoughts are with this moment, my fingers are typing to catch up from the last. In the end we only remember moments. Days, weeks, months, years, lifetimes… they all disappear.
Of this, I am certain.