You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.
Not every way that seems right to a man ends in death. Not all wisdom men can come up with is foolishness. Not all knowledge of human discovery make the gods laugh. Not all ways of man are contrary to the ways of the gods either. And not everyone that says there might not be an actual God is a fool. And too, the gods are not easily perceived by just looking around at the physical world and all it contains. We have more specific answers to those things given by those who went the way of science that either give those that went the way of theology and religion pause or simply piss them off. What the God of Job challenged him with, if he was so smart, could mostly be answered today by any high school kid without invoking the supernatural. The way to be and think changes as knowledge increases. Some think the increase of knowledge to be a bad thing and a sign of the end of time. The one tree denied to humans in the Eden myth was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil and that way was not for humans in those times. Those ways were just for the gods as was the way of living forever, so out you go.
In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs, it is the rule.
Individuals often know how life works and what the truth really is. But tragedy happens when a large number of people believe the lies. For example, a large number of people buy products sold by corporations that have no regard for the health of their customers.
There are no facts, only interpretations.
You don’t need to know the big truths of life, but you need to know the truths that apply to you. It is important to learn about life from our own perspective and know that there’s nothing as the absolute truth.
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truths than lies.
Keeping firm opinion about something means that you aren’t willing to change and expand. But change is the nature of life, so always question things and expect them to change over time.
And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who couldn’t hear the music.
In life, some people will love your work and your creativity, and others will hate it. Just because some can’t see your light doesn’t mean you should stop shining.
No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.
Everybody wants to find the magic pill for success. The truth is that it doesn’t exist. You need to build your own path by making mistakes and relying on your intuition.
Personally and speaking only for myself, finding "the way" in life via organizations or bodies of believers in this or that has not really been finding any way that I would want to follow. I grew up in the way to be as a Presbyterian kid. It was the way for my parents and being we are all born in the box our parents came from, that seemed to be the right and expected way to be.
I then, at the ripe old age of 14, found the way to be via the Worldwide Church of God and for decades settled on that being the way to be. Other ways to be were suppressed only to have those ways resurface as the years passed and my own life unfolded.
In time and through all the mud, the blood and the beer of being not only associated with the WCG but one of the coaches on the team, that way faded and was more than unsatisfying. I read books on other ways to be.
I found "No man can come to the Father except by me" to not be my way anymore. That makes no sense in my way of thinking. It actually seems weird and arrogant. Scary thing to think or say isn't it?
I don't find any one person being the "Way, the Truth and the Life". One person, real or imagined is not THE light to the world and one book on the history, real or imagined, of an insignificant cultic folk who possess the only words of life does not convince me. That's just my way.
A way to be, and for me still is, was found in the writings of Eckhart Tolle who simply taught that being present in life, not living in the unchangeable past or the unknowable future, was not only wisdom but reality. That is one way of being for me. He reminded me we all have a pain body that we feed if not careful and to our harm and for no good outcome. That helped me move on from the way I was and the potential to get stuck in the way I was, to the way I now am which is a far better way. Many authors have come to the same conclusions about that being a better way to be.
Of course, the Bible being less than inerrant and the story less than I always was told and thought it to be is also my way. Decades of soaking in all made me this way. This way angers some but another of my ways of being is not to care very much about that either. It's ok if my ways are not your or anyone else's way or yours not mine. We'll all live longer if we accept that there is no one right way to be. There are no one true churches or any ONE faith ONCE delivered anymore than there are one or two chances in life to get it right and accept that one way. At least that's my way of seeing it whether it is yours or not, and it's ok.
My way is a fascination with origins. I like what we are learning about the Universe, it's origins and that of our own star and earth. I don't mind that every atom and mineral in my body came from the core of an exploding star. Makes me feel big not small and part of the one grand thing. That's just my way.
I like that I am a hairless, conscious ape that has evolved over the past 2 million years from less conscious apes. I don't mind that being my way of being and seeing the world around me through my own mind and musings. The why and how are the stuff of future discovery and not knowing everything is also a good way to be. It's not the destination so much as the journey. That's my way. In church I knew everything...just ask me. That is not my way now.
There's no right way to be a woman; there's only a right way to be a human, which is to have respect for others.
In the past, there was only one way to look at relationships, that is not my way now. There was only one way to see the world. Ditto. There was a need to all speak the same thing, correct or not. Not my way anymore. There are many ways to speak about many things depending.
I'd like to share a helpful article that is a nice balance to the concept, "My way or the highway" we all grew up by those with real or imagined authority over our intellectual, moral and spiritual lives.
Sometimes There Is No Right Way
"I was raised in a home where a very common phrase was, “There’s a right way and a wrong way.”
The right way was the way my parents wanted things done. There were a great many rules surrounding the right way for nearly everything, in an attempt to ensure that we got it right, and, when the rules weren’t enough to enforce the rightness of our behavior, there were punishments, harsh words, and sometimes very public humiliation.
I’ve spent most of my adult life learning to deal with the fallout of this type of ingrained thinking, once important for emotional survival and physical safety, but no longer useful.
I work, now, to examine the precepts I live by, and whether they are helping me toward my goal of living a peaceful and conscious life. But there can still be some pretty huge blind spots in my view of things—places where I, myself, still expect those around me to conform to my concept of what is right.
Three years ago, when I began to practice the base principles of radical unschooling, I fell headlong into one of these traps. It caused a great deal of pain, and nearly cost me my oldest and dearest friend.
We altered the way in which we interacted with our children from an authoritarian style to a partnership model. And I decided I would be a missionary for every other family who showed a glimmer of dissension (as all families, even mine, do, sometimes).
I had found a piece that was missing from the puzzle of my own life, and I was awed by the rapid and wonderful changes I saw within my family once I placed it.
I hadn’t yet learned that zeal and epiphanies in our lives can also be pitfalls; that not everyone will benefit from what benefits us. I was certain my way was perfect and even necessary—for everyone.
It can be easy to believe, when we find the answer to our life’s dilemmas, that they will solve everyone else’s problems, too—that we have found the one and only “right way.”
come from a place of positive intent, but we are no less invading another’s life or suggesting that they might not find their way, without us. We do not trust them to find their own answers,
and that awareness can sting with unintended fierceness.
I believe now that these deeply rooted judgmental places may be within all of us who grew up judged, and dependent on the verdict of that judgment for safety or survival.
What once helped us to survive the harsher places in our own childhoods can become a heavy and cumbersome burden, once we are grown.
It can hinder our relationships and our ability to create or maintain close connections,
because, in insisting that we know what is right, we are also saying that the other is wrong.
I’ve never believed the phrase “the ends justify the means.”
It seems so unfeeling of the harm, perhaps irreparable, that can be done to other beings, and to our relationships with those beings. And yet, I inflicted just this type of behavior on my dear friend, as though her life, and her ideas of right, must echo my own, else she would be forever wrong in my eyes.
I realize, now, that I was being invasive; I was thrusting myself and my brand-new “right way” upon another who had not asked for my judgment.
I didn’t stop to think, at the time, that my goals left no room for her to learn and grow at her own pace, in her own way, and for her own reasons.
I didn’t consider that my insistence upon my own version of the right way might bring her more hurt than healing;
nor that my right way, which works such magic in our lives, might be absolutely wrong for her and her family—and that even if it was right, only they could judge that.
Now, I’ve learned (I hope, for the last time), that I can’t make others believe or live as I do; that I might cause irreparable harm to relationships when I react to their choices as though I had the “one true path.”
My friend and I needed to step away from each other’s lives in order to heal the damage I had done with my insistence and certainty about the right way and the wrong way. This freed her to find her own way, like mine in some aspects, and very unlike in others, but not ever mine to judge.
I have come to understand that she would not have had this certainty without making the journey she was called to make, with the obstacles and vistas she encountered along the way.
She always had the strength to make it; she was making it, in her own fashion, even while I was so forcefully urging her toward my right path. The true problem was not with her, but with my inability to see that.
Each of us makes decisions based on personality, beliefs, values, circumstances, ability, and many other factors that are diverse and variable.
None of us can see clearly enough into the life of another to see all the hows and whys of their living.
Any time I find myself thinking that I can, it has become a warning beacon alerting me to ingrained and unwanted attitudes.
Maybe the true value of these moments is in giving us yet another chance to ferret out those ingrained, black-and-white patterns so that we can see each other as-is, and to give others the space to determine for themselves their course in those nebulous areas that are neither right or wrong.
Each time I remember to do this, I find that my own life opens up with possibilities I might have considered wrong, and so dismissed without even noticing them. My mind opens also to the reality that there are as many right ways as there are people and circumstances.
Letting go of judgments
about right and wrong helps my relationship with my friend and others with whom I do not always agree; and it helps me to keep my awareness framed in possibilities rather than limitations.
So, these days, whether I agree with your way or not, I acknowledge that it is your way, and not mine.
I will tend to making the choices and choosing the path that leads my way; you may have yours, and, perhaps, we will meet at some point along the journey, greet each other, and share the way for a while.
When our paths diverge again, I will bid you well for the portions of the journey we cannot share.