“The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.” – Lao Tzu (Alternate translation of the original Chinese found here.)
Pathwalking is not a single journey, and the distance cannot be easily measured. But it begins with movement. Until you move from one place to the next, you cannot begin the journey at all.
The more recognized variation of the quote replaces “beneath one’s feet” with “a single step.” But I prefer the deeper meaning of this alternate translation.
There is always the ground beneath your feet. If you stand in place, you are immobile. Nothing can change except for that which changes around you. But once you are in motion, you are automatically affecting change.
Yes, it is that simple. Change is a constant. While you stand in place, air currents ebb and flow around you, moving particles of dust that may begin insignificantly, but which could evolve into massive windstorms on the other side of the world. But once you begin to move, you are now a part of change. That which is beneath your feet is not the same.
Sure, one stretch of road may look very much like the next, or the last, or any other. But they are not the same. There are different cracks in every road. Different hues of color, different particles of dust and microscopic organisms. That which is beneath one’s feet is only constant when they are planted, and do not move.
If you are Pathwalking, you are not planted. That which is beneath your feet is changing. And the journey, fast or slow, is happening.
The difference between simply moving from place to place and Pathwalking is in deliberation. Are you going from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ due to want, due to need, due to obligation, or some combination of any of these? Are you going about the motions and changing what is “beneath one’s feet” out of choice?
This is so infinitely small, and yet immensely huge, all at once. There is a depth to this concept that is somewhat inconceivable. Every single step we take, every time we change what is beneath our feet, change expands outwards exponentially.
And this is why Pathwalking is an important idea. Because if every single step causes change, doesn’t that make it of tremendous importance that you are CHOOSING the change you are making?
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot remain still forever. Inevitably, change will occur, whether you are choosing it, or not. Eventually you will have to move, even if it is just to shift your feet because your back is getting stiff and sore. And when you make even that small movement, what is beneath your feet WILL have changed.
The insignificant can be significant. Standing in one place forever is impossible, so long as you are alive. That which is beneath your feet will change, whether grandly or minutely.
“Always in motion is the future,” said Yoda. Another reference to the movement of one’s feet, but indicative of choice. If the future is a result of movement, then it is not static in any way, because we are always choosing where we will be walking. Pathwalking happens, whether by choice, by coincidence, or simply by letting life live you.
You can choose to move. You can choose how, where, and when to set yourself in motion. Yes, circumstances sometimes will not leave you much of a choice, and sometimes even the choices we DO have are unwanted. But we have choices.
Pathwalking, as the concept I present here every week, is about CHOICE. Before you start that journey, have you chosen it? Is this the path YOU want to walk? Whether you are walking the path of your own choosing, or letting yourself be controlled, manipulated, guided, or simply going with the flow…you are in motion to the future.
Are you aware of where you are? Do you know what is currently beneath your feet? From here, do you know where you WANT to be? How will you get there? This is Pathwalking. This is making a choice, setting a goal, and starting out on the journey. A few feet, a few yards, or even a thousand miles, it all begins with you.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.” Where do you want your feet to take you?
This is the forty-third entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.