A virtuous and wise companion
Let him go with him joyfully
And overcome the dangers of the way.
But if you cannot find
Friend or master to go with you,
Travel on alone -
Like a king who has given away his kingdom,
Like an elephant in the forest.
Dhammapada (23) - The Elephant
This is my personally favorite part of the Dhammapada.
It seems to give permission to follow, not a path less traveled, but one untraveled.
If my wise guides are dead or distant;
or if the baggage i carry deafens me to their specific advice,
or if the advice they gave to me was really supposed to go to someone else.
or if i am bull headed or overly scrupulous or too intellectual (or not intellectual enough).
i can travel alone.
But even if i do not find other people to be fools,
i still may be unable to walk with them.
The path that takes them where they want to go may take me elsewhere.
Luther told the Pope that the Pope's God was Luther's Devil.
That does not mean that either man knew either god or the devil,
or that either man did not know god or the devil.
It only means that they were not suited to walk the same path,
or not ready to walk the same path.
If you see a path where i see an abyss, i cannot follow you
i am ready to go into an abyss.
That might happen
Not in this moment.
I cannot reach the untrodden country on the back of your mule,
but only on my own.
I will only be a servant to those who think they are my inferiors;
I will only be master of my own mind and actions.
But i am not the captain of my soul.
That task is left to powers of which i remain ignorant.
May each of us find our paths to the untrodden place.