Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Different Road


I read somewhere that to meditate we need a time, a place and a posture.  My time is the noon hour.  My place is the road.  And my posture is that of a runner.  In a tank top or t-shirt, shorts and running shoes, I am the picture of simplicity.  I desire nothing during these sacred times except to be left alone with my thoughts.  I meditate as I run, lost in the depth of me, finding my way on my familiar course by instinct.

My thoughts generally concern my life and the people, places and things that occupy it.  I allow them to flow from one subject to another, with no particular order and no particular pattern.  There is one rule that I enforce in my thinking during this time.  I never allow it to be about my work.  I never solve problems I have encountered in the morning hours on the road at noon.  This one hour is reserved for a higher plane of thoughts and when I catch them straying on the forbidden path of the routine, I quickly bring them back to their unfocused but lofty course.

It is during this hour that I can view my life from beginning to end.  I can drop in on old friends that I have not seen in years; I can visit my high school teachers; I can go back to the day when I first met my wife and I can kiss her for the first time again.  I can have long conversations with my Dad and say things that I never said to him before he died.  I can see myself in retirement, reading to my grandchildren, taking long walks, traveling.

Where my thoughts wander most often are to the forks in the road of my life.  I have always thought of the times when I was confronted with significant choices that have had great impact on my life as forks.  I have discovered that I can mentally approach and analyze them from my perspective as a middle-aged adult.  I ask myself, “Did I make the right choice?”  To discover the answer, I mentally travel down the fork in the road that I did not take and I try to visualize what my life would have been like had I made another choice.  Often, I discover that my life would have been much worse.  But, sometimes, after traveling all the way down the other fork in my mind, I know that I did not take the better road in real life.

What do we do when we discover that we have not made the best choices in life?  We cannot relive life.  We cannot “crawl back into our mother’s womb” and be reborn.  But, sometimes life gives us the chance to redeem ourselves.  Sometimes the road of life circles around and approaches the same or similar fork, and we are confronted with the same choices.  Will we recognize the similarities so we can change the result?  Do we make the same decisions and mistakes again?  Or do we boldly choose a different road?

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