Contemplating a Spiritual Journey
Lao Tzu is quoted as saying both, “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step,” and “ A journey of 1,000 miles begins with the ground under one’s feet. They reflect two aspects of the same statement, both worth holding in mind.
These spiritual quotes urge us to observe, think about, and notice what happens during difficult “journeys” in our life.
We seem to move through life in a spiral but the right action in one phase of our life wouldn’t be right action today.
Think about taking a 1,000 mile walk. How would you begin such a long, tough journey? Could you hide from it – avoid it? Hiding is often a beginning. You pull the covers over your head and say, “I’m not doing it.” But eventually, you realize that you never can stand still. However it looks to you, you are always evolving.
It dawns on us that we cannot stop moving. We always put one foot in front of the other. No matter what it seems like, change happens, evolution happens, despite our resistance.
Welcome Back. We carry on with our inspiring quotes and the second part, which is to apply something related to the quote or something separate from the quote that is a spiritual action that we can apply in our lives.
This is part one.
The quote today is from Lao Tzu. It is “A journey of 1,000 miles begins…“ I know this quote to be “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step.“ originally he said, “ A journey of 1,000 miles begins with the ground under one’s feet.” Either way, they are worth contemplating; they are worth thinking about; worth doing a walking meditation with.
A journey of a 1,000 miles…so something that seems arduous and long, especially if you are walking 1,000 miles, something that seems to take a long time, begins with the ground under your feet – begins with the first step. Either way, the right action rises up for us to do.
The right action. Sometimes we seem to move in spirals. Do you not think that the right action in one phase of our life certainly wouldn’t be the right action now. I just heard somebody say that in 200 years what we do now, what we think we are so progressive in doing now will be considered barbaric. It is very similar to the right action.
What I did, I made a lot of mistakes in my life. I had a lot of opportunities for change and for growth and for forgiveness – self forgiveness. We do, what we think is the right action, what we hope is the right action, and then we get wiser, and find out, maybe 10 years later. We think “How could I have been so foolish. How could I have seen it that way? How could I have been so…whatever.”
So we come around again to a situation, very similar – again it comes around – a situation of, “Do I leave? Do I stay? Do I run? Do I persevere?” And you may be in those situations right now. Perhaps you are facing a lot of schooling; perhaps you are facing a diagnosis, an illness with yourself or a family member or your child. Perhaps you are looking at your relationship and thinking oh my goodness, I can’t imagine that this could continue and stay the same. I don’t want it like this. Or, perhaps you are looking at yourself, which is often what we do in our spiritual work. It is a very self-focused – a moving out of or away from old patterns. It is very self-contemplative. So perhaps you are looking at your self and saying that it is going to take forever (to attain your spiritual goals.)
Well a very wise, wonderful being, Lao Tzu, is suggesting that you just begin where you are. Think about that. Think about that whole statement: A journey of 1,000 miles begins with the ground under your feet. Here you are. Here you are, in this perfect moment, no matter what the circumstances. You may have goofed. You may be extracting that foot out of your mouth. I know that one. You may be saying goodbye to a loved one. You may be realizing your body is leaving. There are so many possibilities that would be considered a long and arduous journey, a 1,000 mile walk is a long walk.
How do you begin it? Do you hide away? That could be a beginning. You put your covers over your head and say I’m not doing it. A year later, guess what you are doing? You are doing the journey. So that however it looks to you, you are always beginning.
A journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step. You put your one foot in front of the other and we always do it. We always put one foot in front of the other, no matter what it seems like, change happens. Evolution happens, is probably more correctly put.
I offer you the contemplation of a journey of 1,000 miles – however you want to see it – begins with the ground beneath my feet or begins with the first step.
I hope you spend time with it and be with it and enjoy it.
Peace to you.