Do you usually agree with your friends’ ideas? Do you do what they want regardless of how you feel about it? Do you always tell your boss what he or she wants to hear? Are you afraid to act differently than those around you?
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
What Values Guide Your Spiritual Path?
We all travel different paths in life even when we appear to conform to society’s values. At the deepest level each spiritual path is unique even when, on the surface, we appear to be the same. The real question is: Does the path you have chosen serve you well? Does it meet your deepest needs?
Is the path you follow based on values that serve you well? I’m thankful that when I was growing up, my parents taught me to respect others, be honest, be responsible, and care about others. In addition, we didn’t have much money and had to be creative and work for what we got. I was taught how to set priorities about what was of value. People always came first.
Individual Values Challenged By Society
But living by such values is not always easy in a society that puts materialism first. I often feel my values are at odds with the society’s and yet they serve me well. Black Friday is a perfect example of what I try to avoid—events created to manipulate mass consciousness. It is well named, for it appeals to the darkest part of human nature. It seduces by appealing to our scarcity consciousness and greed. It feeds that part of ego that fears we will not be valued if we don’t own the latest smart phone or 54” HDTV. It encourages the idea that competition, even if it involves harming others or being harmed, is good. It reduces our humanity.
Creating A New Spiritual Path for Us All
Perhaps it is time to create a new path for our society that puts the basic spiritual values of love and integrity first. Ralph Waldo Emerson was an innovative thinker in his time and his words resonate today. The path of greed our society has been following has failed to bring us what we really need. It separates us through competition rather than bringing us together with cooperation.
When we cannot afford to mask our insecurities and deeper needs with glamorous and distracting things, we may become angry and resentful or we may choose to take a positive approach and adapt to a new life. Do we really need such a large house or so many cars? Do we have to vacation in Hawaii? When our lives are simplified, we have more time for each other to develop loving relationships. We learn the value of giving and sharing.
Create a New Path
Who really matters in your life? What are the things that bring lasting joy? The greatest contribution we can each make to change our society for the better is to find the best path for our own lives. Does the path you are following bring you peace, love, and joy? Are you fulfilling your true purpose in this life? If not, what is the path you need to follow in order to bring about the change you desire? Create a new path and leave a trail for others to follow.
©2011 Georganne Spruce