Crossroads

Posted by Deepa Gulrukh Patel on December 31, 2014

I’m once again at that place in the journey of life where I think I need to make a choice about which direction to take. My mind is buzzing with the usual questions: What if I follow my heart? Will I earn money if do that? Why is this so hard? Can someone help me please? My shoulders slump and my head turns to the ground.

The film in my mind seems to be showing that classic blockbuster of all the times I have been here before, the good times and the bad, where sometimes it was me that made the choice and others where it was made for me. As my eyes look at the ground beneath my feet, I can feel the pressure of getting it right. Luckily a question comes to my rescue: What does it mean to get it right? A chink of light opens through the greyness, but’s its not what I imagine. I find myself becoming aware of the sadness that is present in the moment, and just before I slip into the inevitable downward spiral of regret, I catch a fresh whiff of the sadness. It has a dignity to it that I have never allowed myself to experience. It feels as though the sadness is standing up for all those choices that were not taken—the “what might have beens”—because they had fought hard for a place at the crossroads even if they weren’t chosen.

A sense of respect starts to emerge for all the steps and mis-steps I have taken or not taken so far, and slowly I raise my head.

Out of the corner of my eye I catch sight of a leaf glistening in the morning frost. I slowly move my head and take in the beauty around me.

I become aware of the taste of honey on my toast, the touch of a hand. I might still be at the crossroads but now there is an engagement with sensing all that appears in this place. A walk with a friend is no longer just another chance to go over the options but a reminder of the companionship that makes it possible to stand here.

As the presence of life soaks into my body, I find myself relaxing; there is no hurry. The anxiety to get it right is replaced by an awakening to the joy of possibility, which in turn allows me to relax more.

After days of searching, an insight appears: maybe it doesn’t matter what road I choose, but how I am going to walk.

And then another: maybe all the roads lead to the same place. With that comes a new question: Do I know where it is I am heading for?

The crossroads it seems has turned into an oasis. It is an oppauthortunity to reflect on what has been and what will be, to see how rich and extraordinary this moment is. I am no longer mechanically seeking to get to the right answer, but I have arrived at the very essence of what I am looking for—an authentic and fulfilling life.

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Deepa Patel is passionate about music, young people, fighting injustice and poverty and nurturing equality and creativity in our world. These areas have been the focus of her work.  Her past roles have included work as a music education producer for the BBC, a campaigner on HIV/AIDS for ActionAid, and as a Managing Director of Creative Partnerships (a national UK Government Initiative on creativity in schools). She currently facilitates programs on the art of collaboration and conversation and is Co-Director of Slow Down London, a campaign on how to appreciate and enjoy life at a different pace. Deepa is a former member of the Seven Pillars Board of Trustees and lives in England.

Read more about Deepa Patel

Comments (4)
  • “The Baal Shem Tov taught that there is another benefit to joyful prayer, to singing and dancing in worship, for the joy of devotion sweetens (ameliorates) heavenly decrees:  the face above reflects the face below.  But not all sadness is forbidden.  The Baal Shem Tov knew the ecstasy of weeping and mourning too”  (Jewish Tales of Mystic Joy)  Perhaps it is not the heart that one has to “hear’, but rather as Pir Vilayat might have said, “tune to the Longing”.The call of the heart is the Call to the Unattainable, but the inner sound of the Longing will lead us to our Vocation.  As Pir-o-Murshid put it, A person without a vocation is as a Lamp Unlit.

    — Hadi on January 1, 2015

  • There are two directions to go from the median of the trianglated pyramid.
    You can go up, and keep going up.
    Back to the mean mark then up again.
    Most days you start at the middle and then go up.
    And as you go up, more and more you bath in the luminous intelligence
    intentions of angels, in glory in spirit.
    And the more you bath in this spirit of lumenosity you absorb more lumens
    And so one day you become this luminous being.

    The other direction lets you submerge yourself in the common coin,
    And every day you go down to be working at one with all
    And seek your common humanity with those of the same thoughts as you
    And the more you go down to be with this kin, the more you eat from this common soup
    And you become what you eat just like everyone else
    and at peace, and at suffering, at one with the all of everyone.

    You can never get to the top, nor fall beneath you heart of heart,
    You have come here to be who you really are
    Thats the only direction you can really start.

    — Michael Gest on January 2, 2015

  • Deepa,
      Reading the Timeless Moment -
    if i had a title for my response this would be it -
    or
      the metaphor   re crossroads -  I’ve seen this so often lately -=  though more often in the word
    “intersection”  for instance E.O. Wilson’s dynamic challenge in his recent book..
    and,  the timeless moment itself is an intersection, also threshold - hmm   rather similar words
      And ;another similar word
    -  a message,  is also a threshold and an intersection and crossroad as it is the intersection of listening and speaking, etc etc.  Hearing and responding.  moral and ethic (ethic being how we act together)  and empathetic/creative response to love.
      So,  there is an esoteric order to this message which points out a few interesting things.  One of which is that the Message comes from the Sublime..  a sort of dark matter, not yet a thing, no shape no weight no light, yet matter none the less, quite specific in it’s qualitative, not so much it’s quantitative. 
      Modern problem amoung us spiritual types.  We feel that just being in bliss is somethow enough!  Or that if we ‘achieve” this bliss (when of course, as you describe it is totally a gift)- not earned or deserved… a gift)  then this bliss will tell us what to do -
      That is rather like the scientist observing with a pure an open mind the behavior of monkeys or some such… and thinking that just observing is enough.  Even when the pattern itself seems to come into mind…  but what is required is one’s response,  one’s putting one’s hands into the clay, as a potter does.  We work with this clay, this clay valorizes us,  as we give value to it
      So, in a sense we bring the dark matter into light,  we give it existence by our observation,  and we ‘make’ something with it,  we give the universe being… we make God a reality, by plunging our hands into it.
      There is a whole esotericism of this, it is called Contemplation- a form of ‘Ilm/knowing-  But it is not as popularly imagined, i.e.  a restive retreat in bliss—-  not at all—it is a reding of that message which translates the ineffable,  the Always and Everywhere into the Here and Now as what one can only call a soul level imperative i.e. a moral imperative which demands that an ethical imperative become real…  ethical in the sense that sculpture was Henry Moore’s ethic, that beaut8iful life giving food is an ethic,—-
    so I disappointed to find that 7P has not many (maybe 1?)  who translate physically-  as monks do in all religions ..  As Hildegarde’s sisters do, and zen practitioners.
    Dialog is the bridge -  at the intersection,  I wish there was some at 7P —but even this blog is a one way communication ...  Dialog is an art above and beyond conversation, which it seems to me that you put your toe into, as you were so personal in your letter…
      ahhh   but

    — Asha Kent on January 2, 2015

  • Beautiful writing that evokes in me the pause to notice my own crossroads, or the threshold that a new year brings.  Thank you.

    — Katharine on January 2, 2015

31 December 2014

Tagged Under
wisdom, light, senses, Journey of Life, Sensing Presence, mystery,
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