Non-Fiction

The Road Less Traveled

By: Raymond Greiner

roadTravel and roads are synonymous lending credence to the popular philosophical phrase “Life is a journey not a destination.” Contemplating travel and roads metaphorically stirs a range of thoughts.

The Universe exhibits infinite molecular diversity in a state of perpetual motion. Comets travel at incredible speeds in long, sweeping, cosmic journeys, vivid bodies of light and energy. Much of the peripheral universal matrix appears static by comparison. Yet, nonetheless is in a state of metamorphosis at an incomprehensibly slower pace.

Living day to day within current social structure universal expansion seems of little relevance. Cosmic dimensions are discussed in light years and numerically identified in billions challenging assimilation. The consensus among many is humans arrived on Earth through a form of divine osmosis; however, science teaches we are products of Universal energy resulting from evolutionary cycles over great spans of time.

During high school we had career day when a variety of occupational representatives gathered giving presentations detailing their chosen career endeavors. This was an attempt by adult mentors to assist us, assuming our expectations and destinies would fit someplace within this array of choices. As a kid I remember this day and how it was more confusing than beneficial. The state trooper with his Smoky Bear hat and revolver impressed me, seemed such a cool job. Then came his revelation that only a small percentage of trooper candidates succeed in becoming state troopers dampening my zeal as a potential trooper. At 16 one has limited prospective intuition, held in check by undeveloped knowledge of life’s actualities. Projecting thoughts forward using an adolescent mind is daunting as priorities spawn from a pool of tangled, youthful logic. Understanding the extremity of our journey is a slow, methodical process resulting from effects brought forth through choices. Trial, error, work ethic, consequence, luck are contributing factors in major and minor capacities. We have control of some events and others we have none. This was not explained on “career day”.

So, how does one choose their road to destiny? Do we seek higher education as a tool to open opportunities? Uniformly in life’s progression proper tools are important and helpful, assisting in achieving momentum, finding success, recognition and fulfillment. The smooth, straight road is a temptation, and laden with traffic, speeding toward anticipated fruition. Pitfalls are disguised on busy roads of ease and comfort, and while traveling these roads exits can be elusive. Employment opportunities laced with carefully designed cradle to grave formats, filled with promises, are to be approached with speculative caution. Such opportunities are referenced as “golden handcuff” careers. The contradiction is that humans perform best when challenged, infusing creative thought, yielding meritorious results and often accompanied by risk. Potential stagnates when melded with indifference. Modern social drift displays high numbers following roads of least resistance.

History reveals a host of great achievers. As we study this select group uniform patterns are detected. Seldom does an exemplary achiever evolve from stereotypical mediocrity. Quixotic goal seekers are fearless adventurers falling out of cushy social cadence. Envision Edison spending hours on end in his laboratory exploring various applications, striving in his quest to invent a practical light bulb. This degree of effort models genius mentality. Edison was a tireless worker driven by an inquiring mind.

Contemporary innovators have emerged during modern times. Technological discoveries are omnipresent attaining new dimensions, extending beyond Edison’s struggles to produce light. Modern, imaginative thinkers emulate Edison, blessed with larger banks of knowledge. The mass may always huddle near the easy road, but those driven to expand and process new concepts, embracing change, shun the smooth flat road. It’s a safe bet Edison, Jobs or Gates would not fit in well with “career day”. Insightful minds form maverick dispositions, thinking and functioning outside pre-designed configurations of life’s pursuits.

Sages and spiritual guides frequently aspire to asceticism, committing to austerity as a means of highlighting inward spirituality, developing above material wealth’s superficial influence. Mildred Norman (Peace Pilgrim) spent nearly 30 years on the roads of North America, walking. Her mission was to teach the importance of global peace. Her roads were smooth, but her travel was not. Mildred accepted no money, only food and lodging, wore a simple tunic with a few personal items in her pockets, frequently sleeping in culverts and abandoned buildings, fasting until given food, exposed to risk and had fearful encounters. She inspired many; distributing printed messages, speaking at schools and churches explaining her mission for peace. Mildred was an exceptional person, with deep wisdom, teaching how recompense is far greater when life is approached simplistically. “It’s those that have enough, but not too much that are the happiest.” Peace Pilgrim

Modern social design has evolved from ancient hunter-gatherer tribes, eventually expanding agriculture and domesticating animals for food. Civilization’s design of this present era was rooted in early Mesopotamia. Governments formed geographic boundaries, controlling food and other commodities. War grew from this civil base as standing armies were viewed as a necessity for protection and expansion. Conquest and domination using military threat and power gained solid footing during civilizations infancy, remaining intact today, on a much larger scale. As we progress marching forward on our timeline, social complexities increase. Solutions to our disconcert will not be found without communal navigators venturing forth on twisty, bumpy roads.

Roads run in every direction, like spider veins, penetrating far and wide, offering limitless sources of promise. The roads less traveled are not reserved for genius minds only; those of us below genius status can gain equal benefits from scenery on less traveled roads. The challenges are of greater magnitude, as are the rewards.

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