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Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path. If you feel you should not follow it you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront to oneself or to others in dropping it, if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary.
This question is one that only a very old man asks. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same, they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths but I am not anywhere. Ask yourself, does this path have a heart? If it does the path is good, if it doesn’t it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere but one has a heart and the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey and as long as you follow it you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong, the other weakens you.
Before you embark on any path ask the question, does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it and then you must choose another path. The trouble is that nobody asks the question. And when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate and leave the path. A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy. It does not make you work at liking it.
I have told you that to choose a path you must be free from fear and ambition. The desire to learn is not ambition. It is our lot as men to want to know.
The path without a heart will turn against men and destroy them. It does not take much to die and to seek death is to seek nothing.
For me there is only traveling on the paths that have a heart. On any path that may have a heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge for me is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly!
~ Carlos Castaneda ~