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Hitchhikers On The Red Road
by Carmen Abner
Iíve been wrestling with the issue of "wannabes" for some time now.
Iíve been reading, listening, and trying to put my own thoughts into perspective. Not being one to too often rush to judgment, Iíve tried to see the issue from all angles. But, still it plagues me and I think I finally understand why.
I donít have a problem with people seeking truth, whatever color they may be. Nor does it offend me when someone wishes to try to understand my perspective, see a bit of the world through my eyes.
There are a few who some would label "wannabes" who truly are simply trying to learn to think outside their own particular box. I welcome questions from such people.
What I do not welcome are the "hitchhikers" who stop me along my journey with their signs reading SWEATLODGE OR BUST.
Hitchhikers want to jump off their own path and catch a ride with me to what they perceive as spiritual awareness without any visible effort on their own part. They look for a magic bullet, a quick fix for whatever confusion they carry at any given time. THE Truth or even MY truth is the last thing they are looking for.
They donít want my vision, just my symbols. Were they really seeking the truth they would have found it already on their own road for the truth exists on all paths. It can be found in the words of Jeshua Ben Joseph, Buddha, Krishna or Snoopy the Dog for that matter.
The Quest for Meaning
But truth of any flavor is too hard a path for these people. The quest for the meaning behind the symbols requires each individual to be their own vehicle.
Smudging yourself with sage wonít save your soul all by itself anymore than sprinkled holy water and incense, praying to a cross, surrounding yourself with yin/yang symbols, crystals and sacred stones, or bowing five times a day toward Mecca.
The symbol is not the thing itself. The ritual is not the meaning. What we call our path doesnít count.
Walking the Path
What matters in the end is the manner in which we walk it. And no path, when walked from the heart, is an easy one. If youíre not struggling with the choices a path to truth presents you with every day it might be a good idea to look down and see on whose shoulders youíve hitched a ride.
No matter how many times you enter a church, a synagogue, a temple, a shrine or a sweat lodge; no matter how many feathers and fetishes, crosses and crucibles you carry with you; no matter how many times you call upon one of the thousand names of God, until you can lay down all your trappings and symbols and ego and stand naked to the Soul before the Creator your footsteps will have no impact on any path and your spirit will remain empty except for the rattling to the symbols youíve collected on someone elseís journey.
As for the would-be shamans and marketing-savvy medicine people out there offering these folks a ride for a price, I feel for them nothing but contempt. I have picked up a hitchhiker on occasion. But only for long enough to show them the road map Iíve traveled. Only long enough to explain to them that my road wonít get them where they want to go. Only long enough to tell them to get out and walk on their own.
Carmen Abner was born in rural Eastern Kentucky in an area that was only then, in 1963, beginning to enter the 20th century culturally. She is of Cherokee/Navajo/Scot/Irish extraction and now lives in Southern Indiana.
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