Two concepts which you will come across regularly in self-help/coaching circles is following your true path and being in the present moment. I hold both dear in my coaching and personal practices but there is an inherent tension.
The concept of a true path evokes an image like the yellow brick road. A continuous solid path that flows from your past into your future. The true path remains static, and you move around it, depending on whether you’re “on your path” or not.
This concept is useful when coaching people to move towards a richer and more fulfilling life. It lends a sense of certainty and solidness that can be reassuring when you are feeling lost in the wilderness of looking for more meaning in your life. The duality of being on or off your path is nice and simple. And it conjures up a sense of forward momentum, moving from the painful unaligned moment toward better times.
The present moment is exactly what it sounds like - now, now, now. Here for an instant, and then gone just as quickly. It doesn’t have a past or a future. Truly embracing living in the present moment means letting go of any particular future we might have imagined for ourselves.
The lack of a clear and continuous route forward can be unsettling. Instead of a solid path, you may end up with something that looks more like one of those children’s drawing aids, where the page is covered with seemingly random dots, and the picture doesn’t reveal itself until the dots are joined.
So what to do with this paradox?
Neither is wrong - the present moment is the only place you can sense if you’re 'on your path', and the present moment feels sweetest when you are on your path.
In his famous Stanford commencement speech, Steve Jobs said “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever...”
With patience, the present moment dots will reveal your true path.
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