The Romans were great road builders. They saw Rome as the center of the universe, and wanted to make sure that the little towns didn’t gang up against Rome, so made the roads so that they’d only go to Rome. You couldn't go from one little town to another.
Jim Jordan wrote about religions that there were many comic books and they all said the same thing.
Thoreau wrote, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
I think I mistakenly misunderstood each of these maxims. I heard them say that any-which-way is fine.
If you’ve been in a forest you know that there are paths and there is getting lost. There are “not paths” so to speak.
Thoreau talks about “hearing a different drummer.” He’s not saying that you don’t need a beat… a path. You need to step to the music you hear. But you need to hear music.
Jim Jordan said that there are comic books. Which implies that there are also “not comic books.” Buddha’s enlightenment provided for Buddha (and others) a new comic book.
Rabbi Baker said the other day that we pick our road depending on where we are born and who we are. Roads are paths, and they have the three jewels of Buddhism: sangha (others), dharma (teachings), and Buddha (a sense of the infinite). Without the three jewels, one doesn’t have a compass.
Emerson wrote, “…and the great man is he, who in the midst of a crowd, keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude,” he wasn’t advocating for walking alone (which he did not do), but rather about not being swayed every-which-way by the crowd. He heard a beat. It reinforced the path that he was on.
It is not our challenge to walk alone. It is not to head off the path and get lost. It is to find our road, lined with the three jewels.
And that road will lead to Rome, which is our center—our Buddha nature, our Atman, who we were meant to be, etc.
I believe Baby Boomers were mistaken that any-which-way was a path. We were wrong and lost.