Reflections on The Road Not Taken – Part I

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Since It was introduced to me many years ago, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost has been my favorite poem. I have a book containing a collection of his poems that is worn and weary with the page containing this poem dog-eared and well used from its repeated reading.

I have had the intention to share this poem for a while now and to write about how I came across it and what it has meant to me. However as intentions often do, this particular intention had been collecting dust in one of my idea notebooks.

That is until recently. Over the last several weeks, I have been reminded of this poem repeatedly. In fact, so many times that I can’t ignore it any longer.

Tuesday night, when I posted the video by Kid President, I heard him recite those familiar words “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by”. It reminded me of my intention and I realized that I had heard this poem mentioned several times recently.

The next morning was the final straw when I turned on the radio and immediately heard a report on NPR about the 50th anniversary of Robert Frost’s death. About an hour later as I sat crossed legged on my yoga mat, the teacher set the intention for the class. You guessed it; the intention for the class came from the very same poem that I was being reminded of so frequently.

Ok Universe, I hear you. It’s time to dust off that intention and get the pen warmed up (or keyboard depending on the mood).

As I work on writing the words that my intention was leading me to and prepare a post that I hope to complete in the next day or two, I thought I would leave you with the poem in the meantime.

Enjoy! I would love to hear what the poem means to you.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~ Robert Frost

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51st Verse – The Hidden Virtue

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The Way connects all things to their source.
It springs into existence, unconscious, perfect, free;
takes on a physical body;
lets circumstances complete it.

Therefore all beings honor the Way and value its virtue.
They have not been commanded to worship the Tao and do homage to virtue,
but they always do so spontaneously.

The Tao gives them life.
Virtue nourishes them,
rears and shelters and protects them.
The Tao produces but does not possess;
the Tao gives without expecting;
the Tao fosters growth without ruling.
This is called hidden virtue.

According to the teachings on Lao Tzu, we are all connected to the source/God/Universe. That source is a part of us and we are a part of it.

The source “springs us into existence”, we take our physical form and then we are let to live our lives. We are still connected to the source and we can tap into its power, but it does not seek to possess or control us.

We can live in fear of some outside force that seeks to control and govern over us or we can realize that we are one with that force and we can live our lives in concert with it.

We can also employ this hidden virtue in our own lives. We can create and not control. We can let go of the desire to control others. We can let go of the desire to control the circumstances in our lives.

Since we are connected to the source of our creation, we are also already connected to everything that we need and everything that we think is missing. We can only realize this once we clear the fog of control, fear, and lack that we create in our lives.

We already innately possess the ability to connect with the source and thus we have the ability within us to see clearly the path to the circumstances that will complete us.

I am There

Do you need Me ?
I am there.

You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.
You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.
You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.

I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.
I am at work, though you do not understand My works.
I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.

Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know Me
as I AM, and then but as a feeling and a faith.

Yet I am here. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.
When you need ME, I am there.
Even if you deny Me, I am there.
Even when you feel most alone, I am there.
Even in your fears, I am there.
Even in your pain, I am there.

I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.
I am in you, and you are in Me.
Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me, for
only in your mind are the mists of “yours” and “mine”.
Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.

Empty your heart of empty fears.
When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.
You can of yourself do nothing, but I can do all.
And I AM in all.

Though you may not see the good, good is there, for
I am there. I am there because I have to be, because I AM.

Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of Me does the world take form; only because of ME does the world go forward.
I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the growth of living cells are founded.

I am the love that is the law’s fulfilling. I am assurance.
I am peace. I am oneness. I am the law that you can live by.
I am the love that you can cling to. I am your assurance.
I am your peace. I am ONE with you. I am.

Though you fail to find ME, I do not fail you.
Though your faith in Me is unsure, My faith in you never
wavers, because I know you, because I love you.

Beloved, I AM there.

James Dillet Freeman

Though it Twists and Turns, the Journey Continues…

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Ok, so I was ambitious in my original intention to finish the 81 verses of the Tao Te Ching by 12/12/2012 as I originally wrote about on my “The Journey” page. It was a good intention and it had some solid reasoning behind it, but let’s face it, things happen. Life steps in. Sometimes work was too busy, sometimes I was too tired and sometimes family life was too enticing.

Of course, there were also those periods where my mind played tricks on me. It would say things like “why are you doing this?”, “you are not a writer”, “this is a waste of time”, “you have more important things you should be doing”, “no one cares about what you are writing”. There were many more self-defeating thoughts, but you get the point.

Unfortunately, sometimes I would fall victim to these types of thoughts and I would step away from the keyboard and question if I should ever go back. This would have me feeling defeated.

Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent. – Marilyn vos Savant.

Regardless of how consuming those negative thoughts were, I always felt a pull to come back and continue. Eventually, I would snap myself out of the trance that had me trapped, and the positive thoughts about this journey would trample over the negative ones. Back at it I would go.

Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about. – unknown

I have now finished 50 of the verses and its already been almost a year since I started this journey. I may not have reached my destination the way that I intended, but as we have learned from the Tao so far, we need to set our intentions, but not be attached to how we reach them.

Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome. – Arthur Ashe

I can say without a doubt that the manner in which the journey has unfolded so far is the way that it was meant to unfold and I am exactly at the place in my journey where I need to be. How do I know that? Because this is where I am.

This has been a beautiful, mind-opening, and enlightening journey so far and I am grateful to have those that are following this journey along for the ride. Let’s see what the journey reveals next.