The Path of the Good Tiger

Q. I am a latecomer to the world of wellness through positive intentions and spiritual psychology. Until recently, I would not have considered myself a good person. I know I’m not the only one who has chosen this path. I am interested in anything you would share about where to go from here.

A. Recently, someone asked me if all paths lead to the same place. The truth is, I don’t know. We don’t know. But we’re all going to find out. Most of us believe that we have come from the same place – a nonphysical, deeply loving, uncompromisingly compassionate, wholeness. We are that. We came from that. More than likely, we will all return to that blessed, undifferentiated state of being. All that I have studied and experienced over many years bears that out. But when? How long is the timespan of our individual journeys and where will they take us? That is what we are here to discover, and also the reason there are an infinite number of paths to explore.

I am not of the belief that you must be “good” or good enough before you can find your way home, or that you could somehow be excluded. Most “saints” I have known have stumbled more times than we will ever know and taken others down with them. I knew someone who thought highly of himself and his good deeds. He would be surprised to know others did not see him as he saw himself. I know someone else whose substantial injuries were sustained saving others during a recent natural disaster. The people he saved would be shocked to know his background. What is good about someone? Is good who we are or what we do? How much good must we do before the bad is erased?

The good news is that this path is front-loaded. You’ve already done all the hard work, made amends, recalibrated your life. This path does not call for you to repeat any part of the journey you have already completed; you will not backslide. The same cannot be said of other paths that are akin to circuit training with varying levels of intensity.

The next step is for you to transfer every bit of earned experience from your memory-mind into your gut-heart, your new home. Integrate everything before you forget the way it really happened, what it meant, what it cost. Expect well-intentioned good people to be cautious around you. They will love your story and encourage you to write a book. Inwardly, they will wonder if a tiger can change his stripes. Please do not forget that you are still a tiger! Always be what you are.

If possible, I would suggest you be what and where you are for a little while. Have a rest. Sit on a cushion and contemplate anything at all. The path you are on has many forks and bends in the road – detours and places that insist you choose this way or that, the high road or the low road, stand up or stand down. Choices that are not choices at all. The great wide way is going to get narrow and steep up ahead. Get some rest. Remember that the path you chose also chose you.

No two tigers are alike and their markings are as unique as they are. The tiger is the only big cat that is striped throughout his whole body. Even the skin underneath his fur is striped. Even if he wanted to, he could not pretend to be something else. Inhibitors and attractors in his genes ensure that his stripes are visible, even as he uses the jungle as camouflage.

You are still on the same journey; it did not end with your new discoveries and realizations. It is a life path charted by the stars and planets and presided over by the fates. They will guide you to your destiny, bring you home. The steps that follow are not difficult. You will easily make the right decisions. But the things you will want to achieve will seem just beyond reach, next to impossible. “How unfair,” you will think. “What’s the point,” you will wonder. Only the tiger will know what to do, and that is why you must remember your experiences and put them to “good” use when the time comes.

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