The Path, the Road, the Way – is a metaphor for the spiritual journey to Enlightenment. All of us at one time or another can be said to be on the Path whether we know it or not. However, we most often discuss the nature of the Path once we come to an awareness of it.
We first learn about the Path when we get the first inklings of a mystical world nature. When we first realize there is something more than the mundane world, we quickly learn that there is a Way that can lead us to perfect union with the Truth of life.
Once we become aware of the Path, we must then seek it out. When we discover a version of the Path that gives us confidence, we can take our first steps on the journey to Enlightenment. Often people will find a nice little way station or oasis on the Path and be content to stay there for some time – maybe the remainder of their lives. But these rest stops, however pleasant, are not meant to be the end of the journey. The Path goes on. Eventually, one can be said to know the nature of the Path – one learns when one is on it or not, and the difference between a rest stop and the ultimate stop. By continuing on the Path and learning to understand its nature, one can begin to assist others in following the Path as well.
At some point, the traveler reaches a clear end point. Perhaps it is the real end, perhaps not – yet the experienced traveler accepts it as the end. Now choices open up. The traveler can go off the Path and find some new adventure beyond the experience of the mundane world. Or the traveler can return to the Path and be a guide and agent to help others find the end. Or, very rarely, one can generate a new Path – become a Path of their own and accept new travelers moving towards Enlightenment.
But the first step is to realize that somewhere there is a Path appropriate to you and to go out to find it. And once found the Path should be followed.