Have you ever had one of those moments when a cliché appeared before your very eyes to offer validation to a simple yet profound truth? This is what I observed a few years ago as our family was out on a river hike. There were three of us on the hike. It was simple and easy – follow the river downstream, notice what we notice and enjoy ourselves. The beauty of the day was highlighted by warm weather with a cool breeze, sparkling blue skies, tumbling river sounds and lots of rocks to investigate. We were lazily looking for some granite rocks for our front porch water fountain. This means that if we found a good-sized rock, it best be right beside the car for easy transportation home. Mostly we were out for the reconnection to water, air, ground, rocks, dirt, snakes, birds, lizards, trees and wildflowers. And we saw all of them, doing their own dance in their part of the river.
Nature reveals itself
Watching a brilliantly colored red-faced, yellow-bodied Western Tanager bird catch a Monarch butterfly in mid-air for a quick lunch was a treat, something none of us had ever experienced before – the concrete reality of life and death before our eyes. Almost stepping on a harmless water snake was a bit more awkward, making me do the girl scream thing. This bothered my son as he wondered why girls liked to come unglued when they were surprised by a natural occurrence. That remark alone was enough to contemplate on our hike, however, what I observed as we were heading back to the car sans rock was more interesting.
Individual paths to discovery
At one point, I looked up and saw my son in the middle of the river slipping, sliding and hopping along, quietly taking in the energetic life of the water. He is a specialist at floating sticks, big or little downstream, bringing him great contentment. My husband was up past the shoreline in the trees looking around for that special rock. As an architect, it takes just the right size, color, shape and energy of the rock to intrigue him. I was walking on my own path at the edge of the river, entertained by this peaceful moment of life. We were all in different spots, each in our own moment, thinking and feeling independently; letting the beauty of the area soak in to suit each of us. We were all on different paths heading to the same spot.
Each journey leads to the same place
Thus, the cliché of how all humans travel along different paths that lead to the same end. In our case at that moment, the end was the car. And, although we did not find our river-sculpted rock right beside the car for transport home, we relished our hiking time. For all of us, the end of our earthly journey is going to be life afterlife. That place we go to after our time here on earth is complete. Each family, culture, religion, or spiritual teaching has names and ideas for what the afterlife will be. The thing is, we all arrive there, we all pass to somewhere, but each and every journey is individual and unique. Just like our hike on the river. If we appreciate, notice and take stalk of the on-going soul and human processes on our journey, whether it is a revealing hike, a life fraught with suffering or a life well-lived, the place we end up in is peaceful eternal love surrounded by Source energy. This is the spot where we originated from and return to – where we are complete.