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The Way Teaches Us The Way June 25, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Magick & Mystery, Spirit & Ego.

Recently, I read a post that set out to define “genuine spirituality” out of a stated concern that people might be duped by watered down and inappropriate definitions.  

Not seeing how genuine spirituality could ever be “watered down,” or how someone in touch with their inner wisdom could be “duped,” I replied, in part:

We see the world behind our eyes ~ we look at the world through the clouded lens of our own experiences.

What is right for one will not be right for all.

To progress on our spiritual journey, we need not play “traffic cop” for others.  It is not our job to ensure that “they” are on the right path . . . that is their job. 

Our job is to follow our path.

When we need something, Spirit places it in our path.

It is up to us to notice the winks, whispers, and nudges intended for our eyes, ears, and hearts.

When we are in tune with Spirit, we focus on our own path, and stop looking over our shoulders to see what others are doing. 

We trust that Spirit will light the path for others as it has illuminated our own.

In response to my comment, the moderator defended paternalistic concerns by saying, in part:

I don’t think anyone here is trying to play “traffic cop” for others.  

They may simply not want others to be led astray due to their heart-felt concern.

Hmm . . . what if being “led astray” is part of their path?

The best way to cripple a butterfly is to interfere with its efforts to emerge from the cocoon.

Our struggle to emerge is part of the path.

No rules.  Just write! 

What about you?  Have you ever interceded on someone’s behalf only to later realize your efforts stunted their growth rather than enhancing it?

Related posts:  The Butterfly Story (Mirth & Motivation) * Mind My Own Business (Souldipper)


1. Carl D'Agostino - June 25, 2011

Father never understood that there were many paths up the mountain. Each was unique. Each absorbs the footprints of one traveler. Only one. It was not a matter “my way or the highway”. He could not conceive of any other way than the alleged normal way. Is that called traditionalism?Never any risk or daring in that path. A calculated watch your back, by the numbers, all the way, every step. I suppose he is a product of his time.

nrhatch - June 25, 2011

I think that is called “traditionalism.”

My parents tended to view the traditional route as the “safer” route too. They struggled with my decision to stop practicing law just because I didn’t enjoy it.

But listening to my heart has always been the “right” path for me.

2. thejoyfuljen - June 25, 2011

There’s a few people I would love to read this, but they won’t because they know the ‘right’ way. How can anyone know, especially not for anyone else? I don’t know if I’m doing it the ‘right’ way, I just know that I’m doing it the perfect way for me. =D

nrhatch - June 25, 2011

Perfectly put, Jen!

I may not be “the best” at anything else, but I am better at being ME than anyone else on the planet. No one else is even close.

I have cornered the market on being ME.

3. Tilly Bud - June 25, 2011

I loved this:

The best way to cripple a butterfly is to interfere with its efforts to emerge from the cocoon.

nrhatch - June 25, 2011

I expect you would enjoy The Butterfly Story that Eliz posted on Mirth & Motivation ~ it’s a wonderful reminder that our efforts to help others often do more HARM than GOOD.

We build muscles by doing the heavy lifting for ourselves.

Debra - June 25, 2011

I agree with Tilly. 🙂

nrhatch - June 25, 2011

Our struggle to emerge is part of the path.

4. clarbojahn - June 25, 2011

“We see the world behind our eyes ~ we look at the world through the clouded lens of our own experiences.”
So true. We see the world as we are not as the world truly is.
The path I believe in also believes a person is on their own journey at their own pace, traveling to the beat of their own drummer.
We each have a faith journey that can be only be seen by that Being that defies description, being too large and too mysterious to have a name other than God. We are not to judge another or ourselves on this journey for it is too sacred.

nrhatch - June 25, 2011

I agree, Clar. Each of us has a different vantage point on life that is dependent on our unique experiences.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” ~ Anais Nin

When we view the world with kindness, compassion, and acceptance, our limited ego-centric view is expanded and enhanced by High Definition Spirit~Vision . . . allowing us to see the world in 3D! 😀

5. souldipper - June 25, 2011

I agree, Nancy. My growth has been every bit the same as the struggle of a cocooned butterfly emerging. Sometimes it would be good to have a little sabbatical, but life seems to think otherwise.

It’s not the big stuff that gets us. It’s the broken shoelaces…

nrhatch - June 25, 2011

Spirit seems to give me periodic sabbaticals:

* Learn a new-to-me life lesson
* Practice applying it to gain proficiency
* Interlude
* Before complacency sets in, a new challenge appears

And the spiral continues . . . onward and upward. 😀

6. SuziCate - June 25, 2011

We are born to be unique, therefore I don’t think our spiritual experiences will be exactly the same and should they be they would be more “religious experiences” rather than “spiritual experiences”. Does that make sense to you? We can not feel what another feels inside…spirituality happens inside…who are we to question another on such things? In answer to your question…no, I might mention my journey but I never insist others go my way…I only say they should “listen” to themselves and they will find their way.

nrhatch - June 25, 2011

I agree with you, Suzi.

As soon as sojourners start creating dogma and doctrines and tenets and definitions that “everyone” should apply to Spiritual practice, they are no longer on a Spiritual Path.

Instead, they are in the process of creating a new Religion. 😀

7. Lisa (Woman Wielding Words) - June 25, 2011

That person’s response is truly infuriating. There are many paths to spirituality, but as soon as someone claims one path is better than another, they fall into the same traps as any organized religion. I find myself shutting down as soon as anyone begins telling me the way I should be doing things, rather then suggesting possibilities that lead me to choices and my own ideas. Thank you for always opening doors to possibility rather than dictating a path to knowledge.

nrhatch - June 25, 2011

Thanks, Lisa!

I have to say that I found most of the thread more “amusing” than infuriating.

One person talked about “the vending machine approach to spirituality and mindfulness” and said that “such practices cheapen it and degrade its worth to us all. It becomes just a buzz word and much less credible.”

That made me laugh out loud.

Only the Ego would worry about the “credibility” of Spirituality with others . . . Spirit knows that nothing can cheapen or degrade its worth to the world. 😀

Lisa (Woman Wielding Words) - June 25, 2011

🙂 I kind of like the idea of a spirituality vending machine:
Focus on Being in the Now, push button A
Learn to meditate, push button B
Find inner peace, push button C


nrhatch - June 25, 2011

That’s hysterical, Lisa. 😀

Of course, people would still have to remember to “push the button.” Often they are so busy getting worked up about nothing that they forget that “inner peace” waits within.

It happens to me all the time.

I’ll be enjoying the view from the Zenith one minute . . . and find myself tangled up in a heap of ego-concerns the next.

The faster I step back into the role of “detached observer,” the quicker I rebound.

Lisa (Woman Wielding Words) - June 25, 2011

So maybe, if you add a symbolic “push the button” gesture, you could find yourself in one of these traps and then pick the appropriate spiritual remedy to help you break out more easily. 😉

nrhatch - June 26, 2011

I find that mindfulness is the key . . .

I let go of the unsettling thoughts and return my attention to the moment ~ the sights, the smells, the sounds, etc.

Inner peace comes rushing to the surface allowing me to smile and relax into the moment. Then I can calmly evaluate the “unsettling” thoughts by asking if they are:


By then, I’m back on track.

8. ceceliafutch - June 26, 2011

AMEN!!!! I have been on quite a spiritual journey myself, and I have not ended up where many people would have hoped, BUT I have arrived at an authentic place for me. My prayer for my children is that they find their authentic holy path through life. Trusting that the journey will get us where we need to be is the difficult part for most people. My path may be more traditional than others, but it is mine and I don’t presume that your (all others besides myself) path will follow the same route. I do presume however, that other paths are authentic and holy, too.

Wonderful post. Thank you.

nrhatch - June 26, 2011

I agree, Cecilia. Trust is necessary . . . and hard to hang on to at times. We get caught up in one of life’s challenges and wonder if we are headed in the right direction.

I’ve found that reassurance comes in many forms . . . exactly when I need it most.

One of my favorite moments of synchronicity:

9. adeeyoyo - June 26, 2011

I have always felt that my soul recognises what the true path is, for me. I have learnt to listen, which is hard sometimes. Thank you, Nancy, for this post. What I really don’t like is someone ‘putting down’ someone else’s religion. We must not judge…

nrhatch - June 26, 2011

I agree. Our path resonates on a frequency we alone are able to hear . . . if we LISTEN.

I tend to disagree with you about “judging” organized religions. In essence, religions are intended to be road maps ~ pointing the way to “God.” Like any philosophy of life, the validity of a religion’s claims must be evaluated in light of all of our experience in life.

So, if religious dogma doesn’t make sense to me, I feel free to comment on its non-sensical nature and point out discrepancies to others. What I say will resonate with them, or it won’t . . . but I don’t feel the need to remain silent.

10. Naomi Estment - June 26, 2011

Thought-provoking as always, Nancy 🙂 I love your butterfly analogy and the frog pic is brilliant!

nrhatch - June 26, 2011

Thanks, Naomi.

When we rush to help others . . . they don’t get a chance to flex their own muscles and never learn how much inner strength they possess.

Adopting a laissez-faire attitude helps. We can stand on the sidelines, cheering them on . . . but they must march down the field.

11. viewfromtheside - June 26, 2011

maybe ‘watered down’ is when there is concern over appearing spiritual rather than concerns over the inner process

nrhatch - June 26, 2011

BINGO! You hit the nail on the head!

I suspect they want to be perceived by others in a certain way. As a result, they want the label “spirituality” to be held in high esteem by those around them. Of course, that requires that they waste valuable time policing “its borders” due to their ego-oriented concerns.

In contrast, when we are focused solely on the inner process (the connection we have to the spirit within), the idea of applying labels and definitions to the process is no longer a concern because it’s the EXPERIENCE that matters ~ not how that experience is PERCEIVED by others.

12. walterwsmith3rd - June 26, 2011

“The best way to cripple a butterfly is to interfere with its efforts to emerge from the cocoon.”

This quote says it all I really like it. However, there is too a place for the extending of compassionate gestures to uplift others. It is how we go about it that is so important.

nrhatch - June 26, 2011

Sometimes the most compassionate gesture of all is to “do nothing” ~ the more people who toss “fish” our way . . . the less inclined we are to learn to fish for ourselves. 😀

Too many people sit around waiting for someone else to “save them.” They look out there for assistance . . . instead of looking within for guidance.

If a cocoon is drowning in a pool of tears, I will lift it to the shore
But the butterfly must use its muscles to emerge, if it wants to soar.

13. eof737 - June 27, 2011

I’d say… Yes, spirit does lead us when we need the prompting… I believe that is what some call serendipity. It happens in multitudes of ways… Lovely! 🙂

nrhatch - June 27, 2011

I see serendipity & synchronicity as the winks, whispers, and nudges of Spirit ~ designed to keep our focus where it’s needed . . . or to give us a “pat on the back” in reassurance that we are on the right path 😉

14. Adam S - December 3, 2012

This is great Nancy! This is totally the foundation and inspiration for what you read. I do a lot of work with Native American Totems, and at the times I need the reminder most, the medicines always seem to deliver what needs to be heard.

One of the medicines, Buffalo, represents abundance, and sustenance. But It also represents something that I try to live by:

“Honor another’s path, even if it brings you great sorrow.”

nrhatch - December 3, 2012

Ooh . . . I like that. I can so easily see the Buffalo representing abundance, sustenance, and . . . tolerance.

Here’s to allowing the path to unfold before us.

Adam S - December 3, 2012

Cheers! I love your posts. Each one of them is so unique, yet always so interesting to me. Reminds me of the discovery/history/national geographic channel. haha

nrhatch - December 3, 2012

Thanks so much, Adam. I look forward to checking out the posts your commenters choose to share.

Great way to meet and greet other folks in Cyber Space.

15. Miriam E. - December 4, 2012

beautifully written and well said. this is a gem.

nrhatch - December 4, 2012

Thanks, Miriam. Glad that Adam had the idea to showcase our links in the comments. I so loved your poem about finding your voice.

Miriam E. - December 4, 2012

thank you 🙂 yep. ot was a great idea…

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