Getting Lost to be Found

On the way to the airport this morning I took a “long cut.” For those of you who do not drive in a major metropolis, a “long cut” means you drive a longer distance, but because of gridlock it will take you less time. As I maneuvered my way though the back road, past weapon storage bunkers, strawberry fields and houses, I realized that I knew about this road because I had gotten lost one day. Rather than turn around I had decided to find out where the road went and it dumped me out on the very freeway I had missed miles back. Not only did it move me a substantial way down the gridlocked freeway, but it did so with elegance and ease.

As I remembered this it occurred to me that there might be a life lesson in that realization. Many times in my life I had been lost only to find myself miles down the road. Perhaps a different road, but usually a better road than I had initially intended. Trusting that getting lost will result in a better road is difficult. Sometimes I don’t have a choice, I look around, and rats, I am lost again. Other times I know I am heading in a direction I do not know, I am heading towards the unknown. At that point I have the opportunity to make a conscious decision, continue down the path less traveled or hightail it back to safe ground.

Esoterically one “should” always travel the road less traveled. Right? No, I think that is wrong. I think I need, from moment to moment, to decide what is right for me. The unknown is a very useful, if sometimes terrifying place. I have noticed that forging my way through the unknown; often has made me more. But I also know sometimes the unknown, or the road less traveled, is foolish and fraught with my ego’s siren song, which will surely crash me upon the rocks—this is not the road of self-love.

Getting lost, well, sometimes it is fun and sometimes it is not. When I can make it a mystery to solve or an adventure, then I do well when I am lost. When I have a deadline to get someplace, or a commitment well, than being lost is a pain. I don’t do well being lost under time constraints. I do very well being lost when I don’t care when I get someplace, or even if I end up in a place different from where I originally intended.

So, on my way to the airport it occurs to me that maybe I can choose more consciously when to be lost. Oh, I know, I cannot control all the times I am lost nor would I want to. But maybe I can give myself time to be lost. Maybe I should set a time to be lost in a new city and go adventuring. Maybe I should create time in mediation just to go wondering and see where I end up. Maybe I should engage someone much smarter than me to teach me something and be lost in the learning. Yes, I think being lost for the most part is a good thing.

I might not get where I was originally going, but by playing life safe all the time seems rather like cheating myself of life.