By Kathy Custren
As 2014 ends, beyond the list of beloved performers who have left this realm of our physical senses, it may be a good time to take a look at our own path. The word, “pathology,” is defined as the science of the causes and effects of disease—especially laboratory samples used for diagnostic or forensic purposes. I suggest we expand the definition to include: the study of our path, or way of being.
More often than not, studying our path is not done, which leads us to go astray. The role of the scout or explorer is a noble and very useful one, setting the stage for the progress we make on our journey. As more of us awaken to the idea of taking charge and being aware of the path we walk, studying becomes a critical part of the process of life itself.
Today, big industry and government both make use of what are called ‘think tanks.’ These are ad-hoc groups of the best minds humanity has to offer, given the task of thoughtful options and suggestions for progress based on the evidence or data provided to them. Many of us may have the image of think tank members who gather in meeting rooms to discuss issues or problems of the day—who may be far removed from actually seeing the subjects about which they think.
It is part of our natural world to have a path. In the overgrowth of the jungle, animals make their way. In our own brain, the smallest bits of electricity that form the way our brain functions have a way of path finding, and making use of the quickest way to get from one point to the next. --Not just “any” way, but the best or most optimal way to proceed.
While ‘pathology’ itself studies disease, the focus is on what has gone wrong, or what is already beyond a normal, healthy stasis. It is certainly helpful to find ways to recover health when disease occurs. However, we recognize the importance of maintaining our good health and the rightness of what we need on our path.
Positive feedback or reinforcement can be just as critical to our on-going success as recognizing what is no longer functioning properly. Appreciating the beauty we find along our path, our focus may shift from what we want to what we need. Do we really “want” to destroy our natural habitat and drinking water to elicit underground oil and gas, or do we “need” to maintain the natural beauty and resources of our earthly home? These are very real concerns that affect the path or trajectory of humanity itself.
Our manipulation of the environment is at a point where being able to study our path is obscured, possibly. If all we can see around us is the destruction as a result of our efforts—or the disease we cause—how will we find our way to achieve wellness and balance once again? Will we fight to regain our healthy balance and learn how to work along with nature and let healing happen, or will we give up entirely and let the combination of fear and destruction overtake our path?
Do think tank members, meeting in rooms, realize just how we’ve gone big and bad? Large corporations with genetically modified crops; factory farms with widespread murder of fellow creatures; the greed of consuming the planet’s natural resources; rampant refuse and destruction; and displacement of wildlife—all to what end, exactly? Our own, quite possibly.
Are we that ignorant, truly, of the part we play in where we place our footsteps along the path of our existence? Might we open our eyes, just a little, to the reality that surrounds us in our present environment and choose a more mindful and peaceful way to be? May we recognize that there is a difference to be found in the natural, lush, and healthy growth of our planet (and ourselves), when compared to the more cancerous effects and dis-ease-ridden growth we have around us today?
If the steps we take on our path are supported by fear and cause death and destruction, how is it we are encouraged to see peace in every step, or to desire wellness and beauty? How dis-eased does our very environment need to get before we stop and choose to go down a different path? When do we say, “Enough?”
“Pathology” looks to cause, and we all have a stake in this; every human can make the mindful choice to change the path on which each of us finds ourselves. Years ago, there was a television commercial on the subject of environmental pollution featuring actor, Iron Eyes Cody. Visual propaganda of advertising aside, it got the shameful message across: We are messing up our own home.
Our obscured path lies ahead, and it is up to us to choose wisely how we are to proceed. Just as the scout may not be able to see the fullness of the path in the fog, our vision of the future may not be crystal clear. Maybe it does not have to be quite so apparent, when the evidence of what we do have is so imbalanced?
Listening to our heart, we may further recognize that while our eyes may see the destructive evidence well enough, it can be hard to discern just how deep the underlying cause actually is; or how easy it may be to find correction. The scout would report to the indigenous group what lies ahead, and the tribe would manage the landscape together, leaving it in better shape than when they discovered it. Can we say the same?
May the steps we take in the new year ahead put us all on better footing than we are now. We need to find the best path for what lies ahead. Our loving awareness must surely play an important role in regaining the health of our planet and our humanity.
About the Author
Kathy Custren is a mother of four, who strives for balance and has a deep respect for All. Interests include advocacy, the arts, communication, education, health, humanity's cosmic origins, nature, philosophy, spirituality, and wellness. Visit her page "Consciousness Live" on Facebook, and her site at kathyc-mindblogger.blogspot.com.