While the signs outlined below are aimed to help you recognize the path, the list provided is not absolute in its description of what the path will look like for you. The path is unique to every individual in its form, yet it seems that many of the qualities of the path have similar characteristics. The following list aims to clarify the most common characteristics found on the path.
- There is no lying, stealing or violence involved
This is a fundamental requirement. Real work is virtuous in nature, and does not set out to harm or hurt other beings in any way. Any work that is directly or indirectly involved in the promoting of lying (including deception and the intentional withholding of truth), stealing, or violence is not the path, and will only serve to bring more suffering and anxiety to oneself and to humanity.
- It serves and inspires other beings and does not take from them or exploit them
To serve wholeheartedly, you must learn to recognize and see yourself in others. Service comes in many forms; it can be expressed as fixing someone’s car, washing someone’s windows, or inventing a new wheelchair design to help those with disabilities. No one act of service is superior to another. Any acts of service with a pure heart are of equal value, and all contribute to the elevation of human consciousness.
- It is long-term—it does not simply aim to serve a short-term high
When you are walking the path, you can see that the path is very, very long. This doesn’t really bother you, though, because the very act of walking the path is joyful and rewarding in itself. Life itself becomes like one grand adventure.
- It is in accordance with nature and natural cycles
Yin and yang are the simplest and best example of a natural cycle. Yang represents action, energy, and strength. Yin represents calm, patience, and creativity. One cannot exist without the other, and one cannot exist alone for too long without the other one nudging itself in. Walking the path will require periods of time where both yin and yang have their influence over our lives and the choices we make. We must learn to discern when to act, and when to wait and not act; when to think, and when to just let it all go; when to push things a little more, and when to step back and rest. The more in-tune we can become with the cosmic forces of yin and yang, the more the great powers of nature will feed us with energy and insight.
- It comes from a place of inspiration, insight, and creativity
True inspiration pulls you forward into something new and profound. Don’t push into the next moment, try allowing yourself to be pulled instead. In this way you are being drawn to your path which makes it a lot more fun, enjoyable and less effort. Pushing forward and trying to control the path tends to take a lot of effort and causes a lot of strain.
- Doing the work actually feeds you with energy
This is fairly self-explanatory. When you’re engaged in the work, it seems to feed you with more energy and more power to continue going with it. You still need to sleep every night, and you may get exhausted every now and then, but it feels like there is this almost obsessive type of energy that comes into your life. It’s not a wiggy, coffee type of energy; it is more like the energy of determination and focus. It may have you waking very early in the morning to begin your work, or you may find yourself staying up some nights to chip away at your vision.
- There is no such thing as a weekend, and you don’t live for your holidays
When you are engaged in walking your path, it could be Friday or Saturday night, and you probably wouldn’t even know unless somebody reminded you or you saw it on the TV. Dates and months often mean little, only relevant to deadlines that may be looming. You tend to just be guided by your own insight and flow of work. You work when there is work to be done, and you can rest when there is nothing to do in that moment. The whole traditional Monday-to-Friday workweek idea doesn’t really interest you; only perhaps in the way it affects the ability to communicate with others (e.g. calling a client or colleague on Sunday morning is never a good idea).
- It produces stress—but it’s not a harmful, self-destructive stress
When putting forth any type of effort into working on a project, especially when working with any form of technology or people, there will always be some kind of stress involved. The whole idea of working from your laptop while lying on the beach without any stress involved is an illusion, and is a marketing ploy used to simply sell something. Stress can be helpful, as it gets us going and pushes us to complete the projects we start. It raises the bar and creates personal bests, showing us higher potentials within ourselves and within others.
- You don’t take your work (or your ego) too seriously
When you uncover the deeper truths of this world, you realize that it is a very short yet magical experience that is not meant to be taken too seriously. Humor is a characteristic that helps to soften the appearance of pain in this world. There also comes the realization that we have little control over what our path looks like, or where it is going; so one can only come to laugh at the appearance of control or ego that we have about our lives.
When an opportunity arises to dance, you take it. Dancing is the ultimate metaphor for this life and the cosmic dance of the universe.
- Joy is a natural by-product
Joy is experienced as an instantaneous rising of pure happiness. It can arise out of nowhere, and it often has no real identifiable cause. Everybody knows what this feels like, as we have all had the pleasure of it at some point. Joy goes further than just being an emotion; it is a state of being. Do not mistake it as excitement, for excitement is a very fleeting emotion that is based more on a fantasy in the mind of a future event, and is not grounded in the present like joy is. Because joy is a state of being and not just an emotion, it is possible to experience joy underneath emotions like frustration or sadness.
- It takes courage, risk, and a sense of entrepreneurship
walking the path requires thinking and living outside of the box that society attempts to build around us. When walking on the path, you will naturally come to live an exceptional and extraordinary life in your own way. Courage is required to believe in yourself enough to be able to make right choices and follow the path. The path is not easy to see, especially at first, so it takes a certain amount of risk and trust to at least begin walking on it.
- There are many signals along the way
If you are walking the path, the universe is walking the path with you. Often, things will just work out perfectly with little effort. It’s like the universe is continuously reorganizing the world you live in so as to send the right people to you at the right time. All we have to do is be set on the path and open enough to receive these gifts.
Be aware though, things don’t always appear to be blessings at first. Often these things appear as giant obstacles to your project, and this can bring up feelings of disappointment and despair. In time, however—with the ability to reflect and adapt, and the courage to continue—it becomes obvious to you that all those things that appear to be obstacles and hindrances at first are actually blessings in disguise.
- You are open to new ideas, and are willing to drop the old ones quickly when they no longer serve you
For new ideas and inspiration to arise from within, you must be willing to drop old views and ideas about yourself, others, and the world quickly and without any attachments. It is natural to have certain ideas about people and the world, as this helps orientate you in the grand scheme of things; but as soon as a better explanation of how things are presents itself, be open to stripping away and letting go of the old ideas.
- If money comes, it usually comes later…
In many cases, the wealthiest people of this world pursued their vision as their highest priority, even while living in impoverished conditions. After a number of dedicated and focused years, their vision started manifesting, and the money soon followed. Walking the path and following the greater vision is the primary focus; the money is just a bonus. If you do something solely for the money, it is unlikely to be the path. If you do something because you see the greater need for it, and it brings your life more joy through the act of sharing it, then it is likely to be the path.
The greater the amount of people you influence with your ideas, service, or product, the greater the amount of money it is possible to make from it.
- The path is about stepping into and living your joy—it’s not about your project or the outcome of your project
success and outcome of their work will provide them with happiness and fulfillment. But no, the very act of walking the path and doing your work is joy in itself, regardless of the outcome. Expectation is the mother of disappointment, and is best avoided. Just be present and focus on the task in front of you now. The results will come when they come. There is no need to engage the mind in fantasy or expectation, as this will only add more clutter to the original vision and inspiration.