In many Eastern religions, mindfulness and being “journey” oriented is highly valued. Since it is not by goal on this blog to analyze Eastern schools of thought, I want to focus on what Jesus said in regards to this idea.
Quite simply, Jesus teaches to be focus on the present moment. According to the following teaching, Christ, too, values and preaches the importance of NOT being outcome focused. Instead, he enigmatically teaches us to walk slowly and take it one-step-at-a-time.
Read Matthew 7:13: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
In order to better understand this scripture, I sketched out a picture of a small gate with a narrow path, and a large gate with a wide path. Then I re-read the verses.
What do you notice about the narrow road and the wide road? Why is entering through a small gate is of more value to your life than entering through a large gate? Notice that if you were standing on the wide path looking at the big gate, you would be able to see the gate from a long way off. You would be able to run towards the gate without being mindful of the “roses” along the way. Also, since the road is as big as an interstate highway, many others would also be on the it. I image five lanes of cars speeding down the road (for a modern day analogy). On the wide road, a person can run, go with the crowds, be distracted by the millions of others, knock into others, run, or even get trampled on by careless travelers…. Notice, the scripture does not say that the gates lead to different places. It is the roads that “lead” either to “life” or “destruction.” There are different ways to to enter to the kingdom, so to speak. However, there is a way that is peaceful and rewarding, and there is a way that is destructive.
Look at the picture again. If you or I were on the narrow road, we might not even see the small gate. We would have to have faith that the gate were there and just keep walking. Further, we would have to walk slowly and mindfully: running on a narrow path can be dangerous. Running leads to slips and trips–and potentially falling off the path.
Anyone who has done hiking of any kind knows the importance of staying on the path. So, if the path is narrow, there is no room for a rushed and distracted mind. If a person’s mind is distracted while walking on the narrow road, she might veer off the road and fall into a ditch.
In short, to (successfully) take the narrow road, one must walk with intention, faith, and awareness. The fact that the gate ahead is most likely not visible requires spiritual connection to a Higher source of security. And, according to Jesus, this connection, this awareness, this one-step-at-a-time, this trust is the way to Life.
To really be alive is to slow down, enjoy the journey, and trust that the gate will appear in due time.
Prayer: Lord, help me to to slow done enough to enjoy the journey and truly have Life.