The notion that we are following a Path of Return is an intriguing one.
For starters, it implies we are not so much heading somewhere in our lives but perhaps heading back from where we came from.
Along the way though is where the fun and excitement lies – as we share this journey on our Planetary Spaceship together – which is essentially a heaven on Earth.
With all eventualities that come our way learnings are to be had – some will be joyful and some not so. We can find out what not to do, what to do even better and entirely new ways to go about our days.
It’s said too that there are 33 Paths of Return. If this is true, it doesn’t mean there is only a choice of one of 33 paths to take. These paths can be combined and you can jump from Path to Path … at a moment’s notice.
This means there a 33 Factorial Paths of Return – that’s 33 x 32 x 31 x 30 and so on which is a number somewhere in the trillions. This is much more than the sum total of all humans that have ever been alive and may ever be incarnated. This means that nobody ever has to walk exactly the same path.
This is the script from the longest guided meditation I have ever created. It’s a hour long and you’ll find it on Insight Timer.
Note too that each of these 33 paths is a ‘meditation’ in itself, so take your time.
Paths 1 to 11
#1 : The Do Nothing Path
This is the path many take. And there is nothing wrong with it.
Spaceship Earth is a place to be savoured, experienced and enjoyed.
There is only one caveat to ensure you walk this path safely and sagely.
In pursuit of doing nothing in particular, aim to ensure your indulgences are not to the detriment of others or the planet.
Of course, daily meditation is one of the best ways ever to Do Nothing.
So right now, pay attention to the cycle of your breath and do absolutely nothing for a few moments.
#2 : The Path of the Busy Fool
You will have met people who cannot sit still.
Give it to a busy person they say.
Some people find the Doing Nothing path difficult to tread.
Some merge this path with the previous path and love being Busy Doing Nothing.
This is how paths can be combined.
A busy fool flits from project to project and never seems to sit down.
Attention, and even friendship, goes from one shiny thing to another.
Occasionally, they land somewhere they didn’t expect and find another path entirely.
An interesting and productive way to become busy is to busy yourself in your own thought stream.
Allow your mind to flit from thought to thought right now – where you may even discover an entirely new path awaits you.
#3 : The Path of Learning
We are introduced to the concept of learning from when we are born.
We learn how to attract our mother’s attention – how to smile, how to mimic others so that we learn amazing skills simply by absorption, like how to speak and walk.
At school, learning is all.
Some go to higher education and some learn to teach and to pass on their learnings.
Now there is a fabulous way to set goals which produces results beyond your wildest dreams and that’s to set goals based on what you would like to learn.
So just muse on what you would like to learn this week … now this month … and now this year, and so on.
You may like to pause and write them down.
#4 : The Path of Caring and Nurture
Some people spend all their lives caring for others – either family members or through a profession in the caring industry or healing arts.
Many are drawn to this calling and it is a life well spent.
To bring the best of your mind, body and spirit to this path, it is prudent to invest some of your time to caring for yourself.
Each day, take some me time out.
Each week, at the very least, treat yourself or allow yourself to be treated.
Take a few moments out now to relax and indulge yourself.
Just muse on what it is that you really care about.
#5 : The Path of Anger
There are many things around us in the world to make us angry.
This meditation was written in the 2020 lockdown and so many people are frustrated and quite rightly angry.
Trust in leadership is at an all time low.
Now it is said that Spaceship Earth has no captain and crew, only passengers.
If you are one of those angry passengers, perhaps it is time to direct that anger and upgrade yourself to a member of the missing crew, or even up into the officer ranks.
Unexpressed anger can lead to all sorts of issues with mental health, most typically despair and depression.
Expressed anger though can be the seed of change.
Any such expression should not be in the form of mere protest, but by stepping into the Path of Action.
Muse on what makes you angry and what you could do to change the world.
#6 : The Path of Fear
Fears are one of the biggest sources of procrastination.
They can lead us to following the path of the Busy Fool and becoming incredibly creative about not being creative. We can end up serving others before ourselves.
We must embrace of fears though as they act as our protectors and teachers.
As such we should thank them when they surface.
Fears tend to come in five flavours, or shades.
The Fear of Ridicule can stop us dead on our path. If we do nothing, we can’t make a fool of ourselves after all.
The Fear of Failure can make us turn around and head backwards down our path. If we don’t try, we can never fail.
We can be Fearful of the Unknown and stick to what we know and the known knowns. If we do this, we can miss out on the known unknowns, the unknown knowns and the unknown unknowns.
The Fear of Success often lurks in the shadows and the margins. If we are successful, we might be found out as an imposter or have to really show up in the world. We could end up in a stressful situation. By keeping our head below the parapet, nobody can take a pot shot at us.
Now what if you truly stood out and stepped into your magnificence? We can be fearful of where our magnificence might lead us.
Just muse for a while on what fears are blocking you on your path right now – and how you might steer a path around them.
#7 : The Path of Resistance
We can be joyfully strolling down what we think is our true path only to find a curved ball is lobbed our way – or even a gaping sink hole appears in front of us and blocks our way.
When this happens, the initial reaction might be to retreat and give up.
An alternative and much more productive strategy is to thank any such resistance and adversity for coming along.
Imagine if you designed a new helmet that any such curved balls simply bounced off or a portable, expanding bridge that could safely span any hole in your way.
You could market and sell these metaphorical solutions and help others on their path.
Just muse for a while on the opportunities that lie in any adversities you are facing in your life right now.
#8 : The Path of Guilt
When our path begins to unfold magically in front of us, the ability to self-sabotage can sometimes surface.
We can be guilty that we are walking in grace when others might be having a harder time.
We can also harbour guilt around not so right actions we may have taken in the past.
Just as for anger, holding on to guilt is like holding a hot coal in your hand and not getting rid of it.
So just imagine you are safely standing on a cliff top. Scrunch up any guilt you may be holding, along with anything that angers you too.
Now throw it out to sea as far as you can and allow it to be consumed by the sea of the collective consciousness.
The sea will love it, care for it and transmute it for you.
#9 : The Path of Action
Some people are on a mission – perhaps to change the world or build an empire or amass a large bank account, along with all the trinkets it brings.
From when they get up in the morning until when they go to sleep, they don’t stop.
They fit so much into their days.
They are here to change the world and some of them are super heroes, and even super human.
If the Path of Action is for you, then the Buddhist concept of the Eightfold Path provides a very useful set of pointers.
When you take action, be mindful …
… of holding the Right View
… of maintaining the Right Resolve and Intention
… of using the Right Speech, both when talking out loud and ‘in loud’.
… and of course taking the Right Action but also taking it at the most perfect time and in the most subtle ways
… and of pursuing the Right Livelihood, that is the right career and endeavour that maximises your impact
… and while you are making waves, be sure to take the Right Amount of Effort, not too much and not too little
… this involves three other aspects …
First applying the Right Concentration
Second using the Right Mindfulness about your why, what and how
Thirdly, all your right actions must be wrapped up the Right Samhadi – this is the reason you are here and why you came to be.
This is Your Path.
#10 : The Path of Acceptance
Accepting our path is a breath of fresh air coming our way.
We stop struggling and go with the deck of cards we have been dealt.
This doesn’t mean the cards we are dealt with can’t be shuffled and even reversed from time to time – or swapped out for a completely new deck.
Accepting our path and fate means we can truly start to get on with and embrace life.
Any sense of struggle evaporates as all adversity becomes opportunity.
The notions of right and wrong are replaced with the idea of all being perfect.
Sit with this notion for a while.
#11 : The Path of Serendipity
The Path of Acceptance soon gets consumed and replaced by the Path of Serendipity.
Here, all we require turns up just when we need it.
Sometimes good fortune arrives before we need it or appreciate how we might utilise it.
All that is important, for whatever does turn up at our door is to maintain an attitude of gratitude at all times.
Just muse for a while on all the serendipities that have shown up in your life so far that have lead you to be listening to these words right now.
Muse also on what you might like to show up in the near future.
Paths 12 to 22
#12 : The Path of Invention
Some people are born inventors.
Thomas Edison was one.
Apocryphally, he tried 10,000 different materials out in the search for a long lasting filament for his lightbulb.
When challenged on this, he said he now knew something more about 9999 of these materials that might come in useful later.
The word invention comes from the Latin ‘invenire’ which means to discover.
When you set out on the path of the inventor, you are driven by the excitement of new discoveries.
What powers invention is the breath, the source of in-spiration – we can literally vent in ideas.
To do this, imagine the in breath starts below your navel and travels up to and out of your crown and the out breath starts above your head and comes past your third eye and out of your mouth.
Just try that for a few in and out breaths.
#13 : The Path of the Artist
Some people are born artists, some are made.
From time immemorial, humans have made marks in the sand and on rocks.
We have an inner drive to capture what impresses upon our mind’s eye.
Sometimes this is not literal but figurative. Sometimes this is purely imaginal.
Anyone who treads the path of an artist is in service not just to themselves but to all humanity. You capture a thought and a moment in space and time.
Take a few moments right now to doodle with pencil and paper what lies in front of your eyes – or what appears in your Third Eye.
#14 : The Path of the Scribe
The calligraphers of old were the record keepers.
They kept records of the wages for workers as well as of the tales of old.
Previously stories were passed on verbally.
This meant stories could change and morph in the telling.
When the first stories were written down, they were sealed in clay and sometimes chiselled in stone so that many were still readable thousands of years later.
The Path of the Scribe comes with much responsibility and also a sense of fun and adventure. What do you want to pass on to your ancestors? Both real and imagined.
Indeed, imagine writing down messages for reincarnated versions of you to read in the future.
What do you want to tell the You of the future?
#15 : The Path of the Orator
Some are blessed with the power of mellifluous speech.
They possess a voice of milk and honey.
This makes the sound of their voice, and what they have to say, pleasing to the ears of others. The content might be educational, inspirational or entertaining.
Some orators are also scribes and many scribes are orators.
Some orators only like to speak words from other scribes.
There is much cross over between the written and spoken word.
Some like to listen while others like to read.
Some orators also sing or incant the words of scribes.
Allow the thoughts in your mind’s eye to sing out right now.
#16 : The Path of the Performer
Oration is of course one form of performance.
So is playing a musical instrument, competing in sport, acting on stage or using the body as an artwork in dance.
Performers truly stick their head above the parapet, especially when performing live.
The soul is bared for all to see.
We can see our lives as an act and play too.
From when we get out of bed each morning, each day is a performance.
Be mindful of your posture, your words and your doings.
Be content in your being.
#17 : The Path of the Architect
Edifices come from the minds of architects.
These days architects don’t just build houses and cathedrals.
The device you are listening or reading these words on has been designed by hardware and software architects.
The skill of an architect lies in being able to hold a whole vision at the same time that they understand the detail around the smallest of component parts.
All constructs that are built to last have one thing in common and that’s strong foundations.
All constructs that are revered have an embedded beauty – conforming to the Golden Ratio – they are pleasing to the beholder.
#18 : The Path of Collaboration
The paths for the artist, the scribe, the orator, the performer and the architect are rarely solo pursuits.
Collaboration is required so that specialist skills can be brought to bear.
To be successful in your artistic endeavour, it is vital to know the sweet spot of your talent and when and where to bring in other specialisations.
Something special comes from this. We end up just loving the things that we do.
When you love what you do, you will never do what looks like work again.
Seek out your collaborators today.
#19 : The Path of Co-creation
Some collaborations result in creating objects which are greater than the sum of their parts.
So 1+1 can equal 3 or more and 1+1+1 can sum to 7 or more, and so on.
The route to finding your co-creators is not one that you should seek to find.
It is prudent to allow this path to find you.
Those that walk this path with you must be on a similar karmic trajectory, otherwise they will soon leave your side.
You must share values, utilise the same modus operandi and seek similar outcomes.
Just muse now on what you would love to create and what skills are missing from your portfolio. Allow them to appear organically by walking the Path of Serendipity for a while.
#20 : The Path of Leadership
You can be walking down your path only to notice you are walking it by yourself and way out in front of others.
Even if you didn’t desire to be so, you find yourself walking the Path of Leadership.
This can be a lonely path but it can also be rewarding if you allow others to walk with you.
Leading by example is paramount.
Do what you say and say what you do.
Also be open to handing the baton to others from time to time.
Be mindful that we can also be lead by the messages from our soul and future selves.
#21 : The Path of Sharing
The Path of Leadership is really the Path of Sharing.
Not only do you share your vision and experience but also your wealth in all senses.
Walking this path requires confidence and the ability to trust.
We must be comfortable that those we share with freely may well not reciprocate.
We must be open for any such reciprocation to come from those who also walk this path with the same, or greater, level of trust.
This level of unrequited trust leads to the convergence of those walking this path at the same time.
#22 : The Path of Legacy
Which ever paths you elect to walk down, you cannot step forward without leaving a trail behind. This trail is your legacy.
When walking this path, it’s a good idea to step on and off the path of the artist, scribe, orator, performer or architect.
When others then follow you, they can learn from your constructs and from your example.
They even emulate the very leaving of the breadcrumb trail.
This path is one you have almost certainly trodden on already.
Reflect on what you have already left behind.
Paths 23 to 33
#23 : The Path of Profundity
As you become experienced walking the first 22 of the Paths of Return, the remaining 11 paths take you to previously unimagined places, heights and even greater depths.
You are about to walk where few, if any, have ventured before.
So stop listening now if you are not ready for the ride of your life and ready to discover what it is you really came here to do.
On the path of profundity, we seek the meaning in the other paths we have been following.
Rather than seeking to find the meaning, the seeking itself is where the deeper insights are found.
Just muse on that for a few moments.
#24 : The Path of Philanthropy
Sometimes we have to look at the etymology of a word to gain greater understanding.
This gives us the root meaning and allows us to expand upon it and allow it to evolve – so ‘phil’ – means loving and ‘anthropos’ means mankind.
So philanthropy means the love of humankind.
So on this path, we do all we can to help and assist our fellow humans.
This though should not be limited or driven by merely giving money away.
Neither should it be limited just to humankind but it must embrace the whole biosphere, and Mother Earth herself, without which we humans would simply not exist.
Philanthropy too starts with loving ourselves first – not narcissistically of course – but loving ourselves so we are in a better place to love others.
This is a special path as it spirals around and around and up and up.
#25 : The Path of Inner-tuition
After a while, when we get experienced at following the signs and our nose, the path winds itself to unusual and unforeseen places.
As I said, this is because few, if any, have been there before.
There is no guidebook or map for this path as it is down to you to create it for others to follow.
The only guide is your intuition – which is better expressed as inner-tuition.
You become your own guide, teacher and mentor, taking instructions only from your soul – as you follow the Soul-full Path.
#26 : The Path of Alchemy
Alchemy is the science and art of transmutation.
This is where something is forged from another substance.
This is not about merely creating gold from lead but more about creating something from what looks like nothing.
In these eco-times, up-cycling something new from the discarded or unwanted is a good example.
A true alchemist taps into the raw energy of the Void in order to create matter and waves in the Density.
Just muse on what that means.
#27 : The Path of Neutrality
This path initially may appear to be the same or similar to the first path – that of Doing Nothing.
It is however subtly different as it is doing nothing while paying close attention to what happens when you ‘actively’ and consciously do nothing.
Everything, and I mean every single thing, becomes a sign – what you see, hear and feel – especially with your super-senses of clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience.
The very subtle signs come by way of our thoughts and dreams – the thoughts to pay special attention to are those that are not necessarily our own.
This is one of the best applications of mindfulness meditation.
Try it now.
#28 : The Path of Karma
For the avoidance of any doubt or misunderstanding, karma is not a record or ledge of all good and not-so-good doings in our lives.
Rather karma is the sum total of our learnings and experiences.
If you like the notion of reincarnation, this covers all your lives to dates.
So, on the path of karma, every thing is a learning and an experience.
Do neither and your karma does not accrue and advance.
Alternatively learn something new every day.
Experience something, someone or somewhere new each day and
karma increases in proportion.
#29 : The Path of Reflection
Imagine you come across a mirror on your path.
What do you see?
Is it yourself?
If so, are you pleased with what you see and how others may see you?
Or do you perhaps see what is around and behind you?
Or do you see what is in the mirror as being the true reality – and your Inner Self?
Reflect on the reflection and the very nature of reflection.
Somewhere in the mirror, you will find true reality.
#30 : The Path of Contemplation
The Path of Reflection leads naturally to the Path of Contemplation.
This is sometimes seen as the domain of the recluse – the monk contemplating their navel in a remote cave half way up a mountain.
Just imagine you are in a crowded environment though and you are contemplating what you see, hear and feel.
Does contemplation require silence or is it possible to contemplate the noise?
What sounds lie behind sound and what can you see between the cracks we think of as reality?
What purpose underlies what you think of as your purpose?
If I went on, what else would I be prompting you to contemplate?
#31 : The Path of Grace
Imagine you are floating along your path and it is strewn with rose petals.
Your feet glide with no resistance, just stirring up fragrance as they stir up the petals.
Walking the path of grace is blissful for us as it is for those who we meet along our path.
It is pure delight.
We breeze through life, stopping where we fancy and going where the whim takes us.
We are not so much wandering though but full of wonder.
Rather than wondering how to walk this path, just start walking it.
#32 : The Path of Altruism
This is the path of Unconditional Love where we give for others with no consideration for ourselves – other than that when we walk this path, we will never be without.
This is a tricky path to tread as ego-full and messianic thoughts can bubble to the surface.
This is not the path of a saviour but the path of example.
Some do not want to be saved or to heed any messages.
Just do and just be and remember that altruism starts at home and with the self.
#33 : The Path of Enlightenment
To walk the path of enlightenment is really the summation of all the other 32 paths.
None of the other 32 paths is the wrong way but really a set of paths that lead you to this path.
This path is easy to follow.
If you turn around and look back down this path, you will see there were periods of your life when you were somewhat in the dark. You may have even caused others to experience some darkness. This is called Endarkenment.
All we have to do to move closer to Enlightenment is to walk away from Endarkenment.
This process never ends.
In fact, when you hear what you might think of as the ending bells in this meditative exploration, what you are hearing are the Starting Bells.
Spread the Word.