Hardly ever can a youth transferred to the society of his betters unlearn the nasality and other vices of speech bred in him by the associations of his growing years. Hardly ever, indeed, no matter how much money there be in his pocket, can he ever learn to dress like a gentleman-born. The merchants offer their wares as eagerly to him as to the veriest swell, but he simply cannot buy the right things.
All of childhood's unanswered questions must finally be passed back to the town and answered there. Heroes and bogey men, values and dislikes, are first encountered and labeled in that early environment. In later years they change faces, places and maybe races, tactics, intensities and goals, but beneath those penetrable masks they wear forever the stocking-capped faces of childhood.
Life is a journey up a spiral staircase; as we grow older we cover the ground covered we have covered before, only higher up; as we look down the winding stair below us we measure our progress by the number of places where we were but no longer are. The journey is both repetitious and progressive; we go both round and upward.
The spiritual journey does not consist of arriving at a new destination where a person gains what he did not have, or becomes what he is not. It consists in the dissipation of one's own ignorance concerning one's self and life, and gradual growth of that understanding, which begins a spiritual awakening. The finding of God is coming to one's self.
The real thing is not the goal, the real thing is the beauty of the movement. The real thing is not reaching, the real thing is the journey. Remember, the real thing is the journey, the very traveling. It is so beautiful, why bother about the goal? And if you are too bothered about the goal, you will miss the journey, and the journey is life - the goal can only be death.
One day you finally knewwhat you had to do, and began,though the voices around youkept shoutingtheir bad advice--though the whole housebegan to trembleand you felt the old tugat your ankles.Mend my life!each voice cried.But you didn't stop.You knew what you had to do,though the wind priedwith its stiff fingersat the very foundations,though their melancholywas terrible.It was already lateenough, and a wild night,and the road full of fallenbranches and stones.But little by little,as you left their voices behind,the stars began to burnthrough the sheets of clouds,and there was a new voicewhich you slowlyrecognized as your own,that kept you companyas you strode deeper and deeperinto the world,determined to dothe only thing you could do--determined to savethe only life you could save.(copyrighted material)