The right path

How do you know that what you're doing is right? And how do you decide which way is right and which way is wrong? Do you base it on logic, feeling or both? These questions have been the main motivation for my cycling trip, and I've met a lot of people on the way who are, like me, traveling to find the answer (an answer?) to these questions.

There's two people: Frank and Harry. Frank is a young guy, fairly energetic, intelligent and he likes to travel. He makes his decisions based mostly on logic. His underlying purpose is to save money, so he will go wherever the winds of fortune take him, accepting anything that comes in his way. His lifestyle may seem erratic at first glance, but if you consider his underlying reasons it makes a lot of sense. Then there's Harry. Harry is always in a hurry. He travels with a bit more luxury but still manages to maintain the 'traveling spirit' of adventure and going where other people usually don't go by means that other people don't use. His traveling style is eccentric. He doesn't usually take the time to stand still and enjoy the moment. There's always another goal ahead. If there is no more goal ahead he will create a goal immediately, right there on the spot. He avoids those empty moments where his life has no meaning, no goal to work towards. Harry is very different from Frank. Frank takes his time and cherishes the moments of having no goal. He's waiting for his compass to recenter so that he can proceed in the right direction. Harry does not wait for those moments, he just picks a direction and goes for it, for better or worse. So what happens when Frank and Harry meet?

Well, surprisingly, the two get along quite well. Initially the goal-centeredness of Harry overwhelms Frank, but eventually Frank's compass resets and he realizes whether he's going in the right direction or not. Until his compass resets he's just tagging along for the ride. Eventually things settle down, moments of clarity and logic appear, and the right direction becomes clear to both of them. Things that they might never have realized if they were alone can become clear in an instant when they are together. It's a great help to view things from a different perspective. What will eventually happen to Harry and Frank, I don't know. They're still waiting for their compasses to resettle.

As for me, I'm kind of a mix of both, but probably more of a Frank-type. I like to take my time to decide my direction, but sometimes I get impatient and just barge off in a random direction, hoping it'll turn out alright. It usually turns out alright. When I decide things, I ultimately use logic to make my decisions, but I do take my feelings into account when making my decisions. If something decided on pure logic alone will seem like it will make me unhappy, then I will take that into account and try to make a different decision. It's all a matter of putting the right weight on your feelings. Some feelings are best left ignored, while others should get a high priority even if it doesn't make immediate logical sense. I guess for me, I place weights on my feelings based on instinct or my gut feeling, so I'm really quite in the middle between logic and feelings, between Harry and Frank.

During the course of my trip I created many hypothetical situations for myself, and asked myself "Is this the path that I should take?". My gut feeling always said no. Eventually I decided on a path that seems logically the 'best' path, but still, when I ask my gut feeling it doesn't reply. Maybe I've reached a point where deciding my life based on a gut feeling is no longer feasible, or maybe I haven't reached the right path yet. My gut feeling tells me it's the latter :D Although the trip did not provide me with the answer that I was looking for, at least I am confident now that I will recognize the right path when I see it. I am happy with that.

Posted in Spirit of Japan , Thoughts