On the path

"Sometimes a wilderness path is nothing more than a series of cairns (piles of rocks) or blazes on trees (bright paint spots a few inches around, six or so feet up the trunk). Those mark the way. They are set close enough that you can just see the next one from each—perhaps one every thirty feet. Even when there is no visible path on the ground, simply knowing which direction you should be heading lets you walk a lot faster. You don’t have to keep stopping to look about and wonder if you are lost, or which is the easiest and safest way to cross the mountainside.

A spiritual path, similarly, has a sequence of way-points that let you know you are going in the direction the path-makers have worked out. To count as a path, a spiritual system has to have stages or a defined curriculum. First you do this, then you do that; and there is some way of knowing whether you have accomplished each stage."

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