A Message Revisited LO3874

jack hirschfeld (jack@his.com)
Sun, 26 Nov 1995 21:18:17 -0500

Last August I sent a few messages to this list which were inadvertently
lost. Rick recently found them and returned them to me. I have re-read
and reconsidered them, and one of them seemed to me still relevant to the
ongoing conversation here, so I have decided to re-post it. My message

Bryan Walton wrote:
>Quite a while back, an inspired thought came to me.
>"the goal is the direction, the journey is the purpose"
>Hmmmm? I am still thinking about what that means.
> Bryan

Thanks for your provocative epigram, Bryan. It returns me to a paradox
related to the definition of "goal" as it relates to envisioning
practices. Quite a few people are puzzled by the question, "When will we
achieve our vision?" Task-oriented people especially have a hard time
with an "endless journey". (Of course, we use the occasion to explore the
"balance between task and process", but that's only a salve, not a

In my opinion, goals may be either achievable or not by definition. It is
how you define the goal that will define the degree to which "the journey
is the purpose." The more attainable the goal, the more possible it is
that the *goal* is the purpose.

A few months ago, in an exchange regarding practices, I posted a story
about the Buddha which in essence declares that enlightentment is the
purpose of the journey, and that when it is achieved, the journey becomes
irrelevant (though still praiseworthy). Within the context of the story,
this is something knowable only from the standpoint of enlightenment.

As a youth I read a book called "Mount Analogue" about a group of
travelers (traveling together like pilgrims) in search of they knew not
what, which was to be found at the unreachable summit of Mt. Analogue. At
the time, this summarized my sense of myself as a seeker for wisdom and
truth. Or perhaps more accurately, Wisdom and Truth.

I prefer to think of myself today as a continuous learner. In that
context, I set goals for myself which are attainable, as well as goals
that are not. It's not all conscious either of course, but I have learned
that not talking in absolutes and certainties makes life easier to
embrace, rather than more difficult as most people had been telling me.

In short, I think I have learned that the idea that the summit of Mount
Analogue cannot be reached is as much an illusion as the idea that it can

Jack Hirschfeld         Don't it always seem to go that you don't know
jack@his.com            what you've got, 'til it's gone?