I’m a believer that everything happens for a reason. But not in the way most people tend to use the phrase.

Traditionally, I find optimistic people say “everything happens for a reason” when they’re trying to console a friend after a painful event. Or to convince themselves that a poor decision or consequence is the result of God (or the universe) testing them.

Will their faith or resolve carry them through the event to find the silver lining?

But I like to think of it under a different perspective. I believe each moment in our lives is not the result of divine intervention, rather, it is an opportunity to learn something new. To shift our perspective. To challenge us to see things in a new light.

The “reason” for everything is to raise our awareness enough to perceive a more enlightened reality.

In this way, I seem to find powerful passages in books at just the right time. These are phrases or ideas that resonate with my thought patterns, causing ripples of agreement that I perhaps can’t justify rationally, but nevertheless, feel to be true.

One particular passage caught my eye on a recent roadtrip to San Francisco. The classic book: The Teachings Of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda.

At some point in their lives, many people ask themselves the question: am I doing what I should be doing with my life? Am I on the right path? And more importantly, how do I know the right path when I find it?

Quoting Don Juan, Castaneda captures beautifully how one must make the decision:

Look at every path closely and deliberately. Does this path have heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t.

One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

A path without heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy, it does not make you work at liking it.”

All the career books ever written, all the life coaches’ words ever spoken, all the religious scriptures of history, can be distilled to this simple teaching.

How often do you check in to ask yourself if your path has heart? Share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. Hi Ian,

    Discovered the Brave new traveller blog today… so much in there! I found my little gem of the day as well.

    Just on that Path with a Heart posting: have you read A Path with Heart from western buddhist Jack Kornfield? Worth a few hours of reading and scratching your head thinking about it.

    I’d like to get in touch about travel writing. Let me know if it’s ok. Txs

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