Many times I’ve been alone and many times I’ve cried
Anyway you’ll never know the many ways I’ve tried
And still they lead me back to the long and winding road
You left me standing here a long, long time ago
Don’t leave me waiting here, lead me to you door
https://www.youtube.com/embed/fUO7N-zSMYc?rel=0“>Beatles, The Long and Winding Road
Road songs, road trip novels and movie scripts, mythic journeys (e.g. the Odyssey): why is the Road such a common, universal cultural motif?
Usually the Road leads Home or completes a full cycle of Departure–Transformation–Return, as per Joseph Campbell’s well known insight about “the Hero with 1000 Faces“. The mythic journey we all take is a “going and a Return”; it is a journey of Self-discovery and advancement to ever greater horizons.
Is it an Illusion, though? The Journey or Winding Road metaphor is after all just that: a way to frame experience as an ongoing, coherent Process. We depart from point A, traverse through obstacles or vistas, and ultimately aim to arrive at a “later” destination, one that is the same as that which we departed from, but we have gained through the struggle and lessons learned a greater maturity, skills and awareness. The Prodigal offspring, we seek to acquire wisdom in the lower realms in order to be of even greater service and humility when we finally return to the divine source of our own true essence. And every lesser journey is a microcosm or a small step along that ultimate Pathway of spiritual unfoldment in the eternal Nowness that IS.
Well then, just think of it! Nothing is ever wasted; every experience carries within it the Seed of this ultimate Return.
C. P. Cavafy, “The City” from C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Translation Copyright © 1975, 1992 by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Reproduced with permission of Princeton University Press.