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Is it better to travel in hope than to arrive?

Means vs. Ends, Process vs. Outcome, East's deep!

“It is better to travel in hope than to arrive..”

I heard this quote from a thoughtful man
who had heard it in the past.
He apparently was well traveled,
as the quote had an Eastern cast.

It suggests that unlike in the West
where we emphasize the goal,
perhaps enjoying the honest attempt
would be better for our soul.

If I only think of arrival
and concentrate on the trip’s end,
a straight line gets me there fastest.
I want a road with nary a bend.

But if I immerse in the trip itself
and the concomitant concerns,
it matters not if the path I’m on
has many serpentine turns.

If I focus on just the result
and ignore where I have been,
it becomes an all or none affair
that I either lose or win.

But if I’m awash in the good attempt
to make the honest fight,
then win or lose there’s a really good chance
that I’ll sleep well at night.

On the other hand if a building’s ablaze
and I can’t extinguish the fire,
successful escape is all that matters
and not my noble desire.

And if my lover is in urgent need
of a passionate and climactic release,
completing my task takes precedence
if I want to maintain the peace!

So where does all this leave me?
What is a person to do?
Is the essence of life just a zero sum game
or is there something else too?

I don’t know the answer to the question,
but I shall savor the ongoing quest.
Yet eventually I have to find it
or I’ll never get any rest!

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © Lee Goldberg 2011, 2012, 2013. All Rights Reserved. Contact info:

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