A spiritual path will only get you so far. A particular religious tradition or spiritual discipline may point you in the right direction. But those determined to follow the Yellow Brick Road will soon find themselves at a crossroads, obliged to ask for directions from some yokel with a head full of straw who obligingly points first one way, then another. No matter which way you go, you will eventually discover your well-worn path has brought you to a trackless waste. What now?
Wilderness treks are a recurring theme in sacred texts. Moses found God in the wilderness of Sinai after he killed a man. Elijah fled into the wilderness and hoped that God would put him out of his misery but instead was given a new lease on life. Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit and communed not with God but with the devil. All found something unexpected, and all were sent back where they came from with a new sense of purpose.
The multitude who are content merely to seek God can set out in almost any direction in the forlorn hope that their destination lies just beyond the horizon. To seek God elsewhere is a fool’s errand. To follow in another’s footsteps can only lead you to his or her destination rather than to your own. To find God, you have to make your own way. It takes courage and a certain homing instinct. Then it’s just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other.