The Path is Made by Walking


The Fuji Declaration affirms the essential dignity of all life and inner divinity within each of us.  If we recognized this divine spark consistently and broadly, could this change civilization? 


If more people began to recognize the inner divinity in more people, what then would our global world be like?  How would our interactions be — with co-workers, classmates, and in everyday interactions with loved ones as well as those we imagine as enemies — if each time we engaged another we did so with regard to this inner divinity within each of us?

As I consider this enormous question, my first response is “I can not even imagine.”  Having no model of such a world to build upon, I am amazed by the blank slate in front of me.  And yet, with the question, I begin to imagine.  This is a first step.

Giving the question some attention, I begin to remember that I have experienced this type of exchange – one of each honoring an essential dignity.  And I have felt the impact of having another reflect divinity back to me at times when I have forgotten it myself… a most powerful awakening.  This brings hope… a felt experience of knowing that the action of witnessing inner divinity does actually change something; it creates an opening, an invitation, to remember the essential thread weaving through each of us.

I suspect hope (as a felt experience of knowing divinity) may be just the specific type of energy required to compel us forward… the fuel that encourages us to engage from divinity, toward divinity.

And how can we engage in this way from a practical, daily experience?  Holding with the image of hope as a fuel, I imagine I must first ensure I have a way to sustain my own fuel supply.  Whether through meditation, gratitude practices or any number of ways to help me remember my connection with divinity, I must consistently replenish my energy through the visceral experience of this connection.  When I am in this place of contact with essence, my actions are able to have a more meaningful impact.


And what is a meaningful impact?  One of the most basic and accessible ways to know the impact of recognizing divinity is through random acts of kindness.  If you’ve ever been any part of an act of kindness, you have seen how it lights people up… the giver, the receiver, and even the by-standers observing the act.  What pure joy! That joy tends to proliferate a “pay-it-forward” cycle that carries the impact even further.


And what if random acts became a consistent way of being – “the norm” – incorporated into our daily routines?  There are already many movements supporting this direction: from schools fostering campaigns like “dare to care” and “kindness counts”, to social movements like “free hugs”, to increased numbers of organizations teaching skills like heart-centered listening, and compassionate communication.  These are each unique expressions of a growing culture waking up to the experience of our loving essence; each one laying out a practical path to continue growing in the direction of a greater and deeper connection with this loving essence.

And there is more… our loving essence is but one part of divinity.  There is also this thing of unique expression – each individual’s inherent essence offering it’s own contribution to the world.  It is this diversity which creates the multi-faceted, rich texture of life; the dynamic dimensionality of divinity itself!  It is also the thing at the heart of numerous conflicts as we struggle to integrate the many expressions of divinity with our own one experience or point of view.


And how to honor all the “points of you” while holding true to my own expression of light?  This is the question dignity asks… the work it brings.  You matter.  I matter. “They” matter; no matter who they be… they do still “be“.  We all be… in relationship to each other AND to the whole, the source of our being.


AND is the point of connection… the place that compassion lives in me because I know your suffering – it is my suffering, our suffering.  AND is also the place in me that knows hope intimately because I am connected with the mystery and wonder of divinity and it lights me up!  AND is the place where you and I are the same; and that same is Divine.  This is the place that dignity lives; the place where we absolutely know the truth that we all be; we all have inherent value simply through being.  When I am in this place of contact with both the essence of humanity and the essence of divinity, my actions are able to have a more meaningful impact.


And what is the path to this land of AND?  As I consider my own journey, I am reminded of Antonio Machado’s words: “There is no path.  The path is made by walking.”  So then, how to walk in a direction toward divinity?

Already, we are walking.  But, in what direction are we headed?  The question: “How would the regard for inner divinity change civilization?” invites us to walk toward divinity as it asks us to imagine it; and this is a first step.  The question is so simple, and yet, so remarkable in the effortless way it creates a space for something new.  Questions are a fundamental tool of inner work for this very reason.  Something inside of us wants to answer when presented with a question; it sparks a search inside, and this is the beginning of imagination.

In the field of life coaching, we are in a unique position to work with just this type of imagination as people are coming to us already in search of something… though phrased in many different ways, at the heart of each search, most are looking for meaning and purpose – their own unique way to make a contribution to the world – to know their own divine spark.  This usually requires a letting go of the obstacles that prevent them from seeing the divinity which is there all along.  And so, we walk with people through their inner landscape to see what is ready to be released (ie: old beliefs no longer true now, suppressed emotions, etc.).  But this point of “readiness” is a delicate thing to determine.  When we trust in divine timing, allowing things to unfold without trying to force something to happen, we are practicing dignity by trusting the divine spark in our client to reveal their own timing.  This can be as simple as honoring a client’s choice; and as complex as honoring that choice even if I have a different point of view.

Another practical way that we can encourage one another to experience inner divinity is simply to presume the divine of another, and thus invite them to step closer to it.  For example, the first time I was asked to officiate a funeral, my silent fear was “I can’t do that!”.  But I did.  And I grew from the experience.  And I continue growing into that part of myself each time I officiate a funeral, a wedding, and various other rituals I now perform.  One person presumed there was something in me that knew how to do this, and thus asked me to see it too. And I am walking toward divinity.

Of the steps I’ve encountered along the walk…

There is inner work.  An unlit candle has no fire to light another.

Can we do the work required to sustain our own light?

There is presumed divinity: to expect the divine to show up.

Can we invite others to live their fullest expression of divinity?  A simple “Of course you can – without a doubt!” when they are afraid to take a step closer?

There is respect: honoring individual choices and the many “points of you”.

Can we humbly say to each other, “Thank you for your contribution.”, – even when it appears so different than our own?

There is compassion: a shared experience of what it is to be human.

Can we remember the parts of us that are “messy” as we see others in struggle?  To remember, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”?

There is hope: a direct felt experience of the impact of divinity.

Can we remember that we are ok; that we can trust divinity is always among us?

There is imagination.

Can we invite more people to imagine a world walking with divinity?

And there is more…  can you imagine it?


With infinite love and light,

Dianna Burkhalter


I remember my connection with the source of my being, and I am hopeful.

I remember my connection with humanity, and I am humble.

Now, just how to remember again?

By: Dianna Burkhalter

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