“A good traveler has no fixed plan, and is not intent on arriving.”
This quote reminds me of “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading”. However it is easier to use today’s quote as a metaphor for experiencing Zen in everything we do. We are the travelers, and we should detach ourselves from our goals. That does not mean to not have goals, or else we would have no reason to travel. It is the entire experience of traveling that is to be enjoyed.
We may have heard similar expressions in Western thinking, such as, “It’s not the destination, but the journey that is important”. Or even, “Life is what happens in between making plans”, or something to that effect. Even “Stop and smell the roses” reminds us to enjoy the path we are on more than just having anticipation of our destinations. How much fun would Dorothy have had if she simply arrived at Emerald City, without having met all of the wonderful people she did along the way? Even her times of strife improved her character or relationships in one way or another.
Let us have goals and lay out agile, flexible plans to reach those goals. Let us even plan to reach our goals or destinations, but let us not be so intent and attached to arriving, especially through a single fixed path that we don’t enjoy the journey to our destination. It is this journey, or experience in everything we do that is crucial to understanding life, and understanding Zen.