As I sat further with the image, I realized that when I started my practice, the line was like a tightrope, high in the air, and when the force of my ego-mind blew me off the path. I fell far. Thankfully I was caught by the safety net of my spiritual practice, but it took me quite awhile to climb back out of that hole to regain the path.
As my practice deepened, the height of the tightrope was reduced to the point, over the past year or two, where it was more like a snap-line between two trees, just a foot or two off the ground. There the winds of my ego-mind were not as strong, and when I fell it was not far and I quickly regained the path.
What was the deepening of my practice that brought about this change? It was coming to know from within myself not only that my feelings and perceptions are the cause of my suffering, but that they are a product of my mind and thus are not my true self. This has enabled me to more consistently reject the guidance of my ego-mind and instead seek guidance from my heart, my true Buddha nature.
Most recently, the line has become one with the earth I walk on, solid ground. The winds of my ego-mind are even less strong at ground level, and when I do lose my balance momentarily it’s even easier to get back on the path.
Why? I have opened my heart to embrace all aspects of my being and experience. And so nothing offends; all internal and external struggle has ceased. I know I have everything within myself to be at peace and happy. When I meditate or during the day chant a mantra, I return home.