So how do you suggest getting oriented with what is most difficult to choose the *right* path?
[Also,] how can we gain the discipline to sweep up "the trash and leaves" so that we do not end up one day "wasn't there something here a long time ago." Is there really a simplistic methodical way we can go about this and follow our heads instead of our hearts?
THE PATH IS CLEARED when you're quiet and listening. Quiet means you give up all forms of violence. Don't just think of violence as hitting someone. You can hit yourself too, and you can hit yourself with words, with judgment, with meanness, and with rejection. So, renouncing violence means giving up all that shit. Being sincere, being supportive, being honest, being understanding. You practice with others and you do it for yourself. You don't have to fake it, because it's actually just the logical, intelligent way of seeing things. Violence is irrational when you really reflect on what it is.
Another way to describe that is by meditation. Everyone has so many ideas about what meditation is supposed to be, and what it's supposed to feel like. All it is is seeing what's here. You're not trying to see things a certain way, or muster certain emotions, or kill your thoughts. You're just being open to what's here right now -- frustration? exasperation? desire for answers? thinking? anger? confusion? You let it be there. Okay, interesting. That's the same thing as listening.
Doing all that clears up thoughts because thoughts feed on resistance. Resistance is their nature. Your thoughts are always trying to make something else happen -- an answer, a feeling, a mood, recognition, progress, or even just maintaining the status quo in the face of mounting pressures. When you slowly let go of needing things to change, when you accept them and stop pressuring yourself to make something else happen, when you give up self-directed violence (all the same thing), your mind has nothing left to do. Your acceptance overcomes its resistance. Your path slowly begins to appear.
You stay on it by studying it, by making it appear again (practicing nonviolence) and by recording the insights you get when you see it. Make some rules for yourself. THEN STICK TO IT. How do you find discipline? You don't. You just do it until it becomes easier and normal. Use every trick you can think of. Make schedules. Make note cards. Read something every day. Make a huge poster that stares at you where ever you go. Leave something in your wallet/purse/murse. (I use all of these, btw.) Whatever it takes.
Buddha, my homeboy, said there are only two mistakes one can make in their pursuit of truth: not starting the path and not finishing it.