There is No Way

I have long let go of the need to look to an outside source to find my way. If I find myself wandering I know enough that it is a shift in awareness that will bring me back.
I am headed back to Germany today. Yesterday I took the bus from Peterborough to Oshawa. Getting off the bus I made the decision to walk a ways. I am an avid walker. I think that the beginning of my love for walking was as a child walking through the pastures and woodlands at my cottage in Beaverton. From those early days it seemed to be something that I valued as a way to cope with the stress of life. I often did not plan many of these long walks. I was drawn into  nature, the forests and the fields and walking in them just seemed to spontaneously unfold in an enjoying of the moment. It often extended to longer distances and times.

I remember when I toured Europe in my forties for a few months  walking for forty kilometres in one day  through  the Annapurna mountains to the Mediterranean  coast of Spain with a heavy load on my back. At sixty years of age I still find that I, on occasion ,  enjoy a ten or fifteen kilometre walk. Yesterday I was in the mood and I ended up walking the eight kilometre distance to my mother’s home, walking along the railroad line, across creeks and through ravines, over fences and along paths. Tears arose at times along the city walk as they do so often these days. They are not sad tears but more have  to do with feeling alive and connected to something more than myself. I seem to move away from the illusive problems of the small me that I imagine myself to be at times.

I had to make decisions on my walk at times about what way to go, what direction to take. It was by no means a direct path, but that is almost always okay. There is a sense of mystery and adventure that I have known so often as a child when life was a mystery and adventure. I live today to experience a similar sense of mystery and adventure. It has alluded me at times in my life especially at times that I have been caught up in thought following some way or another rather than paying attention to this deeper connection that exists. Being creative and pursuing a curiosity and being directly engaged in nature and life and all that it has to offer are most important. I realise these days that there is no institutional way or formal path or knowledge  that can provide the answers for me. They can perhaps point towards something but in the end I actually become quite stifled if I am diverted by outside expectations of how I should live my life or how I should be. It seems to take me from a freedom “to be” that is discovered within, something that is not-self but that is the source of it, prior to it. From this place I am filled with consideration and compassion for others. Relationship with others does not unfold in a conventional way that may be considered ethically correct.from there. It as well can be somewhat more of an adventure of mistakes taking a wrong turn here and there but I am committed to an open and authentic and natural unfolding and discovery of self and other. There is something of our origins that is more wise than humans believe themselves to be. Sometimes it means that relationships end. But it seems to enable me to bring love and acceptance to relations with others and to myself even as they end.
There is so much these days that has been created and that exists to distract me from this inner truth that I find myself coming back to. I wandered away from it for some time and still do at times but now I understand more completely that it is life that I have lost in my wanderings and it is simply life that I long for, and the tears arise as I become aware in those moments that life can be discovered in the simplest of things and it can be rediscovered in a simple shift in awareness.

12 thoughts on “There is No Way

    • Hariod thank you fir your feedback. I am back to reading your book with enthusiasm. You have for me a unique way of envisioning snd expressing. Can I ask what your resources or influences are. Is it that you have come to your own formulations. Is their a more formal philosophical school that explores consciouseness in a helpful way?

      • Hello Gord, I trust your trip to Canada proved beneficial and enjoyable, and it was good to read some thoughts of yours from there, and to view some of your painting too. If you are now back in Germany, and would like me to post you a physical copy of the book, please email me a forwarding address and I would be delighted to send you a gratis copy.

        As to your question about my background, and what my sources of learning have been, then this has been a mixture of Orthodox (Theravadin) Buddhism and sustaining an interest in contemporary theories of consciousness and related matters. If you are interested, then my most recent post [ http://wp.me/p4wkZJ-bc ] covers some of my experience in a long-standing relationship with a Buddhist monastery. The comments section of the article contains further detail, should you wish to explore it, as does my book.

        You ask ‘Is there a more formal philosophical school that explores consciousness in a helpful way?’ If by ‘helpful’ you mean one that offers a practical and systematic exploration, then I think Buddhist Vipassana meditation is the most comprehensive, rigorous and well-mapped means of realising this. My own system, as detailed in the book, is largely based on Vipassana though has less emphasis on the development of concentration. I also detail two practices which are outside the scope of Vipassana itself, though are productive of experiences and insights that may still obtain in that practice.

        May I ask Gord, what mental culture practices, if any, have you ever practised?

        All best wishes.

        Hariod.

      • I will follow up with that now that i am back. I would appreciate a copy and will forward my address. I have been involved with Theravadan Buddhism as well mostly with the Thai Forest Ajahn Cha teachers in Canada and New Life Centre in Bara Massachusets and somewhat with Burmese and Sri Lankan traditions. I have slso bern very interested in Mahayana Buddhism and of course when you live in Nepal that us what is there. There was a Theravadan center in Kathmandu but following the Goenka tradition who was an Induan monk influenced by the Burmese. You probably are aware of this. Were you a student of Ajah Sumedhi. My most extensive involvement was with Toni Packer who broke away from Phillip Kapleau a early Zen leader in America. Toni was greatly influenced by Krishnamurti. That is Toni Packer as opposed the British ztony Parker. I am also drawn to what Krishsnamurti had to say and have explored and still enjoy many if the Vedantic writers and teachers. I do have an interest in diverse expressions of spirituality. I have discovered that in general the collective world consciousness is more of an ego oriented way, even within many Buddhist traditions. I have some sense of the limitations and challenges that institutions face in follwoing an authentic way. But I also see that there seems to be a deepening and expansion of consciousness in general in the world but will it have enough impact to propel msnkind out of the crisis created by being stuck in more traditional ways, maybe not.

        Sent from my iPad

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      • Reading your book: you explore things that i have comtemplated. I have had an ongoing dialogue with others about the issues of having a conceptual understanding of the direct experience in terms of consciousness and awareness. I have always felt as you do about it knowing the limitations of the conceptual expression. Others often mistake this for intelectual indulgement not understanding that our conceptual ability is an evolutionary development. It is not to be denied but to be understood. It is a tool that is an essential part of our conscious unfolding. It is not the experience but it can be utilized to understand and communicate experience not in an ultimate way but ib a relative way. Do you perceive this process differently.

      • My address in Germany is Gord Clements Am Mönchsholz 7
        06120 Halle
        Thank You Very Much Hariod
        What you write is my experience
        You formulate it so well
        But most have not had this experience
        Hopefully what you write can influence that
        Are you getting any feedback that woukd suggest this

      • Yes That is correct. I am in Maiinz for the weekend. It is quite an interesting city , considered to be the capital of the Roman Germany. I was reading your book moving and ingesting it slowly. Do you think that it is possible that in the increasing of presence and intuitive wisdom there can be the increase in the realization that the world is not an intimate place. There is such an investment in self that there is not so much space for intimate connection of what is more authentic in each other.

      • [These comments are appearing out of sequence – this one is a response to yours of 3.02p.m. on the 10th.]

        I’m not certain what you mean by ‘intimate place’ Gord; though I think you’re suggesting a level of familiarity and corresponding sense of ease that comes with interacting with the identities of people we know very well. My own experience is that none of that familiarity and ease disappears once it’s seen that identity itself does not correspond to any existent instantiated self. Only the imagined self is phantasmal; the person is real, with real qualities and attributes which we can love and appreciate deeply, intimately. The person is not illusory in the least; rather they are a unique aspect of nature’s play, if you will. Once our conception of them goes beyond attributing to them an artificial and dreary cloak of selfhood, even though they themselves may continue to do so, then by my lights, the appreciation and intimacy goes deeper still. What seems to happen is that the person is more fully accepted, warts and all perhaps, and a colouring of compassionate understanding and tender appreciation enters into what is now a broader, more accurate picture. The other person remains authentically and uniquely themselves, though continues to manifest an unauthentic projection of selfhood which they identify with subjectively and exhibit outwardly as a result of conditioning. What is your experience Gord, does it accord in any way with what I am saying just here?

      • I think that this is all true what you say but it is hard not to see the consequences that have arisen possibly as a result of our cultures investment in individual identifying. I certainly see individuals to be more than what they are identifying with.

      • Dear Gord,

        Many thanks for these responses and kind words, together with those that you have posted on my website and which I have there responded to. [ http://wp.me/P4wkZJ-8d ] I will post you a physical copy of the book as promised, though it will probably not go until Monday as I currently am housebound with something of a flu-like virus. I would imagine it will be with you within 7-10 days of posting.

        Thank you for detailing your extensive experience with Buddhism, and in particular, the Theravadin tradition. I am of course familiar with the life and works of the great Ajahn Chah, as well as others including Ajahn Mun, whose biography I am fortunate to have a copy of. I also am familiar with S.N. Goenka, and am often recommending the documentary film ‘Doing Time, Doing Vipassana’ which features his system and which perhaps you have viewed yourself. Whilst I was not a student of Ajahn Sumedho, I did have the great pleasure of meeting him at Oxford University some years ago. Like myself, you also appear to have explored Nondualism generally, as well as non-system teachers such as J. Krishnamusrti, and perhaps U.G. Krishnamurti as well. I am not familiar with Toni Packer, other than for doing a brief online search as a result of your mention of her, though I have met Tony Parsons (I assume you meant him, rather than ‘Tony Parker’), on several occasions. However, I am not greatly enamoured of Neo-Advaita which you will doubtless glean from my book. My respect for Advaita is of the classical form, wherein morality and practice are deemed essential components for advancement.

        As to your comment at 6.55 p.m. on the 6th, I think we are in agreement here Gord, though it would probably require a fuller exchange to be sure. From what you say though, I am not perceiving things differently to as you have stated. One needs to be clear when awareness is coalescing around conceptual representations, in particular the verbal symbols of language, as against the more expansive mode of presence which is not dependent upon concepts. As you rightly suggest, there is a relative relationship with the two; they of course do not subsist ‘outside’ of the non-dual, or non-self unicity; they may only appear to.

        Finally, thank you once again for your interest in my writing Gord; it truly is most gratifying to me.

        With great respect.

        Hariod.

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