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in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Whose Path Are You On...?


“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice.
And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
They somehow already know what you truly want…”

Steve Jobs

~

At this inner crossroads that I am experiencing I have been pondering “the path.”  The question that keeps coming up is “What is the true path of liberation?”  I can honestly say I don’t know!  I used to think I did… I used to think I was searching for “enlightenment”/God/Truth – and the bells and whistles of realizing my True Nature, and turning into Light…  Now I don’t know…  But this question of true liberation keeps coming up lately.  And what *is* true liberation?  I don’t know…  My gut feeling is it is liberation from the mind and its mental veils of separation that still linger even though I have been aware of my True Nature – Beingness – for a long time…  

I have been on many paths.   And I discovered that each one was only a facet of the Truth.  Some teachings say we need a continual practice and many lifetimes to be able to truly be “enlightened.”  Other paths say all we need is awareness of our True Beingness, and others give mental ascent to who we truly are, but never get to the Heart of Being – getting lost in intellectualism and a pseudo non-duality.  None providing real “liberation.”  At least that is my experience…

I’ve been at this threshold before…  See The Pathless Path and Into The Forest for more articulate versions.

Although I chose to follow certain paths for a time, I’ve had to go beyond the illusory path of religious beliefs, of ideas of “enlightenment”, conceptual “non-dualism” , and experience the Truth of Being directly, in my own way – carving out a “path” of my own.  I still am – discovering, exploring, experiencing, deepening – still a wayfarer on an ever unfolding path…  The paths I have followed have been other people’s paths who speak *about* the Truth, *about* “enlightenment” and the tendency has been to reiterate what has been heard – as the Truth - not what is necessarily True from my own experience, in my Heart of Hearts.

It seems in order for “liberation” to occur one needs to *experience* and be absorbed by an inner Presence; the inner Guru/Teacher/Self – which is not to say that we don’t need an external “teacher” or “teaching” at times.  But we each must essentially find our own way – which is why we choose the paths we do.   True spiritual pathways and teachers will always turn us back to the inner Heart of True Beingness.  A true teaching actually helps us trust the Truth of our Heart – the “spiritual” Heart – not our personal truth – as in “my truth” - but the universal Truth of our Beingness.  I’m still working on that one – trusting the Truth of the Universal Heart and not the mental concepts of what Truth is supposed to look like - according to others. :)

Here are a few quotes from various “teachers” from various traditions that speak to the essence of what I’m trying to say here…  As you can see, I am still using other people’s words, other voices…  J



“King Arthur’s Knights went on the quest for the Holy Grail -
the Truth…

Each entered the forest of adventure
 at the point they had each chosen for themselves,
where it was darkest and where there was no path…

If there is a path,
it is someone else’s path,
and you are not on the adventure.

You have to work it out
for yourself,
taking the clues from
here and there…”

Joseph Campbell
Mythologist


Photo: Shadow from front window




“The spiritual search is usually undertaken
as a result of the failure to secure
happiness, peace and love
in the conventional realms of experience.

Now we seek a permanent state
of enlightenment.

This search takes us to new realms of experience,
teaching us to focus on the acquisition of
states of mind…

So these newly acquired states of mind
bring the spiritual search to a temporary end -
which we call awakening or enlightenment;
and we now confuse these new states of mind
for enlightenment.

Faced with the failure of our search,
there are no more possible realms
in which to search.

For some this failure is experienced
as a time of despair.
There are no further directions
in which to turn…
There is nowhere left to seek,
and yet we cannot stop seeking.

What we truly long for
cannot be found in any state
of the body, mind or world.

A new doorway may open up -
the only one that has yet to be explored.

It is the profound exploration
of the nature of our Self -
The Nature of Being…”


Rupert Spira
Contemporary Non-Duality Teacher
From:
Presence: The Art of Peace and Happiness






“Contemplation is life itself,
fully awake,
fully active,
fully aware that
it is alive.

It is spiritual wonder.
It is spontaneous awe
at the sacredness of life,
of being.

It is gratitude for life,
for awareness,
and
for being.

It is a vivid realization
of the fact that life and being
in us
proceed from an invisible,
transcendent,
and infinitely
abundant
Source…

Contemplation
is above all,
awareness of the reality
of that Source.
It knows the Source,
obscurely,
inexplicably,
but with a certitude
that goes beyond reason
and beyond simple faith.

It is a more profound depth,
a knowledge too deep to
be grasped
in images,
in words,
or even
in clear concepts.”


Thomas Merton
Christian Contemplative
From:
Choosing to Love the World





“Spiritual awakening may seem like
an extraordinary occurrence -
but is a built-in human capacity
able to realize inner freedom…

Contact the sacred Presence within you,
call on this Presence.
Direct your attention inward to that…

Contacting the facets of the sacred Presence
within, you deepen your trust in your own
essential being…

Trust that you can find a way to
the true refuge of your own loving
awareness – your own Buddha Nature.”

Tara Brach
Buddhist Teacher
From her Blog





“You are the Beloved.

…though the experience of being the Beloved
has never been completely absent from my life,
I never claimed it as my core truth.

I kept running around it in large or small circles,
always looking for someone or something
able to convince me of my Belovedness.
It was as if I kept refusing to hear the voice
that speaks from the depths of my being…

That voice has always been there,
but it seems that I was much more eager
to listen to other louder voices…
Meanwhile, the soft gentle voice
that speaks in the silence and solitude
of my heart
remained unheard…"

Henri Nouwen
Catholic Theologian
From: Life of the Beloved


 Photo: Rainbow light from crystal in window
forming a symbol for a musical note





“…even the idea of the path is an illusion:
there is nowhere to go,
nothing to realize,
because everything is ‘God’ [Infinite Consciousness].

And if everything is ‘The Beloved’,
who is this “I” who has made the journey
from separation back to union?

The simple knowing that it is all One,
and that the “I” is just an illusion,
a veil of separation,
has made me question
the nature of the very human drama
that is played out
with our longing…

Is the very idea of our own journey, our story,
just a figment of our imagination…

And does it matter?

So who makes the journey?

There is a journey…
even though I know there is really no journey… 

They are just continuing footsteps…

The path is ‘not about me’ -
but a larger story -
an ocean in which my own experiences
are just a small ripple…

It’s the story of the ocean,
rather than the drop……”


Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
Sufi Mystic
From: Fragments of a Love Story


Note: when Vaughan-Lee speaks of ‘God”/The Beloved, etc.
it is the all-pervasive Presence of
Love that he refers to,
not a separate entity…

Photo: Light through stained glass
reflected on window sill



17 comments:

  1. Great photos, as always Christine and so many thoughts on the subject that I can hardly think of an intelligent comment!

    I guess I have always felt, as you express, the need the synthesize and digest various teachings until they fit our particular mind/body experience in this life. And it seems this changes as we do. So no wonder you have so many thoughts about it and can find so many wonderful quotes to offer us.

    Right now being open hearted is a focus in my practice. Seems I can't hold too much in this pea brain at one time!

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    1. Yes - that's it! Staying open-hearted :) Thanks!

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  2. oh, i just love your photos. and your quest to find your spiritual inner voice. It seems to me you speak well here from your own words along with giving us quotes from others.

    Henry Nouwen--have read some of his work and not come upon anyone knowing him.

    Perhaps quotes from others are useful when we feel we are a bit lost on our paths and they turn us back to ourselves.

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    1. Thank you Suki :) I have not actually read Henri Nouwen, but found this quote, and others, on another blog, which spoke to me at the time I found it. And you're so right, quotes from others always seem to bring some clarity in a clouded situation :)

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  3. Reflections, shadows, prisms: questioning what is "real" and "true" on this simple/complex path of light we walk is a beautiful strength you hold and share. Thank you, Christine.

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    1. Hello Christine! Thank you for visiting and thank you for your beautiful comment! Your name sounds familiar. Do I know you?

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    2. It's Chris! I have two e-mail addresses and didn't pay attention to which one I'd used here. . . which reminds me that I should do some "cleaning up"!

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    3. What a hoot! I didn't know your full name so thought it was someone new - :0) When I followed the link it just gave me a google+ page and didn't recognize the picture... How fun! The mystery reveals itself... lol

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  4. I find I'm having trouble with my eyesight and thus frequently misread words. At first reading, I thought you said you are still a wallflower on an ever unfolding path.

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    1. Oh you silly goose :) I love how you add levity to my serious pursuits. You had me laughing - again :) Yes, well, I am still a "wallflower" too... Coming over to join you on your sea cruise!

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  5. "Now I don't know." What a wonderful doorway that is! Don't Know Mind

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    1. Thank you David. Yes, it is, leaves one completely open to new ways of seeing. Mind doesn't necessarily like it, but... :)
      Thanks for the lovely link. Nice article! Have tagged it so I can peruse it more...

      Technical question: How do you make the links in the comment section? I have never figured that out. You can email me at www.mysticmeandering@gmail.com.. (see I can't make the link :)

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  6. Your meditative photos are just dazzling, Christine...WOW! And like you, I have dipped into many paths and gained much from each. It's a lot to digest and practice on. I find that the path we're on is the one we're meant to be on right now. Clarity comes in remaining open to what expands my heart & mind the most, and developing those practices. :o) Wonderful insights shared today! Happy Days ((HUGS))

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    1. Yes, so true: "clarity comes in remaining open..." Thank you! :)

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  7. christine, it is so good to meet you))))

    you write this, "The paths I have followed have been other people’s paths who speak *about* the Truth, *about* “enlightenment” and the tendency has been to reiterate what has been heard – as the Truth - not what is necessarily True from my own experience, in my Heart of Hearts." i agree with you absolutely. if we hold other people's teachings up we are creating a wall between us and what it is we long to see/experience/know. i don't think it is wrong to know of other people's experiences, (in fact, it is good and necessary, it grants language and common experience) but for me it has been best to break everything down as small as i can every day, what i have known, what i am, and begin again. it is only in this way that i have begun to see the corner of a veil being lifted. perhaps there are a hundred or a thousand more veils, but the more i watch the natural world and the more i am aware of myself, the closer i feel. reduction is the key and awareness. (or so i hope)))

    xo
    erin

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  8. (and then shamefully i hang my head and say, i really know nothing. i have only had the opportunity to experience moments of grace. i know nothing else.)

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    1. Hello erin - Welcome! And thank you for your in-depth response to my meanderings here. :)

      I'm finding that the 'not knowing' is really an authentic place to be because it leaves us totally open to Grace. No shame in that :) Humbling maybe...

      Definitely the simplicity of awareness in each day is key. But my mind likes complexity :) And for me lots & lots of time in communion with Silence (that inner Presence) - which I don't seem to get enough of, and ironically avoid - becoming intimately aware of who is really living this body, this life...

      With gratitude... Christine

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