In the tale of Hans and Gretchen the children use breadcrumbs to be able to find their way back home but in tale birds find and eat the crumbs and the children gets lost in the forest. One of my teachers compared the inner journey to finding breadcrumbs. I like this metaphor but I would like to point out how important it is to leave ones traces behind without looking back.
To those who have embarked on an inner journey they will soon discover that the ’road’ is everything but straight. One will also learn that it is full of contradictions. For example, we can have an amazing insight which really opens up but in order to take further steps we might be forced to let go of that very same insight that helped us a while ago. Sometimes the next step forward can be disguised as ’a step back’ and it is not until we dare to take that step ’back’ we come to realize that ’back’ as well as ’forward’ doesn’t really exist.
We are sometimes told that realizing thought and thinking and how we relate to our thinking helps us use our thinking in a more useful way. We are also told that before we realize this, we are bound to misuse our thinking. In a sense this is a good pointer and it can serve us well but I think it can also send us straight into a trap which will keep us in yet another deluded state.
There is no misuse of thinking. There is just thinking.
Between birth and death, we all are in motion one way or another.
We think, we feel, we move.
If we think bad thoughts, we feel bad. If we think good thoughts, we feel good. There is no confusion here. Up to this point this way of how things work is known to most people.
In order for us to give a label to our level of understanding of how things work as ‘misuse’, we need to contrast it to something. What I am pointing to is simply: So what is ‘correct’ usage of thought?
One could easily argue that thinking that leads to doing things that generally are considered as nice, loving and kind would apply as correct use of thinking and doing. But how could we really know.
Now think about this. What is nice, loving and kind? In a state of confusion, how would one know (for sure) how those would look like. Like everything else; being nice, loving and kind is generally a matter of perspective and personal preference, which like everything else is constantly changing in a way that is beyond our personal comprehension.
Not so long ago I heard the following line; “Loving kindness doesn’t always have to be affectionate” and this seems more true because as long as we have a fixed idea of what is loving or caring or etc. we cannot be really serious with this moment.
The Zen way
Like the stories of the Zen masters who sometimes smack their disciples over the head to help them in their progression to attain satori (enlightenment). How should we think of their actions? Are they an act of kindness or anger?
I am not sure that a genuine master seeks to help his disciple to reach enlightenment. A genuine master simply is with the moment. I don’t think that his or hers movements or the sounds he or she makes comes with a particular intention. They rarely know why the act in a certain way.
In Zen they sometimes talk about the gateless gate.
Be cautious. Remember that enlightenment also is an idea, a concept.
I think that we all already are ‘enlightened’ and the only thing that stands in our way is that we need to recognize this fact. To recognize this fact is one of the simplest tasks. All in all it is a matter of time. You see when you see, and there is nothing you can do about it. If we know where to look we all have a decent chance to unconfuse ourselves during our lifetime.
But insights or mystical experiences are not to be confused with enlightenment. They are glimpses of for lack of a better word, reality. And as you probably already noticed, they don’t stick around for so long.
Now enter – the ultimate über coach
Even if you hire a super über coach/mentor and you are dancing the most delicious dance in which you are getting multiple insights into the nature of your being, reality and so on there is really no certainty to ”get it” to rely on. The same thing can be said about the next course, the next training, the next retreat, the next …. you are planning to attend to.
A coach who is in touch with his or hers being can certainly help you. But what he or she ever can do is to help you find the gate. The walking through the gate is completely up to you. If you are ready you will step right in. Funny enough, once we have gone through that ’gate’ we see that there are gates all over the place. In our garden, when cutting a tomato, in a drop of water, in the sound of the wind, or in the sound of silence.
We are all begging for water without realizing that we are already standing in the clearest of waters. You cannot quench your thirst by the act of begging, you simply need to reclaim your bearings and look directly to where you are. Freedom is at your feet.
Open your eyes and see for yourself.
Thank you for reading this article. It is inspired by my own life and what I have observed.
Feel free to leave a comment or share it with others.
About the author: Patrik Rowinski believes in cooperation and he enjoys to support anyone who has a sincere will to change. He works as a Mental Health Consultant and Three Principles Facilitator and supports personal and organisational growth through conversations, lectures and in his writing.
Get in touch or learn more through patrikrowinski.se.