The Direct Path

‘Walking on a Mountain Path in Spring’ – Ma Yuan, 1190 – WikiArt

We are such complex beings, always confused by endless choices and directions, caught as we are in the repeated convolutions of our thought patterns. Because we see ourselves as an intricate network of thoughts and feelings, we are naturally engaged in finding the solutions for our life conundrum in that same dark cavern of thought. But mistakingly and unfortunately so. For this is a labyrinth from which we can never come out. It has been designed for our loss and suffering. It has been masterly laid down by ignorance, for the sole and only purpose of perpetuating itself. If you want my advice: stay away if you can. But if you are already trapped and caught, well don’t worry: there is a way out. And it might be an easier one than you think.

The problem with thought is that it is constantly crowning itself as the chief master in all deeds and endeavours. It is doing so well in so many fields that its influence overflows beyond its natural area of competence. It is forever engaged in a process of belief and identification. It has persuaded itself that it represents the body, and is by now certain to be a person — a ‘he’ or ‘she’ who commands. It has put the load of finding happiness on itself, and is driving the body out in the world in a constant search for new objects and circumstances, all with the aim to obtain the precious package. And since it has come all the way here, it might as well seek to bring to itself not only happiness but also peace, freedom, love, justice, beauty, and the likes.

This is how we get lost — along that avenue of thought. Along that deceptive, inefficient, never ending seeking. This is madness — this labyrinth we have created for ourself. Thought and its acolytes as feelings, images, body, hope, desire — all that joyous team — out on a mission to find happiness. The danger of such an endeavour is to be found in the thin line down the page on the contract, that stipulates the side effects of such a folly: namely that this mistaken avenue will produce suffering in the forms of all the fears, violence, hatred, confusion, and sorrow that this endeavour brings with itself. And we won’t be able to heal these unfortunate ailments with more of the same as we failingly try to. Suffering can never be overcome using the tools that brought it in the first place. We have to find another way out of this labyrinthine maze and mess.

The good news is that you don’t have to follow every shallow, intricate alleys of this labyrinth, which is understood by now to be only a dark prospect. You are not doomed. Happiness was never meant to be such a dreary, sweaty enterprise. Right there, in the middle of the maze, in your darkest moment of loss and despair, is the secret chamber of peace, and the gate to the freedom you have sought for so long. Right there is the hidden, direct path out of it all. The short cut through the maze. Right here and right now. When you have slowed down and looked for once from the position of the one that has been here, present in all eternity, just below the threshold of your labyrinthine thoughts and feelings, and in fact mingling with them. This is the abode of rest which magically appears when thoughts, feelings, images, body, hope, desire, and world, have been put in their right place. This direct path is not a path. It is ‘it’. It is that very place or thing — which is not a place, not a thing — of your wildest dreams. It is this one silent watcher that precedes what you take to be your self, and presides over your golden destiny as being. The One that is so easily overlooked and missed — so discreet and transparent is it. Thinner than a breath. Space-like. Peaceful. Blissful. Blessed. As simple and direct as your deepest, most intimate sense of being. Just ‘I’. Yes, plainly just ‘I’.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Ma Yuan (1160-1225)

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Websites:
Ma Yuan (Wikipedia)
On a Mountain Path in Spring

Suggestion:
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The Puzzled Self

‘Bridges’ – Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis, 1905 – WikiArt

We succumb to this original mistake again and again. That error has been enforced in the system through thousands of years of repetition, belief, conditioning, habit, and its illusory power has strengthened itself to the point of being a truth. The mistake is: we’re looking for something outside ourself. We’re reaching out. All the time. We’re craving for. We are deemed insufficient. Needy. In consequence, we have broken the world apart, have created chasms and distances, have invented time when it is not needed. We have made life into a battle and a struggle. We have given rise to suffering and confusion. And the worse of it, we have isolated ourself. We have projected everything that is not our body and mind as something that is ‘other’, different in nature, and have made that ‘other’ the only open source available for the rising and falling of happiness in ourself.

Quite a mouthful isn’t it? What an inextricable bundle we have created! And our self? Well, it has been reduced to something marginal, that forever needs to be reassured, consoled, fulfilled, aggrandised. We have created an insatiable monster that destroys everything in its path. Its hunger can never be satisfied. And its thirst is unquenchable. It will want to be forever filled. And that process will make us the target of unbelievable constraints. It will divide our world into fragments, and will scatter them around like a gigantic, incomplete jigsaw puzzle. With ourself being only one of its lost pieces. What a dreadful prospect! Well, we have made it ourself, all alone; and the responsibility for it goes nowhere but in the direction of our very own self. But don’t try to fix, arrange, mend, repair. Don’t go back in the wrong direction. Don’t go again after your lost happiness. Don’t do more of the same. There is no hero needed here. What’s needed is something a bit more subtle. And way easier believe me.

You have to look. Just to look. To look and to see. To look is on your part. To see is not. It’s a given. You have to look at your self, at all the scattered pieces of your self. And you have to remove just one element of the puzzle that acts like a wrongdoer, a confusing piece, the error in the system. Remove your well-rehearsed tendency to look for happiness outside yourself. Just take that possibility away from yourself. That’s the grain of sand that blocks everything, and engages you on a road a thousand-time trodden, to no avail. Feel the wonder of that one last element of escape out of the system. Nowhere to go. Nothing to be. Dare for once to look at that simple truth in the eyes, which is: you won’t find anything of value outside your own being. It all falls back on you now. The whole world. The thousand scattered pieces of yourself. The suffering. The confusion. The whole paraphernalia. Everything. On yourself. Then…

Then you will see that you are alone. All alone. Not isolated but alone. You will see what you truthfully are. You will see that you are made of one single piece that only works for and as your self. That piece is the missing element of your puzzle. The one that was unseen, forgotten, and which had been replaced with a clumsy, invented, unfitting one that placed your life into this unresolvable puzzle of suffering and loss. That piece is the unifying factor, the one that will make chasms into a bridge of Life, and your broken world into a fitting piece of Oneness. For that piece has a magical touch that will make every pieces of yourself fall back into place. For there were never any scattered fragments in your Self. There was only Being, the one and only owner of that which you are, and of all that which can possibly be. And that feeling of being, with its supreme knowing, is enough to give you the peace and happiness that you looked for in a thousand directions or scattered pieces. Being is your aloneness. And in that aloneness is the golden spring from where happiness is seen as your only possibility. That’s it. This is the given. What you needed to see… Puzzle completed!

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1875-1911)

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Website:
Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (Wikipedia)

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Imagine a Life

Krishnamurti said it in very clear, unmistakable terms nearly a century ago. So did the ancient sages of India, the early Sufis, the original Zen masters of China, and the great Meister Eckhart, all in their own way. So there is no room for confusion anymore. Cease being entangled in your own, unfounded beliefs. Stop breeding and comforting them by thinking them out, perceiving them away, and feeling them in, therefore giving them a reality of their own. Be reasonable for once. All this ceaseless activity must come to an end. Remember what Krishnamurti said in such irrevocable terms.

Stop giving the world a reality of its own by pushing it at a distance from yourself. It will make you retreat in your body, where you will feel small, unsafe, required to manage a universe, and make impossible choices. Stop thinking to be your body only, squeezing your self in such pitiful way, bullying it, hurting it to the point where it is made unhappy and careless, fearful and resentful, its original innocence and beauty transformed into some hideous thing. All this could be avoided in one single glance and action, if only we had truly listened …

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The State of Things

‘Self-portrait’ (detail) – Rembrandt, 1658 (Frick Collection) – WikiArt

It is crucial in life to have a clear view of the state of things. Not to be left behind with an erroneous understanding or interpretation. For there are wolves out there, that want you to go astray. They will lure you to adopt their own inherited beliefs. They will push you in the direction of your fall. So be watchful of everything you don’t fully understand.

They will want you to believe that you are surrounded by people or others. That these ‘others’ are objects of fear, pain or pleasure, that you will be drawn to either avoid or use for your own happiness. Nothing could be more remote from the truth. At no time or place will you be asked to meet anybody but yourself. Your own glorious self who happens to be also the self of all apparent others. People are but the varied and beautiful expressions of the one being that stands as your being too. In consequence, they will become colleagues, partners, sharers of that same one being, and therefore beloveds. You will see them as blooming flowers that belong to the same aware field of consciousness. This field is the only self there is, present in everyone and every being as your very own being too. This, truly is the state of things.

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A meditative reflexion on the state of things in our experience… (READ MORE…)

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The Hypochondria of Being

‘The Imaginary Invalid’ – Honoré Daumier, 1860-62  – Wikimedia

There may have been a time in your life when you had a glimpse or experience that you had considered to be a major event or happening, some breaking news coming from god’s mouth. And yet you were left after it with only scattered shreds of truth. You had failed to inhabit your experience and make it yours. You had stayed on its threshold and didn’t dare to visit its interior and be blessed by it. You remained where and who you always were, with the bitter taste of a failed enlightenment as a topping. So you have entertained the memory of it. You have placed this experience on a pedestal. Worshipped it as something to be attained or achieved.

So you have searched for it. You have enquired, read, experienced, shared. Slowly, almost inadvertently, you have gathered some understanding. You have sailed on the sea of existence, harvesting here a tiny piece of truth, there a hazy recognition, maybe even a glimpse of a wee realisation, which you have again locked behind closed doors. And you have sailed further. It made you push or widen your understanding even more. Silently. Surreptitiously. Until one day home is coming closer to you. You find yourself inhabiting this truth. It is making itself known as being only who you are, or that which you are. It suddenly takes you by surprise and clarity. This is what it is!

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An Invitation from Silence

‘The Philosopher. Silence’ – Nicholas Roerich, 1940 – WikiArt

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Of the unknowable only silence talks.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Silence is always called upon us. Once we have stopped engaging with our endless thoughts, once we have released the rage of our permanent search towards happiness, once the dance of our daily relentless activities has died down, then silence is here always present. Silence is here to re-collect us into itself. It is a never failing embrace, always available, always ready to mother us, always pregnant in and behind every one of our failures or pains, of our battles with ourself and with the world.

In a way, silence could be said to be the mother of a symphony of sounds. Silence is a sound enhancer, and by extension, a revealer of objectivity. But notice that we stop hearing anything when the space of silence is filled with an overcrowding of sounds. Any sound is then only participating in the general cacophony. This is the same with awareness. If our mind — this presence that we are — is filled to the brim with objective experiences, so as to seem to become itself a big object, it then becomes impossible for this mind to find any space within itself to experience objects as objects, and to notice that in which these are appearing. The space of awareness goes unnoticed with the pregnancy of objects, just as silence goes unnoticed with the cover of sounds.

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Evangelium

‘St Matthew and the Angel’ (detail) – Guido Reni, 1635 – Wikimedia

So many of my thoughts, feelings, and even sensations are here solely because they are sustained by, or dependent on, or conditioned by the representation I have of myself. In more bluntly put words, my belief in being a discrete, separate entity creates the bigger part of them. This is because I think that I am solely this me-person that I indulge in these endless thoughts about myself. This is because I think that I am only this separately existing entity that I am caught in the grip of these disturbing feelings around myself. This is because I think that I am undoubtedly this body that my world acquires a dull and solid reflection where I-myself live and am caught in.

But this apparent suffering reality of our life is only as disturbing, dull, or solid as is the reality of our separate self. This is where our life finds its solace: in the defeating of this illusion; in this looking within to discover the reality of our self, and the truth of our being. This is where the promise of spirituality comes in with its many gifts of release. This is where the ‘good news’ of religion finds its full meaning and effectiveness. And it says something like:

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