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:
– Other ‘Reveries’ from the blog…

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At the Crossroads

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
~ Robert Frost

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There are two parallel lives in our life. There are two different roads on offer in front of us. One has a signpost that indicates the destination of death and suffering, of constant uncertainty and tiresome conflicts, with a success that is one hundred percent reliable. You will reach your destination no matter what. The other one is another story altogether. No destination is indicated there. For it all depends on the first step you take. After that it is not well indicated. It is a road with no destination away from your self. A destination that is at no distance from your self. A destination not reachable through time. A predestined destination. You will just have to look behind, above your shoulder, to notice that the distance has already been covered, that you are already at the placeless place of your eternal self as being, and already made of the happiness you are looking for. And all this is right at the beginning, contained in the very first step you take. A timeless step into timeless being.

Take that less traveled road, and your life will have a wholly different perspective. It will become directionless, and yet open to a thousand possibilities. Whether these possibilities are incarnated or not will be of no importance at all. Because you have already reached all that you ever wanted to reach. You have already arrived at your destination. Replete. Complete. In no need of reassurance, or results, or of anything that would prove of your so dearly sought after happiness. This is very different than wanting to incarnate a possibility with the belief that it conceals in itself the recipe for your happiness. And when it is found dry and empty of such promise, pursuing another possibility, never incriminating the process itself but only the object that didn’t meet the required expectation. It is like trying a thousand medecines for a cure, and when proved unsuccessful, only questioning their efficacy and never the diagnosis of the illness.

So the road to suffering is paved with a thousand directions, while the road to happiness shows itself to have no direction at all, for the simple reason that its efficacy is not in self-improvement through the acquisition or pursuit of objects, but in the quiet and peaceful realisation of your being’s directionless and objectless nature, and its hundred percent reliability in matters of happiness, which is all life is about. The thousand possibilities are then only left to express that already achieved happiness, not bearing on themselves the expectation of, and responsibility for happiness. The reason why the road towards suffering is so unfailingly chosen is that as long as you grant objects the power to give you happiness, the direction on the signpost will indicate ‘Happiness’. How could you ever choose an unknown direction over a clearly defined one towards the dearest purpose of your life? Bear in mind that the right indication on the signpost is for you to see, understand, and write. Then the directionless place of your own being will be choicessly chosen and implemented. What you already are is never a matter of choice. What you are not and never could be is only a matter of choice. The less travelled road then becomes the only possible road, and the direction to which it points is the direction of your self, where happiness resides.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

Quote by Robert Frost (1874-1963)

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Website:
Robert Frost (Wikipedia)

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Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

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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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A meditation invoking a famous statement by J. Krishnamurti… (READ MORE…)

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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 Castle

Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard – France

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There is a monument in your being
. Something unmovable, unbreakable. Something from which you can never part. Something you can never divorce from. Try to move away from yourself, to separate yourself from your experience, dis-extricate yourself from the massive presence of your being, and see that you cannot do it. Feel this impossibility. Let it itself move you. Let it itself disengage you. Feel how this disengagement is death itself, the removal of all that you have believed was you, and is now discovered not to be. That will shatter you, break you in a thousand pieces, to never be gathered again, never be put together ever. You will be dislodged from yourself. This is irrevocable death. And that death is the only existing portal for life.

Yet what dies is just a thought. A castle of beliefs that you have built in the air of your being. This castle was never really there, although you have inhabited it, occupied its chambers, busied yourself with its imperious injunctions. There is a way out of this donjon. You have to go to the presence of your being. This sense of being is the indestructible ground on which you have built this fatuous mansion of yourself. Some call it the ground of being. Some call it the ‘I Am’. A base you can never part from. The portal you can never deviate from. One that will never let you down, or betray you, if only you could notice its unmistakable presence. That base is itself this castle of happiness that you have hungered for all your life. One that needs not being built, that needs not being added to. So everything that you have strenuously built for yourself will find its primal redundancy, will be reabsorbed in your only true mansion. A castle with only one chamber — home of being — provider of happiness.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

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The Incidental Life

I would like to live the incidental life. Not the one that is a toil. Not the one that finds its significance in happenings and accidents, in various changes or transformations, in happy or sad expressions. I don’t want to be dependent on the forms of life for my happiness. I don’t want to be bound to its many injunctions, be they ones that are imposed or desired. For this is how life acquires its tragic quality. This is how life becomes something that we have to endure or bear with. Something that we have to go through with clenched teeth — which is with hope and belief. Something that we can be happy with, or grateful for, only if we take the right decisions, make the right efforts, and have some good luck too. I don’t want my life to be so brittle and uncertain. To be so imprisoned in endless causes and conditionings. And to have fear as its background music. No. I don’t want to be so grandiose. I want the incidental life.

To have an incidental life is to forever place our gaze on the horizon of being. This gaze implies surrendering to what is, or not minding what happens, as Krishnamurti once affirmed. This gaze will make you see life as being drenched in beauty and love. And this gaze will render you to your eternal, inborn, given nature of peace, happiness, and freedom. This is when experience clothes itself in a sumptuous dress of truth or understanding. One that will allow you, in familiar terms, to leave your life alone. For it can verily and simply take care of itself. Life doesn’t need your painstaking involvement. It doesn’t fancy your pity or concern or greed. Doesn’t want to be taken advantage of. Let your life be in its right place, which is the place of humility. This is where it will find its true colours and expressions. This is when it will rid itself of all the suffering that encumbered it. This is how it will find its own sacred purpose. Don’t give your life an undue position. Don’t take what is secondary to be foremost. And what is foremost to be secondary. See only being as foremost. This is the sun of life: this being. Its essence and direction. The rest? Well, let it be incidental.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

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