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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Other ‘Reveries’ from the blog…

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The Great Replacement

You can always add to experience. You can always have more thoughts. Or different ones. More refined ones. Changes can always occur and always will. You can always fall down to the lowest of the lowest, and judge yourself undeserving. And that is more thoughts about yourself. You can always imagine anything. This is endless, all this activity. It will never stop. It will never reveal any truth worth of the name. It will keep going, headlessly, aimlessly, meaninglessly, like an illusion feeding on itself in order to give itself a seeming reality. Go anywhere in your objective experience, be it your feelings, your sensations, your perceptions, your body, the world out there, none of these will bring an inch of the happiness you are desperately running after. This enterprise is doomed to bankruptcy. It will leave you broke, feeble, mortal, prone to regular fits of unhappiness. It will leave you with not a penny of certainty, not a pebble of solidity, and a very little share of that life-giving energy which you are naturally entitled to. So what are we going to do now? We cannot stop thinking, feeling, perceiving, doing. We need a new comer in the picture. A special adviser. A rock of solidity in our changing sea of uncertainty. Who is going to win the game? When we have turned round and around the table for a new name, a new shareholder, another hope, another fake answer, another bout of shaking certainty, then maybe, it might dawn on us that:

The prodigal son is already at home. Everything we need is present within and without, here and there, now and then, enveloping our vey experience with its all pervading knowing. This something cannot be named, cannot be emptied of itself, and will not make the slightest effort for you. It was here all along, ignored, unnoticed, yet having the dimension of a sky, the solidity of a rock, and the certainty of something that was here before the coming of universes beyond universes. It is like discovering in yourself the wisest of gurus present at hand, in all circumstances. It is your eternal refuge waiting for you to come in. But beware now, for that unfailing refuge, that wisest of gurus, that beloved amongst the beloveds, is you. It is you, you understand? Not something to be reached. Not something far and away. You have nowhere to go, nothing to be, no time to wait for, except being your own unfailing, wise, beloved self. You are it all. Here. Now. Whatever. Whenever. Wherever. Release that old, worn out Chief Operating Officer of yours, and replace it with being. Look around now and relax. Being is all there is.

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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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Taking Sides

Don’t you want to be just made of that? To wholly embrace this experience? Not to stay in a little corner, to be always wanting, claiming, hoping, complaining, but to find yourself being the bearer of all things, merging with the ten thousand colours of experience — not being just one side of it? To be whole is never a matter of choice, but parting is. Awareness is always choiceless. If you exert a choice, in the form of a chooser, then chances are that you don’t know the true nature of living. You’re not aware, no — not yet aware. You’re still sleeping in a dark cave. You haven’t contemplated all that life is. You haven’t truly been amongst the trees, and been taken by the harmonious course of a bird. You haven’t been a lover of the grass, and a true partner of that heap of dried, dead leaves in the autumn air. You haven’t quite yet mingled with the clouds, and merged your being with the being of the sky. No, not quite yet. For now, you’re just being a chooser.

Don’t cheat on your true self and being, by partnering with a thought, a feeling, or some particular object. Don’t be abused by the noises and colours of experience, to the detriment of the silent presence that hosts them. There is something profoundly sad about taking sides — identifying with opinions, beliefs, preferences, judgments. For really, to take sides is to be a self. It is to play in the limited courtyard of your thoughts and feelings, and not be touched by the immensity of not knowing, of having no preferences, of not being a chooser. To take sides means: you haven’t let reality be as it is. You have intervened, and in doing so, have limited your self, have made it into a poor little thing.

For taking sides will send you on the dangerous road to fear, loneliness, and confusion. It will make you retire in the fake refuge of your separate self. Remember this: every time you take sides, every time you exert a control, you are not being ‘you’ — I mean your true ‘I’. You have been dragged and caught by the cunningness of a thought. You have been robbed of your essential self. You have made yourself into a point of view with a limited scope and understanding. You have been squeezed in a little corner of your invention. I am begging it to you now: Stop being anything. Don’t think yourself to be a body, and therefore be an insider. Don’t push away experience, and therefore be an outsider. Don’t be sidetracked with a sideshow. No. Make your true self the real show of experience. You won’t regret it. You will be standing on the stage of life under a shower of light and applauds. For then, you have vanquished all that separating gig. You have given your life the colour of life itself. You have treated your being with the being of all selves and things. And you have exchanged your never ending complaints with a life lived in utter thankfulness. Just by not taking sides.

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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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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 Burning Bush

‘The Icon of Theotokos the Unburnt Bush’ (detail) – 19th AD, Museum of Radomysl Castle, Ukraine – Wikimedia

Don’t be shy. Come out of the bush. That bush which is of your own making. The hazy bush of your thoughts, feelings, and the ten thousand things perceived. All that you have invented to keep your self going, to give it a form and a lustrous appearance. This is a bush of endless confusion and deceit. Don’t get entangled in its thorny maze, to be kept here safe but miserable. Don’t be lured into the bush of your apparent self, with its intricate problems, and its endless, unresolvable knots. Don’t make that bush your prison, be it a golden one. Don’t let it dictate your life, to forever seek in the world all that can soothe and heal for a time. And don’t expect that you will find in other similar bushes the remedy to your entanglement. You can gather as many bushes you like, they will never make a marriage worth of the name. Any other thought-induced bush will be revealed as being lost in the same, inherent, desperate obscurity which your self is lost in.

Don’t be deceived once more. Don’t be shy. Come out of the bush. Put it on fire. Burn it to the ground. You’d be surprised of what is left behind. How do you burn a bush? Expose it to the sun of your being. How do you expose the false, but by seeing the truth? How do you fight the fear of death, but by realising your immortality? How do you disengage yourself from your endless suffering, but by recognising your true nature as peace and happiness? You have a sun at hand that is more than happy to help you in that enterprise. Expose the mirror of your separation to that sun and its burning rays will strip this idea naked of any true reality. Show yourself. Come out of the bush. Let that pure being do its job on you. Let it burn that bush of yours down to its roots.

And don’t expect a desolate land after that. There will be no carpet of black, sullen, malodorous ashes. Be audacious, for you will only burn the false that is in you. All that doesn’t truly stand on its own. All that which is not. All that you have made up. These sure will go to never return. These are the unburnt bush of your apparent self. For how do you burn something that isn’t there? How do you extricate something that wasn’t truly entangled in the first place? How do you spot the unseen? How do you kill the invisible? As for the burnt ground, you will only meet what truly is. As for the desolation, you will only be welcomed with opulent love and beauty. As for the loss and suffering, you will only be exposed to the profound peace of your essential being. You will be blessed to notice a self that was here all along but that you had been made blind to. This is where this fire is not a fire of destruction but one of creation. This is where this fire is a never ending fire where no bush, no seeds of folly can ever thrive.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Museum of Ukrainian Home Icons

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Websites:
Museum of Ukrainian Home Icons
Radomysl Castle (Wikipedia)

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Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

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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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