My wife in her sensible way will not stand in the rain as I love to do nor will she wander from the path when we are hiking on trails as I am inclined to. These days many people are wary of going beyond the boundaries of the known and cultivated. Granted there isn’t much in our world today that is uncultivated. As well , in our strong inclination to follow convention we are constantly prompted to adhere to what others have discovered as truth; to those who have made the way safe for us.
I am grateful for the access that I have to Canada and it’s fringe areas and that I can explore nature on those edges. For me there is something to be learned in leaving the confines of the cultivated world and questioning what is known. In doing so the mind begins to question and the question directs the mind and we begin to awaken. What I have been taught and have come to think that I am and that I know and that feels safe and secure becomes grist for the mill. It seems to me that there are two very different ways to live life; one based on attending to an inner experience, which, because of its nature is available to only a few, because they accept the difficulties that come with having it, and the other centered on what is more exoteric and conventional. There is inevitably something sacrificed in our fixation with feeling safe and secure; our lives often being reduced to the pursuit of that perception. Many insightful writers have realized this including Stephen Batchelor who’s book “The Faith to Doubt” encourages a more questioning and investigative pursuit of a knowing that is more experiential.
It is not that I have discovered security in an inner attentiveness, in fact I have become more aware of what it is to live my life with a constant awareness of being vulnerable. I have made many mistakes in finding my way although I don’t regret being inclined so, as it brings with it a sense of being fully alive and being whole and in authentic relationship with the mystery and impermanence that is the truth of life. In learning to live more fully I have become aware of my “self” fixation and how that has involved an insensitivity to others, innocently arising out of ignorance and naivety of what is beyond the “self”. Not being able to step out from this has left me without a greater sense of concern and compassion.
Some may feel that I am unnecessarily dancing with and tempting fate” in living beyond the safety net and the acceptance and pursuit of what is known and secure”, that is of greater risk than benefit; that it is more normal to refrain from making waves and avoid fearful or unknown experiences. I have a sense that stepping out from this more conventional way of understanding allows for exploring life in a more authentic, responsible and revealing way and in so doing it involves an expansion of consciousness, an opening to a deeper investigation of truth and a more creative and connected way of relating to others and to life. It’s not about “rebelling” or pursuing a particular philosophy. It’s more about becoming aware of an intelligence beyond my conditioned sense of self and attending to an energy that serves to free the mind; to allow for going beyond institutional constraints and what is thought to be known and accepted and to realize and embrace the unshakeable difference of living from the heart that is discovered outside of these conventional boundaries. It has become a way of life that continues to brings gifts, in coming to a greater sense of knowing myself and my connection to others and to everything else in this existence.