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 what is known. Contemplation of what I have been taught and have come to think that I know and what is safe and secure has been an important undertaking. 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 come to know myself and to become aware of my “self” fixation and how in that “fixation” has involved an insensitivity to others innocent, arising out of ignorance and naivety and without compassion.
Some may feel that there is a dancing with and tempting of fate in living this way, beyond the safety net and the known and the secure, that is of greater risk than benefit; that we should refrain from making waves and avoid these kind of fearful experiences. I have a sense that stepping out from this more conventional way allows for exploring in a more authentic, responsible and understanding way. For me it has contributed to an expansion of consciousness, an openness to a deeper investigation of truth and a more creative way of relating to life. It has become a way of life that continues to bring rewards, not in a material sense but in helping me in coming to a greater sense of knowing myself and my connection in the bigger world of things.
“We create our own barriers to understanding and we reinforce our limitations to life”. This is a main theme of the book. In awareness we realize how something essential and most authentic of what we are is compromised. We can come to find this through the conditioning and social pressure to be something else and in that rediscovery there is again an evolving aspect of existence renewed.
I encourage exploration by means of a contemplative process, distinguished from our conditioned thinking. Contemplation involves, for me, investigating the truth of everything that we have in the past blindly accepted and possibly as well all that we blindly act upon. This isn’t the same quality of thinking that most people generally and conventionally are engaged in, daily and blindly.
It’s ironic that many of those people share a perception that this act of contemplative thought is obsessive thinking. It seems that there is avoidance involved in that conventional way; an apprehension of entering any depth of awareness that involves leaving everyday pursuits. There is rationalization involved that the work required to look at life honestly is too much; as being too cerebral. But ultimately I feel that it is an essential part of awakening consciously to what is authentic of me, that has not been realized in the “self”.
Quite often I encounter individuals who consider my thinking and insights to be of a quality of cerebral over-indulgence. In this assumption they seem not able to distinguish the difference between contemplative thought and conventional conditioned thinking. They see limited advantage in questioning convention and tradition and choose not to challenge or question there situation. It’s an easy choice these days as we are provided with an endless range of high-gloss entertainment to satiate us. The world we inhabit exists for many of us like a theatrical puppet play.
If we chose not to investigate our vision of what we have come to know of ourselves and life to be we remain guided as we have been for so long, by what we perceive to be stable bodies that have in fact fostered confusion and blocked realization of the infinite possibility and creative potential of existence beyond that conditioned thinking. Our acceptance and acquiescence contributes to layers of delusion that prevent us from entering the rabbit hole where nothing is as it has been defined or as fixed, permanent or as normal as we have until now perceived it to be. Get Outlook for iOS
We humans seem to be conditioned in our upbringing to experience life from a place of boundaries and fixed concepts and to find definition and meaning in that way, however, in so doing we might be fostering a dulling of a more expansive experience of existence. We seem to need those boundaries in our development unfortunately at the cost of openness.
It’s no easy task to open, beyond that place of conditioned experience. In our search for openness we ironically often find ourselves in groups and with others that promise spiritual awakening through attachment to more of the same boundaries and fixed concepts.
It is my sense that in the perpetuation of this dilemma, human experience has in general become closed off from something more authentic of being. If we are to reconnect it is important to realize the limitations of human thinking, language, rigid conceptual conditioning and culturally imposed boundaries and how they have become impediments to a more direct and sensuous experience of life. It can be so very liberating to step beyond our conditioning and as well the limitation of religious dogma and attachment to cannon and expounding of creed to explore more directly our humanity in this existence.
Aversion, fear and/or a sense of vulnerability are encountered when we venture out beyond our conditioning. It has been a life long learning experience for me to to come to be with and enter into this unknown and undefined place of being. I am grateful for the insight that has brought me to a place of being enabled to be with myself and life in a more authentic and direct way.
What matters for me in my references to spirituality is “direct experience” rather than what is “believed in”. It,s not a matter of expounding a theory or citing an item of a creed nor about an object being experienced by a subject, but a more general state of activity of consciousness. It is about opening to existence as it is, going beyond our concepts and boundaries to a place of direct experience.
I am more interested in enhancing a state of genuine inquiry, regarding life. Inquiry seems to be both a way to enhance that state of direct experience and a product of it. Questions about life are contemplated and answered by plunging both questioner and answerer into an immediate experiential reality.
In terms of religious revelation or life experience I am more interested in what people have realized and how they have come to that, as opposed to having an interest in doctrine and theory. A quality of intimate sharing and expression of this experience is deeply valued. What arises from this state of consciousness can contribute to deeper realization and connectivity for me. There is something of the unfolding of authentic being and interconnection that is ongoing and evolving that I am drawn to.
I have seen enough to realize where my judgement and aversion are coming from. In my fear of non being I grasp onto a limited perception. How. I desire to be more open to the cosmos and not so trapped in self. – Gord
Kathleen Raines wrote, of the poet Edwin Muir! That he had discovered that mysterious light of life of which the visible world is woven; the ultimate alchemical mystery whose realisation brings to those who achieve it a supreme joy, and the all but lost sense of ‘the holy’.
Commenting on the “philosopher” Edwin Muir wrote that he is a man who thinks in and out of season. He wrote in the same essay; and he knew with a sureness given to few poets how to entrust himself to the wisdom that has nothing to do with dialectic but everything to do with life. In one of his last poems, he wrote of the poet’s task.
What I shall never know I must make known.
Where traveller never went Is my domain.
Dear disembodiment Through which is shown The shapes that come and go