People talk about being on their path, about being on a journey through life, about different paths. In nonduality we might speak of the “progressive path”, the “direct path” or the “pathless path”. It’s useful language, because from the perspective of the human, that’s what it looks like.
The downside of this language is that it can seduce us into believing there is an ultimate goal that is distant from us, and we can measure how our progress towards it. Here’s an allegory, that takes us from the model of the goal to a new understanding of “path”:
First imagine we’re all on a path. If, like me, you don’t “see”, that’s fine. Just imagine it, and experience it how you will. We’re all together. We can chat, cry, laugh, hug, hold out a hand, inspire and have a rant. No one is ahead, and no one is left behind.
There’s a light ahead, and that’s where we’re going. The light is the exact same distance from everyone – for a very good reason: we are the light, it is never any distance from us. But, for reasons of human experience, we might experience/describe it as though we are heading towards it.
Here’s the thing: The path is going to be experienced differently by all of us, and not in one consistent way. Because we are the light of Awareness, experiencing ourself as though journeying to ourself.
I might mostly experience strolling in a gorgeous woodland with friends, in dappled sunlight, but think of Voldemort and it’s like I’m walking alone in the gutter of a busy road, in the dark, in driving rain. Then I compare myself to where other people seem to be, and suddenly I’m caught in a gorse thicket as they all disappear round the corner. None of that is true.
Some of us might feel we’re looking the wrong way, lost, fallen over. We might feel everyone else is looking the wrong way, or on the wrong path, and that we are racing ahead. It might seem that we have to forge our own path in hostile land. We may meet trolls ans sirens along the way. None of that is true.
Because the journey is to the realisation of the light. And because we are the light, that realisation is never denied us.
If our path is an uphill battle through sand dunes (like my regular nightmare), that is the path we chose for ourselves, at a higher level. We didn’t chose it to suffer, we chose it to transcend it. And we chose to do it together.
What is transcending? Simply finding our own way through and beyond trauma and conditioning, one baby step at a time. The rest happens with divine timing.
That is why we are all on the path together, in exactly the same place, at exactly the same time. It’s the place between the places and the time between the times. Here and now.
- Knowing this, we can commit to the apparent path. When someone asks you what you’d do if you were bound to succeed, the true answer isn’t bungee jumping, sailing the Atlantic solo, starting a business, or running a political campaign. It’s BEING YOU.
This is your path, to live the most you you can be. As Dr. Seus says, “The is no one alive who is you-er than you.”
This is an embracing of Self at every level. You, Awareness. You, higher self. You this character you embody for a time. They are all You. Don’t discount the human, this experience is Awareness knowing Self as pure Awareness. Don’t discount the higher self, which lives the lifetime of the universe. And don’t believe for a moment that this universe is any more than the heartbeat of Awareness.
To paraphrase Alan Watts, when the play is over and the actors step forward, the audience applauds the hero and the villain equally.
How do you know if you are “being you”, and not trying to be some confused ideal created by thought? How do you know you’ve not been bullied or seduced into believing in what you are doing? This is why we begin, always and only, with Awareness (and if you don’t follow these points in self-inquiry, logic and experience – but you want to, then message me):
There is, ultimately, only Awareness.
The nature of Awareness is being aware of being aware.
The knowing of Awareness is without division, strife, boundary or lack.
You are Awareness.
The realisation of Self as Awareness is Grace: some combination of peace, joy, love, compassion, freedom, wisdom and abundance.
Your knowing of yourself is therefore Grace.
If, in this moment, you don’t know Grace, then, in this moment, you don’t know Awareness, you aren’t being fully You.
Whenever that happens, whether it’s a momentary struggle or ongoing suffering, the calling is to resolve the dissonance. There are many ways, but all bring you home to Self, to an embodied sense of Self-in-the-world, and to a living with Grace.
This is your calling, your path, and your gift. Right here, right now.