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The quiet neighbor's cat

The Path is Everywhere

I read part of The Path is Every­where, Uncov­er­ing the Jew­els Hid­den With­in You. It is worth tran­scrib­ing the cov­er text here.

Draw­ing on my per­son­al jour­ney as well as my work with oth­ers as a ther­a­pist and guide, I wrote The Path Is Every­where with the inten­tion that it serve as a provoca­tive, alive, and com­pas­sion­ate invi­ta­tion to re-enchant our ideas about heal­ing and spir­i­tu­al awak­en­ing in the mod­ern world. Weav­ing togeth­er the wis­dom streams of con­tem­pla­tive spir­i­tu­al­i­ty, rela­tion­al and somat­ic psy­chother­a­py, and the poet­ic imag­i­na­tion, The Path Is Every­where reminds us that the depth and mag­ic of the sacred world is always already here, buried in our emo­tions, bod­ies, rela­tion­ships, and in the nat­ur­al world itself. Many have grown weary from a long search, exhaust­ed from an end­less quest to improve, hold it all togeth­er, heal all their wounds, and com­plete some myth­i­cal spir­i­tu­al jour­ney. But you are not a project to be solved. You are a mys­tery com­ing into form, and you have the raw mate­ri­als that you need, right now, to live a life of pro­found depth, pur­pose, and mean­ing. We hear much about spir­i­tu­al awak­en­ing and the deep joy, clar­i­ty, and peace that are its promised fruits. Often ignored, how­ev­er, are the dis­ap­point­ments of awak­en­ing and the ways it can shat­ter our hearts, break­ing us open to the real­i­ty of the cru­ci­fix­ion, res­ur­rec­tion, and trans­fig­u­ra­tion we are like­ly to encounter along the way. In the rush to con­vert the neg­a­tive to the pos­i­tive, man­i­fest every­thing we believe we want, and man­age our lives into some per­ma­nent state of “hap­pi­ness,” we lose con­tact with the real­i­ty that there is no trans­fig­u­ra­tion with­out embod­i­ment to the dark cross with­in. The jour­ney of becom­ing a true human per­son is messy by nature, as it emerges direct­ly out of the unknown and requires com­pas­sion­ate con­fronta­tion with the entire­ty of what we are. As we jour­ney togeth­er as fel­low trav­el­ers, let us com­mit to embrac­ing both the joy and the heart­break of the path, and bear wit­ness to the wis­dom shin­ing out of our imme­di­ate expe­ri­ence, whether it appears as sad­ness, bliss, despair, or great joy. Grace will appear in both sweet and fierce forms but it is still grace, sent from beyond to open us to the radi­ant full­ness of being.

I liked, in the begin­ning, this pro­pos­al to bring every­thing back to the first real­i­ty of life. Too often, we read that we must destroy old habits, that we must find the lost child, that he must think of hap­pi­ness if we want to reach him. We are also told that depres­sion is a bad thing and a sign that our nature is being robbed.

The author express­es with a beau­ti­ful style that it is not nec­es­sary to think in neg­a­tive terms. Depres­sion, evil in itself, sad­ness, suf­fer­ing are an inte­gral part of life. We must there­fore not flee from these states, unless they are patho­log­i­cal — this is anoth­er real­i­ty — but rather observe them, feel them, espe­cial­ly lis­ten to them in order to under­stand and reach their source.

Stay close to your sad­ness and sur­round it with curios­i­ty, pres­ence, and warmth. With the fire of aware­ness and with the ally of your breath, descend under­neath the sto­ry of the sad­ness and into the cru­cible of the body where the sad­ness essence dwells and makes its lumi­nous home. Go on a jour­ney into the core of the feel­ings, sen­sa­tions, and images and into the raw, shaky life that is long­ing to be held.
 — Lica­ta, Matt. The Path Is Every­where : Uncov­er­ing the Jew­els Hid­den With­in You (pp. 40 – 41). Kin­dle Edition.

This is an out­right exis­ten­tial pur­pose. Human nature is. That’s the end of it. Through this lov­ing accep­tance of one­self, one man­ages to put real­i­ty into per­spec­tive, to par­tic­i­pate in life with­out mak­ing promis­es or dis­tress. To para­phrase Camus, stay on the tightrope between two certainties.

As long as we fol­low a spir­i­tu­al approach promis­ing sal­va­tion, mir­a­cles, lib­er­a­tion, then we are bound by the “gold­en chain of spir­i­tu­al­i­ty.” Such a chain might be beau­ti­ful to wear, with its inlaid jew­els and intri­cate carv­ings, but nev­er­the­less, it impris­ons us. Peo­ple think they can wear the gold­en chain for dec­o­ra­tion with­out being impris­oned by it, but they are deceiv­ing them­selves. As long as one’s approach to spir­i­tu­al­i­ty is based upon enrich­ing ego, then it is spir­i­tu­al mate­ri­al­ism, a sui­ci­dal process rather than a cre­ative one.
 — Lica­ta, Matt. The Path Is Every­where : Uncov­er­ing the Jew­els Hid­den With­in You (pp. 71 – 72). Kin­dle Edition.

For those who have read these “prom­e­nades,” they will under­stand that it also reflects the few achieve­ments I have made, either through philo­soph­i­cal read­ings, med­i­ta­tion or by mere­ly observ­ing what sur­rounds me.

I still stopped read­ing Licata’s book after the first third. In his beau­ti­ful lan­guage, both sci­en­tif­ic and poet­ic, he leads read­ers to try a tan­gi­ble spir­i­tu­al­i­ty, and I ful­ly agree. How­ev­er, I would tend not to use the word spir­i­tu­al­i­ty. I don’t know why. The author talks too much about the mys­tery and the sacred. In short, even if he wants to be real­is­tic, he directs his gaze towards his igno­rance by attribut­ing spir­i­tu­al qual­i­ties to it. His speech then becomes a lit­tle cir­cu­lar. If only he would try to describe this sacred, but of course, that is impos­si­ble. The Gods do not have to be named, I agree. They do not then have to be reflect­ed since no light can come back to us.

So, what can we do ? Live like a cat ? Sleep four­teen hours a day and hunt insects or eat your kib­bles from time to time ? There is no point in push­ing to extremes. The achieve­ments of med­i­ta­tion, of sole­ly observ­ing what sur­rounds us and what moves with­in us, are a nov­el that we must read and reread. This read­ing of the soul is, in itself, a source of peace and wis­dom. Even the worst bul­ly can’t say no to mys­te­ri­ous lis­ten­ing to what’s going on inside him or her. There is always a promise of redemp­tion with­in us, which is present, and Lica­ta is prob­a­bly right to insist on this point. And want­i­ng to take hap­pi­ness at all costs forces us to silence our anx­i­eties, to imprison them in a dun­geon, a silence that lat­er trans­forms into a Shade, a neu­ro­sis. For all these con­cepts, it is worth read­ing this book. Per­haps I will con­tin­ue read­ing it a lit­tle lat­er. For the moment, I am hunt­ing my own arche­types, which are prob­a­bly also yours. I lis­ten to what the uni­verse seems to want to tell me, even if I refrain from giv­ing it any intentions.

Per­haps, in the end, it will only serve me to say noth­ing more. This will not pre­vent either mys­tery or igno­rance from con­tin­u­ing its jour­ney. But since Nature has giv­en us a beau­ti­ful bou­quet of ques­tions as a gift, let us hum it to the point of intoxication.

Comments

  • Denis Giguere

    Denis Giguere 2019/08/20 13:51 0

    Merci beaucoup j'ai bien aime ton texe il m'a bien inspirer

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