Pathless Path

I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect.
- Krishanmurti

The modern mind likes to think algorithmically and constantly looks for the best steps to take to achieve a desired result.

While necessary and advisable for building bridges, tunnels, and roads, it is a temptation that needs to be put aside as regards your psychological, emotional, and spiritual development.

But browse most books and authors that claim to service such intentions and you are bound to find an unrelenting amount of "how to" and "numerical step" titles, such as, "How to Achieve Your Best Self in 7 All Too Easy Steps."

Tempting, isn't it? Remember: What's tempting is seductive and what's seductive, usually, leads you astray.

That is why you will not find a teacher who is worth their salt ever attempt to break down the process of self-realisation into marketable and easily digestible concepts—and beware of those that do, good intentions notwithstanding.

You might look to humanity's ancient, sacred texts, which you could say were among our first "self-help" books. For the most part, the truth was not shared explicitly but was embedded within story, parable, and allegory. You had to meditate on the passages and glean meaning for yourself.

Your mind can't think its way into a better version of yourself. Additional practices are not required. Additional information is not required.

The most essential ingredient is heartfelt longing. Longing to know the truth. Longing to be free. Longing to nobly serve the world. That longing starts the process of an answer eventually arriving. It puts you on the path.

But, walk a little in this spirit, and you soon find there is no path in the form of something known, measurable, and replicable. Or, rather, there is a path but it is pathless. What unfolds, like a root system for a new tree, is totally organic and unique to you. It is your master key, not the master key for all.

That is why the wise do not explicitly state truth. You are already living in it and wisdom can't be forced upon you. The wise share. They tell stories for the sake of telling stories because something informs them to do so. Not to impress. Not to sell. Not with any external agenda.

At some point along the pathless path, you might have a question. You might pick up a book, listen to a lecture, or sit for satsangh somewhere and you will hear an answer. The answers that most resonate and transform, are those that are shared from this outcome-detached place because they reach the deepest levels of your heart (vs. your brain).

You might even forget the information that was shared but that is no matter. Like an acupuncture needle, the answer has unlocked something and revealed the next bit of path to walk down.

Patience is very important. Patience means not forcing open a locked door you think you need to pass through.

Patience is connected to trust. You trust you will be provided for. You trust the next answer will come. You trust you will get where you want to go, eventually, and with enough merit.

Where patience and trust combine, surrender surely follows.

Surrender means being okay one way or the other, which is, in itself, a kind of freedom.

You are already free, were it not for the thinking that says it's not so.

Alone is Truth

Modern forms of marriage are, in essence and overwhelmingly, a coping strategy to mitigate the uncomfortable feelings of being alone.

They are deal making. You keep me from feeling my alone feelings and I'll do the same for you. It is why the majority of such arrangements are wrought with suffering, conflict, and unstable times of peace. As much as we'd like to and as much sense as it might make, you cannot outsource this work to another human being and expect to have a good result, let alone the result you were looking for: to not feel alone.

The irreducible truth is this. You are alone and will always be alone. You entered this world by yourself and you will exit it by yourself. Though others might be around and have a particular or vested interest in you, they are having their own alone experience and you are having yours.

Nobody else is having the experience you are having and that is, in a way, lonely.

The Buddha is quoted as saying, "Life is suffering." What he meant was that life, inherently, has certain discomforts built into it—loneliness being chief among them, if not the primary one. 

It is like an itch that can't be satisfied no matter how often or how hard you scratch it. While scratching does temporarily provide relief, as sure as the sun will rise, inevitably the itch returns again and again.

This presents quite a conundrum to logical, reasoning minds that think in terms of problem/solution. Surely, there will be those content with the pleasure-pain-pleasure cycle associated with treating loneliness through external measures, like marriage and others forms of partnership, including business.

Logistically speaking, it is far "easier" to rest here than venture further down the path. However, the suffering and drama remains and, over time, increases in magnitude, manageable though it seems.

Eventually, the frustration of seeking and not finding leads to alternative forms of inquiry and alternative solutions. If you are reading this, then you are probably in this category of people.

It begins with the liberating realisation that we are alone and that there is no external cure for it. (This does not mean we do not seek out marriage or company, it means we will not expect our loneliness to be treated through these things, which could very well entail not seeking them out.)

We then start to get curious about our nature and the alone feelings associated with it. Our attitude shifts from doing to being. We might pick up the practice of meditation and develop the ability to "sit" with our disquieting feelings without trying to change them. We might then start to understand there is no difference between pleasure and pain, or rather see them as two equal sides of the same coin.

That was the magic trick the Buddha was trying to point us all towards. Yes, life has suffering. But we are the cause of it, by wishing that it didn't.

This way, we become more like expansive vessels rather than rigid individuals with preferences, fighting for what we think we want and need.

You will always have your particular unique signature and idiosyncrasies. What you lose in your practice is your neediness, or the hunger we call loneliness.

When our needs evaporate through realisation, there is no further experience of being alone because there isn't an individual anymore, in the way you currently reckon it, to feel alone.

You are there. The full, whole you is there. All that changed was a hard won shift in perspective, like waking from a dream you were so sure was real. 

Beyond Happiness

Happiness and its relative opposite, sadness, are the same dream. Both are temporary experiences we develop varying degrees of attachment or aversion to.

They are the fundamental ingredients, like garlic and ginger, to life's drama. Just about every story that has ever been created in the long history of storytelling, has been about the resolution of sadness or suffering in order to achieve happiness. We relate to this story on a primal, visceral level.

The wise, however, recognise periods of sadness as opportunities to listen, go within, and learn. And they are skeptical of periods of happiness, as the positive feelings, like a sugar rush, distract attention away from more truthful levels of being. To them, neither experience is preferred nor sought. Both are welcomed when they come and let go of when they are ready to leave. 

The even more wise recognise and gravitate toward a state beyond happiness and sadness, where the two poles merge and cancel one another out like an equality statement.

Joy.

Joy is. It is your natural state of being. Underneath all the pain, suffering, and toxic psychological/emotional layers, it is there waiting to be released, like a dammed up river.

Joy has no beginning and no end. It is not dependent on any external circumstance to exist but, you need to be ready and thoroughly prepared for the overwhelming and awesome experience of it.

Everybody would prefer an unbroken experience of joy to temporary periods of happiness any day of the week. However, very few are willing to make the sacrifices to have it.

First and foremost, experiencing unbroken joy requires letting go of life's drama for good (aka "sobering up"), which has real and profoundly challenging consequences, especially socially.

Then, it is a matter of constantly purifying and refining your character so that you become clear enough for the joy to flow through you, unimpeded. This means regularly updating your values, everyday habits, and behaviour until they are totally and perfectly aligned with the truth—and unable to be changed any further.

Conceptually, it's simple. However, consider how hard it is for people to quit smoking, then multiply that one habit times ten thousand and you have an idea of the difficulty of this work.

What's the alternative though? Staying stuck in the drama of temporary periods of happiness and sadness.