I have done two retreats/trainings over the last few weeks, and have a deep appreciation for both groups and their approaches. At the same time, both groups have a clear goal focus, which it helps me see even more clearly how my path is one of exploration, not of seeking any particular goal. My passion is to explore the terrain, to get familiar with the evolving landscape of what is.
One group emphasizes realized selflessness (Ground awakening), and as that is one part of the landscape, and I only have limited experience with that (off and on), I want to go there. The other group emphasizes “being present” (or rather, just noticing that there is never anything else), and since that is one part of the landscape, I explore that as well. But it does not mean that Ground awakening is inherently better than a sense of separate I, or “being present” is somehow inherently better than being absorbed into the content of thoughts.
It is all part of the landscape… all part of God’s exploration of itself as void and evolving form, all God’s will, all God’s play. It is all God manifesting, exploring and experiencing itself, in evolving and infinitely varied ways. And that is something that is loved, felt and seen in this particular path, of this human self.
There are also many benefits to seeing it all as an exploration. Mainly, there is less of a tendency to get caught up in the split of seeker-sought, which tends to reinforce the sense of I and Other, where what is sought is always over the horizon, and where it is easy to overlook that what we are seeking may already be right here. When it is an exploration, we are free to explore any area of the terrain with less drama and less of a split.
(The benefit of goal orientation can be included in the exploration process, although within this context, they provide a general direction, and maybe at times temporary goals lightly held.)
Another aspect of this exploration is recording it, getting it out, so that there is less or no need to try to remember anything or hold onto any maps, frameworks or temporary insights. They are all recorded, so there is a freedom to let go of them and move on to something else. So in one sense, these writings are recordings of a journey, and in another sense, they are discarded reflections of what at one point was alive in immediate awareness. Life has already and always moved on.