Path & No Path

 

I went to a Process Work session today, and it brought up the different ways Path shows up when filtered through the different levels.

No path

At the nondual (Big Mind) level, there is no path – the idea of path doesn’t make sense. Or we can say that it is impossible to not be on the path. Everything just is, manifestations of Buddha Mind, God’s play, emptiness dancing. Everything is path.

Paths

At our soul and human levels, there are indeed paths – and they are very real for us.

No path and paths together

As they say in Zen, everything is perfect as it is and there is room for improvement. There is the nondual beyond and including perfection and imperfection, and there is the real of perfection and imperfection.

In terms of our path, we are always on in and we are it at a nondual level. And as guided by our soul or wished for by our human self, we can definetely be more or less on it.

Withouth the pathlessness, we can easily get too caught up in the path – take it too seriously. We are stuck in the relative.

And without the path, we can aimlessly wander around – not caring about what is nurturing and what is not. Being stuck in absolute.

For me

For me, I was strongly on my path while living in Norway and Utah. There was a strong sense of everything unfolding beautifully, of strong and clear guidance, of maturing, of finding my way in the world in many ways. I was deeply on my path at my human and soul levels.

At the same time, I saw that at the nondual level there was no way anyone could be “off the path” – everything is an expression of God so there is no path to be off.

Then, during the dark night phase, there was an equally strong sense of being off the path – at least as I had experienced my path earlier. I was cut off – externally and internally, from everything that had provided such as deep sense of nourishment, meaning and fulfillment.

I felt completely derailed, which was true in many ways. At the same time, I knew I could learn from it – mature through it, see something I earlier didn’t want to see, and through all this deepen my sense of ordinariness and empathy.

Now

Now, there is the beginnings of a release from this dark night and the derailment. The bits and pieces are coming back, gradually – as a slow soul retrieval process. What came so effortlessly earlier, and also seemed so extraordinary, is now coming back in a different way. Through more of an intention and a more conscious process, and seeming very ordinary and simple.

It also seems clear that one of my tasks now is to nurture the soul level far more than I could during the dark night phase, and far more than I did by choice at the Zen center. To allow it back in, with its tremendous sense of guidance, fullness, richness, maturing, deepening, meaning, purpose, calling, and – yes – path. A unique path for me in this life, unveiled gradually.

And some of the simple ways to connect with this more deeply is through what is deeply nurturing for me, such as Breema, drawing, music, nature, good relationships and even planning for the future – exploring deeply nurturing and meaningful, and realistic, options.

Trust :: Basic and Conventional

 

As with so many things, it seems that trust too occurs at many levels.

In – or even after – an awakening to selflessness, a fundamental trust in existence arises on its own. It is all revealed as the ground forming itself into myriad of phenomena, as consciousness, or as God. There is no Other to distrust here.

But there is still the conditioning of our human self, which brings about a mix of trust and distrust. This is not a problem in the context of selflessness, the distrust and hangups and everything else is also emptiness dancing. At the same time, it is also something to work on, in the context of our development, maturing and evolution at human and soul levels.

Meditation is one way to allow this basic trust to sink in at our human level.

And it seems that the many forms of inquiry do the same.

Process Work unfolds the profound wisdom and healing behind what initially appears as a problem. Byron Katie’s inquiry into beliefs does the same, uncovering the gifts within what appeared as a stressful thought. The Big Mind process shows the profound wisdom behind all the ways the mind functions, on personal and transpersonal levels. And a more free-form inquiry, from innocent curiosity into what is happening, seems to unfold the same.

So in terms of the various levels, there seems to be…

Basic trust

A basic trust in Existence – as nondual, consciousness, the many forms of ground, waves on the ocean, the play of God, emptiness dancing.

A deepening trust in existence at our human level, seeing that there is healing within symptoms (Process Work), clarity within stress (Byron Katie), and wisdom within all the ways the mind functions (Big Mind). This is a process that deepens over time, through experience – over and over – with these and other forms of inquiries.

Both of these forms of trust – the transcendent and personal – are basic, not dependent of the specifics of the situation.

Conventional trust and distrust

And then there is the more conventional level of trust and distrust, the discernment, discriminating wisdom. This too deepens and matures over time, through experience. We learn to trust in certain ways and to be cautious in other ways. We learn to trust certain people in certain situations (maybe most), yet remain some caution in other situations.

Coexistence of basic and conventional trust

The conventional level can quite easily co-exist with the deeper level of trust.

It provides an overlay of conventional trust and distrust arising from the specific situation, on top of basic trust in existence which is there independent on the specifics of the situation.

Conditioned and unconditioned

The basic trust is unconditioned in the sense that it is independent of the specifics of the situation. But it is also conditioned – the transcendent trust on awakening, and the personal trust on inquiry and reconditioning (rewiring at our human level).

The conventional trust is always conditioned on the specific situation.