Nowhere to go?

On the path of self-exploration, one of the basic insights is that there is nowhere to go.

What does it mean?

It’s something we each have to explore for ourselves.

The essence may be that to us, the world happens within and as what we are, so there is nowhere to go.

And this has a few different aspects.


In my own first-person experience, the three times – past, future, and present – happen here and now.

My images and stories of past and future, and any images and stories I have about specific past and futures, happen here and now.

I cannot find it anywhere else.

In terms of time, there is nowhere else to go.


I find the same with space.

Whatever happens in my experience – of this human self or the wider world or anything else – happens within my sense fields. It’s all happening within and as what I am.

There is nowhere to go, because to me, whatever I am experiencing happens within and as what I am.


I cannot escape the experience I have here and now.

It’s already allwed and already here.

Whatever I do is too late. I cannot escape it. There is nowhere to go.


Similarly, I cannot escape whatever is unresolved in me.

It’s here. Whether it’s dormant or activated, it colors my perception, choices, and life.

And life will activate it and bring it to the surface.

If it is unresolved, it’s here, colors my life, and will be activated.

There is nowhere to go.


I can recognize this, in an immediate and visceral way, through different forms of inquiry.

And it has a few practical consequences.

If there is nowhere to go, what does that mean?

For me, it mainly means to befriend what’s here. If there is nowhere to go, it doesn’t make sense to continue to actively fight with what’s here. It makes more sense, in the long run, to befriend it.

These days, I tend to do this by exploring contractions in me. A life situation may trigger a contraction. I notice where I feel it in the body and ground my attention in the sensations. I thank it for protecting me and stay with that thankfulness until I notice a good shift. I check for what universals it may need or want, and what lack it’s coming from, and notice my system giving it to this part of me and rest with it. I notice its nature, and rest in that noticing. I invite it to notice its own nature, and allow it to rest in that noticing.

This supports awakening (it helps the contraction to awaken to its nature). It supports healing. (Contractions are unhealed and unresolved parts of us.) And it supports living from awakening. (The more healed, the easier it is to live from noticing our nature in more situations.)

All of this fits with ordinary approaches to our experiences and life. If something needs to be taken care of, I take care of it. And if a contraction comes up in me, I can befriend it and help it recognize its own nature.

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