I hang out a lot with spiritual people. People who practice yoga, meditation, or some other form of spiritual discipline. So do I. People who keep disappearing off to India, Bali, or some other far flung place to deepen their practice, to study with someone in some tradition or other. So do I. People who are on a spiritual journey, who are walking a spiritual path. And when it comes to paths I have a confession to make.
I’ve failed miserably at the whole path business - I’ve done the Yogic path and the Taoist path, I’ve even done the pathless path. After ten years or so I learned that the whole path thing did not work for me, and for two main reasons. Firstly, the very idea that I was walking a path brought with it the idea that I was going somewhere, that there was somewhere to go. This was a big distraction, particularly as the more I walked the more I realized I was stepping into mystery - I did not know where I was going. Secondly, I kept going around in circles - I kept coming back to exactly where I am right now. Sure the backdrop or lighting may be a little different, however the essence is unchanged.
When something – in this case the idea, the concept, the metaphor of a path - is not working the best strategy we have is to change it. So I have ditched the whole path metaphor and got myself a new one: rather than walking a path I play games in the playground of life. And whilst on the surface the games I play differ from moment to moment at their core they all come down to one simple choice – am I opening into, or closing away from, this present moment. In the language of yoga this choice is between a tightening or a loosening of the patterns that hold us. In the language of the Tao this choice is between embracing or resisting the natural flow of things.
Whatever metaphor works for us, it is only in this present moment that we can act and produce change in ourselves and in the world around us. It is only now that we can frame, explore and surrender to our experience. It is only in this present moment that we can change the game we are playing. Right here, right now.
© David Dodd
David is a Life and Business Coach based in Amsterdam (NL) and Bath (UK); for more information see www.awareness-and-change.com