The old Alchemists had a slogan, "One book opens another." We might think of it as "This leads to that." It is important to look for the clues in seeking to find our path and follow it "in accord with the Tao, the Way, The Path. What does where we are on our own personal path seem to be suggesting, implying, intimating as a natural next step? Move in that direction and see what happens. Milton Erickson (Not the educator, the hypno-therapist) said that when he was 10 years old, a strange horse wandered into his yard, and his father told him to take the horse home. Milton climbed on the horse's back and kept him from stopping to eat grass. The horse took himself home. Your path is a strange horse. You will never think your path forward at any point along the way. Just don't allow yourself to be distracted and let the path take you where it wants you to go.
What we all are seeking is how to deal successfully with what comes our way-- with what our life has brought us-- with our life as it is here and now. We are all looking for how to live with what we have to live with, day in and day out, all our life long. Denial and entertainment can only take us so far. Everything dries up and blows away after a while. What can spark us eternally? What can keep the fire going day after day, forever? Boredom is our bane. We have to do it again. Sisyphus has nothing on us! We have to get up and start pushing some boulder again today every day. Every. Damn. Day. The things we hate are the things we hate and they are always there. Laughing at us. All of our diversions and distractions become part of the things we hate, and we hate the things we used to use to escape from the things we hate. Sex, drugs and alcohol don't do it for us anymore! Then what??? Oh, SHIT!!! WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE??? All the little lambs wake up sooner or later as night begins to fall, baahhhing for mama. Well. It is never too late to find what we are looking for. The Gateless Gate is everywhere, waiting for us to walk through by shifting our perspective, changing our mind, and seeing, finally, what's what and what needs to be done about it, with it, with the virtues/gifts/genius/daemon that are ours to serve at last, and share, in the time left for living.
The Wasteland is the polar opposite of Beulah Land. We live in one or the other, or at the still point between the two. "The still point of the turning world" (TS Eliot) is the vantage point, the viewpoint, the fulcrum, the place of seeing-- of seeing our seeing, and laughing at the absurdity of ever thinking we see. "Is it this way or that way?" Or neither? Or both? Or more? The answer is "It all depends," and "Wait and see," because "it" is transforming, shifting, changing, metamorphosisizing as we watch. If we both, we all, look at the same thing and see what we look at, we will see something different-- because of who is doing the looking/seeing. What we "see" is an abstraction, a projection, an elaboration, an extension, of "what is there." We add to/subtract from what we look at, and it "means" something different to everyone who looks, seeing, thinking they see. The important thing-- the only thing that matters-- is what we do about it, because of it, in response to it. How we live around it, because of it. What becomes of us and our life in relationship with it. What we see is meaningless, no matter what we say about it, until/unless it impacts our life in some way, for better or for worse. What do we do about it? Seeing what's what is doing what needs to be done about it. What is called for? What is it asking for? What does it require of us? Demand of us? How do we respond? We look and see the Wasteland. We look and see Beulah Land. We look and see how our seeing impacts/transforms/determines/defines our living, our being, and take matters into our own hands at the still point of the turning world in living toward our understanding of, our vision of, what is necessary here and now. Our perception of what we look at, of what we see, transforms us and the world around us, and shifts as our seeing shifts in looking at an optical illusion. External reality is an optical illusion. So is internal reality. It is all "in process," in motion, becoming something else as we watch. We have the power of perception, which is the power of seeing our seeing and deciding what to do about it. What we do because of what we see identifies us, defines us, brings us forth, and we become what is important to us by clarifying what is important by the way we respond to life events-- by the way we respond to how we see, interpret, understand, explain, exegete life events. How we live in the world is a reflection of the way we view the world. And we determine that by the way we see our seeing and choose what to do about it. And how easily we laugh at the very idea of knowing what we are doing!
Christians think Jesus died for them, to secure their forgiveness and get them to heaven if they believe he did. I think that Jesus died for himself and the sake of his own integrity and that he calls his follows to do the same— to die for what they think is worth living for. And so his, "If you are coming with me, pick up your own cross every day, and live like you mean it, no matter what!" Puts a new light on things. Or, "Turns the light around." And would give the Christian church an entirely different orientation, focus, direction, intention, mission and reason for being. Not believing, but doing. And not doing what they are told to do, but doing what they know needs to be done-- doing what they know needs them to do it, with the virtues, gifts, daemon, genius that came with them from the womb. Doing the right thing-- the thing they know to be right-- in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, in each situation as it arises, all their life long, for nothing more than the joy of doing it and the satisfaction of having done it. That is understanding the old, old story in a brand new way. And asks us all to answer for ourselves, "What is worth living for?" And, "Are you willing to die for it?" Puts everything in a different light. And transforms the world. A religion that does that is a religion worth our time.