By December 4, 2012 4 Comments Read More →

The Path of No Path

Peter Russell, Spirit of Now
Waking Times

Spiritual teachers with non-dual leanings often say that there is no path to enlightenment. There is nowhere to get to; you are already enlightened, you just do not know it. There is no need for a technique or practice; they will only keep your mind trapped in the illusion of relative phenomena. Do not meditate; do nothing.

There certainly is a profound truth embedded in such statements. When awakening occurs, there is the realization that there really was nowhere else to get to, no higher state of consciousness to achieve. The world remains as it is, and your experience remains as it is. What shifts is your relationship to experience, or rather your non-relationship to it. The identification with a constructed sense of self is no longer there. “You” are not thinking, seeing, breathing; thinking, seeing, and breathing are just occurring. It is obvious that it always was this way; but all our wanting, striving, clinging, avoiding, and self-identification obscured this simple fact.

In this sense there is nothing to do. The very opposite: it is our doing that is the problem. When we let go of all attachments as to how things should or could be, we wake up to the truth of what is. Even the word enlightenment is misleading; it implies some other, “higher”, state of consciousness. This is what makes the statement “you are already enlightened” so confusing, But to say you are already awake, but not awake to your own wakefullness, or you are already aware, but not fully aware of awareness, makes more sense.

From the awakened perspective, it is true that there is nowhere to get to. This is why many teachers say: Do nothing. Stop. Don’t meditate. Don’t try and get somewhere other than you already are. There is nowhere to go. Nothing to do. There is no path.

And yet… Many of these teachers did tread a path. Some spent years investigating the true nature of our apparent “I-ness”. Others followed a path of total surrender, or a deep deconstruction of experience. My own glimpses of the truth have come in periods of deep mediation, when the mind is totally relaxed and still. Then I see so clearly there is nowhere to get to. And yet, if had not followed a path that allowed me to drop into a deep stillness and let go of my habitual mode of experience, I would not have fully appreciated this truth.

So from the unawake perspective—which is where I am most the time, and probably most of you are most the time—there are paths to follow. And, until such time as they are no longer needed, the paths that help the most are those that develop the skill of letting go, allowing the mind to relax, releasing all effort, all trying to get somewhere. So, do not meditate an intent to reach some enlightened state of being. But do take time to let the “doing mind” die away, to sink into your own being, Take time to learn how to do nothing.

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4 Comments on "The Path of No Path"

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  1. Chris Bourne says:

    Yes this is the classic non-dualistic view. But it is flawed.
    We live in a universe of at least perceived duality – a duality of consciousness. There is relativity – of “this” and “that”. If there was no duality, then they could be no experience: no up and down, no left and right, no you and me.

    In Enlightenment there is no one internally calling the shots anymore. The small “I” has dropped through the perception of separation into absoluteness. But this is where the confusion arises. From this point, natural flow happens as an expression of beingness – of consciousness – and beingness then shapes reality. Assuming of course ego does not arise to nullify beingness by pretending that everything is one and the same and there is nothing to do.

    You see “nothing to do” is also doing! When you write…
    “Do nothing. Stop. Don’t meditate. Don’t try and get somewhere other than you already are. There is nowhere to go. Nothing to do.”
    This in itself is a mind led control strategy of doing nothing. How about allowing authentic feeling to arise spontaneously from within to shape action? Just as the universe does.

    So if a feeling to meditate arises, why not let it happen? If a feeling to do Tai Chi, yoga, dance, sing, eat, play music have sex, why not allow that to happen from a spontaneous inner pull as the definition of who you now are?

    To be truly enlightened is to be enlightened in and through all things. It is only ego that denies our inner most being.

  2. Wilber Mercer says:

    I resonate with this message. You must climb the mountain. Upon the summit, sit, feel the wind, smell the fragrance and enjoy the veiw. What is next? Whatever you want to be next.

  3. irenealomar says:

    hm most interesting conversation …I feel also it is about “different” stages within ourselves if that IS possible..at this point in my life I feel while walking that the EGO/MIND starts talking about issues and then I can then actively but with a minor effort so to speak say to mind/ego drop it back off or fall deeply into or just a movement rather almost physical can change that state into more truly relaxed state and BE WITH the wind the sound of the sea etc but I still feel I am doing something any feed back here would be much interesting to me..gratitude

  4. Kevin Carney says:

    We need to keep this as simple as possible. While in meditation. When things come to mind. Simply let them ‘flow thru’… As Yoda stated…” Do or do not. There is no try.”

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