Archive for December 2009


December 27, 2009

I’ve been teaching a class called The Path to Spiritual Greatness on and off for several years.The purpose of this blog is to publish some of the course content online.

The course begins like this:

Imagine a person who comes to their senses in the midst of a dark wood. They know nothing of how they came to be there, but they hear a pack of wolves baying in the distance. They know that they must find a way out before nightfall or the pack will have them. Though the wood is both deep and dark it is not trackless. No, quite the reverse, the problem is that there are innumerable paths, some bigger and some smaller. Many of them even have signs saying things like “The only way out”, “The one true path” or even simply “The way”. Even the stretches of virgin wood bear signs with messages like “There’s no way out just enjoy the scenery”, or “There are no wolves”.

Perhaps our hapless traveler is in fact already on a path, placed there by who knows what or whom.  Vaguely they recollect having been on this path for some time, but no inkling of why or how. The question is: How will the traveler choose the right path, how will they be saved if indeed they will, if indeed salvation is possible or even desirable?

This is more or less the situation for each of us as we begin to develop an adult conscious. We must choose our own path to Salvation or Enlightenment or Nirvana or whatever. And we have little solid basis for that choice outside of our own logic and the knowledge we have picked up on whatever path we find ourselves when the issue first strikes us.  I’ve been thinking about this issue for years with little to no resolution.

Now a Zen response to all this might be to shout “No!”, or to eat a banana, or to point to the Chinese Tallow tree growing in my back yard. That is, they’d point out how one sided my story is by establishing a polarity on the spot and then having me meditate on that polarity.  That might be the best approach by far, but it’s not for me, at least not in this blog.