Sunday, November 22, 2015


Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
Samuel Beckett

What is there to lose by trying and failing? 
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to our courage (as opposed to our possessions).
When we hold our hand before our eyes, we can conceal the greatest mountain, just as our little earthly life hides from our glance enormous lights and mysteries of which the world is full. The person who can draw this little earthly life away from before his eyes, as one draws away a hand, beholds the greatest shining of inner worlds.  
We must be our own teachers. To teach is an act of love. In ancient Indian tradition, the teacher was placed at the very apex of the hierarchy. Even the King consulted teachers for advice. When nothing is required of us and we can do whatever we want, who are we?
A few years ago I decided to go on a trip alone. I wanted to leap into the dark, into places I had never been. Every stranger and every street beckoned with mystery.
I read about a woman who gave herself ten articles of clothing to wear for one year and decided that would be me for three months: unencumbered; finding as much as possible in as little as I could.
The trip meant taking a risk. I did not know if I was going to be lonely or struggle with the unknown and the unfamiliar. I wasn’t sure if I could find my way by myself. How can we know if we don’t try? 
The further I went, the more ‘out there’, the more I was unmoored and the more I wandered, the stronger my inner anchor. I grew secure by getting unfastened. My travels took me to extremes. The clarity of the extremes is that the center is within. From inside emerges the balance and it is always back and forth, back and forth: going out and returning in.
When I returned people asked me all kinds of questions like how much it cost; wasn’t I lonely? Wasn’t I afraid to travel alone? The most common – and most annoying - question they asked was, “Where did you like best?” 
My answer was “inside”. 
We learn to walk new in the world when we step out. How can we prevent disappointment and protect ourselves from injury while being pioneers? The path of discovery is a razor’s edge. It can be fraught with danger and uncertainty. 
Growth is a redrawing of boundaries so that we include more of the outer world and the inner world. It makes us less secure, more fragile. In the end it makes us more stable.

We must be willing to live ‘imperfectly’. 
The practice of going within frees us to live the kind of life we desire which is to be pointed to the horizon, toward whatever appears; to penetrate and probe and venture forth; to express our chest where the heart resides. Ultimately, we draw a golden thread through all we witness and pass through.