If we are already on a path of development or evolution sometimes all we need is the right reminder to stay on course, especially when it’s lonely.
Not long ago I posted an article about the effects of Tai Chi as a catalyst in developing a deeper awareness of myself. In my eagerness to share I posted a link to it on a martial arts forum. The article received a dozen or so “likes”. I was very happy with that. However, it didn’t receive many comments despite it being a well populated forum. The one response it did get was a possible confirmation of why there were no other comments and why it might have been overlooked.
The comment was heartening though and went something like this:
“Awesome insight, no discussion of how to be physically powerful, so not much traffic on it!
It’s rather touchy feely, and emotional, and so verboten for manly man.
Manly man will rather discuss large explosions of power and the ‘combat’ attributes of practice only.”
Of course! Not much traffic. What a great phrase and a great reminder. The path of becoming more aware and working with what is deep within us is indeed a difficult one and detours away from it are everywhere. The detours are where traffic can leave and take a more pleasant route, even if there is some hard work on that route too. What a justifiable detour! I guess the renowned teacher Geoff Thompson would call maintaining our inner course a task that is difficult-difficult (rather than difficult-easy). Difficult-easy points to the fact that there may be things we do that require effort but when we take a closer look it’s a distraction from the real challenge. An example might be working harder in the office which distracts from the spending time with the family, which for some may be more challenging. For me, I found it easier to workout rather than meditate even though meditation would have served me better.
So, there’s not much traffic. It’s not a path well-trodden.
Perhaps this is why Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching in one sitting, imparting his wisdom, then departed not to be seen again. The guidance is there, now you have to live it. Now you have to act. Now it’s up to you to experience it. Only we make the decision to act, to cultivate virtue. To welcome or discard the guidance we might receive.
That requires discipline and honesty and that’s why there is not much traffic on this road. If you are on it, keep walking. Keep working. Take a moment to talk and analyse the work – but of course to do the work is better.
One more travelling metaphor. I was told recently that when it comes to long-distance driving we only have an undivided focus for about fifteen minutes of each hour. We are driving with awareness for only a quarter of that hour! This is the scenario when we say to ourselves, “how did I get here?”
To me the detours off the path happen in those other three quarters of the time, when we give up the steering wheel to the less aware parts of us.
So for me, staying aware is staying on track and it’s not a bad sign that there’s not much traffic on the road sometimes.