A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Pilgrim's Way (10): Tao And The Journey Within

Zen pond.

How many times now
have I crossed over hill crests

with the image

of blossoms leading me on —

toward nothing but white clouds?


Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.


Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the pond.


Perhaps the truth depends.


Perhaps the truth does not depend.


The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart.


The longest journey is the journey inward.


We carry within us the wonders we seek without us.


But in the end, the journey is all within, isn't it? Perhaps that is why the emotions elude us when we most think they should be present. So much of why we travel is actually to learn about ourselves . . .

Funny that we tend to bracket events with 'beginnings' and 'endings'. Perhaps this is just another illusion. Perhaps everything is fluid and boundless, insuring that our tiny brains will never understand the mysterious concoction of energy that we call 'life'.

GEORGE from Transit Notes

We don't receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.


The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes. 


Banish learning, discard knowledge: people will gain a hundredfold.


Knowing others is intelligent. Knowing yourself is enlightened.


We are such stuff / As dreams are made on, and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep. 


Ain't talkin', just walkin'.


The rest is silence.


The bright road seems dark,
The road forward seems to retreat,
The level road seems rough.

Great TE seems hollow.
Great purity seems sullied.
Pervasive TE seems deficient.
Established TE seems furtive.
Simple truths seem to change.

The great square has no corners.
The great vessel is finished late.
The great sound is scarcely voiced.
The great image has no form.

TAO hides, no name.
Tao yin wu ming

Yet TAO alone gets things done.


Meditation on the Far and Near / 'What Is Beyond?' Koan

What is beyond thought, beyond reason, beyond unreason, beyond feeling, beyond emotion, beyond words, beyond music, beyond poetry, beyond art, beyond birds, beasts and flowers, beyond river and rock, beyond hill and valley, beyond plain and mountain, beyond travel, beyond exploration, beyond talking, beyond walking, beyond desire and regret, beyond hope and expectation, beyond pain and pleasure, beyond memory, beyond life, beyond death, beyond silence? If love is beyond these things, what is beyond love? Is TAO beyond and before and within all these things?


This concludes my exploratory 10-part series 'The Pilgrim's Way'; I hope you enjoyed the journey.


George said...

A great series of posts, Robert. By sharing intimate aspects of your own journey, you illuminate the journeys of others, and, perhaps most importantly, you remind many of us that we are not alone own our individual quests.

As to the last question in this post, I would respond with a resounding "yes." The Tao is before, beyond, and contained in all things and all the feeble symbols we seize upon to describe those things.

Carolyn H said...

I'm sorry to see this come to an end--but of course, all things must.

am said...

Splendid quotes. What is beyond love? Is it the Tao? Good question. I'm reminded of the scene from "Shakespeare in Love":

Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?
Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
Hugh Fennyman: How?
Philip Henslowe: I don't know. It's a mystery.

Many thanks for these ten posts, Solitary Walker!

am said...

Synchronicity. This was posted today, too:


Annie B. said...

I do so enjoy visiting your blog. You give so much and I hope I have something I may give in return. This is a quote from Robert Browning's long poem 'Paracelsus'. I hope you like it and that it's in harmony with the series that you have done.

"Truth is within ourselves;
it takes no rise from outward things,
whate'er we may believe.
There is an inmost centre in us all
where truth abides in fullness;
and around wall upon wall,the gross
flesh hems it in. That perfect clear
perception - which is truth.
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
binds it, and makes all error; and to know,
rather consists in opening out a way whence the
imprisoned splendor may escape, than in effecting
entry for a light supposed to be without."

Nick said...

The time taken to read has been time well spent - and the repayment great. Thank you.

Laura said...

I have enjoyed and appreciated the journey. Thank you!

Cris M said...

Thank you Robert for these beautiful posts! As I mentioned, it amazed me how each of us journey, despite being very personal, at a point crashes with other´s journey. That is something that brings lots of compassion and lots of company -which is fact is fun, in such a lonely activity as is walking our own journey, as no one can do that for us.
I met very nice people in the Camino, and I met so many others fellow Camino de Santiago pilgrims (that I never actually met -as you for example-), and life has been nicer since then and because of them.

Thanks for sharing!
And Buen Camino!
Cris M

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, everyone, for taking the time and trouble to write these appreciative comments. I'm so glad you enjoyed accompanying me on my pilgrimage — for part of the way, at least. (Sorry I haven't replied individually.)

The Solitary Walker said...

BTW, welcome Annie B, and I really loved the Browning poem. Very pertinent.

Ingrid said...

Robert, I have just come across your blog, I will go back in time and walk again. Ingrid

Amanda said...

Wow. Humbled to be bookended by Lao-Tzu, Bob Dylan and the Solitary Walker.

Perhaps the truth depends ;))

roselle said...

Lovely series, Robert. Thank you. Have I already said in relation to journeys: Robert Bly says the journey between the solar plexus and the heart is a journey of a million miles.

So brief in space, so long in time the journey from living an ego-centred life to the life of the Heart...

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for visiting, Amanda and Roselle. And Ingrid — welcome!