It is intriguing to see that often people practice, even seriously, without being able to define what is “the Way.”
It is possible to describe the Way by taking examples of achievements made by “advanced” students or by listing some selected exercises… but is it the Way?
“The way that can be expressed is not the Way”… says the Lao Zi.
But for us mere mortals, incorrigible Westerners, maybe it is useful for us to bribe us into an intellectual mess to understand what attracts and fascinates us.
I can say that the Way is a way to live our human condition fully, in the best possible way, respecting the evolution of the changes of the World.
We know the strength of our impulses, of our emotions, but do we know the way our bodies and our minds work?
When you purchase a new electronic marvel, several choices are available to you:
– You can use the basic functions, forgetting all the wonders that this futuristic machine offer. It’s a waste compared to what you could do, but it’s your choice.
– You can try to find all the useful functions for you and your life, and to make this machine do everything that it can to simplify your life. The time saved will bring you more in everyday life.
This comparison is only to realize that it is possible to live a fulfilling life without practicing, but without the knowledge of what the Way can bring…
With a better understanding of ourselves, of how our minds, of the principles of our physiology, we live a more conscious life, a fuller life. Less resignation, less fear and more ability to act positively on the important moments of our lives. This is true for us and our neighbors, the practice gives us the opportunity to learn to better live with each other in a self-knowledge.
In making our life more conscious, we meet better the chance to exist while recognizing the duty of deference towards the world.
Actively searching for who we are, how we work and the nature of our body, we are moving towards the unknown, beyond the limits of our horizontal knowledge.
Exiting the known means confronting the limits of our ego, challenging the boundaries of our character … it is touching the realm of Fear.
Our ego wants to control what is seen, it requires to bring everything back to what is known, to what is named and it feels unsafe in a probing introspection.
The practice is a permanent stimulation of the defenses of the ego through exercises designed to question our prejudices, weaken our defenses and eliminate our characters.
These exercises are the Practice, but the practice does not exist without a space / time structure which means that thinking about all that is not enough, creating exercises is not the Way and patching pieces of Way that one has obtained on a discount is not a Practice.
A Practice has a non-linear logic that allows a development without growth, but in accordance with the development of human qualities. This practice is based on a solid line of practical experience and an incarnation of its concepts: the Professor.
The teacher should never be believed on his words, but always listened with availability and commitment: the experiences that will be experienced by applying the teachings construct the reality, the truth.
A creative “guy”, cultivated and charismatic or dressed in orange, is not a serious guide if he does not have a coherent and comprehensive practice to offer.
The practice is based on a specific development that uses the human capacity to evolve naturally. The exercises, the concepts, and principles and even the “innocent” quips of the teacher, can have a role on the movements on the Way. However, all this requires a knowledge rooted in secular teachings.
You would not go in the Himalayan mountains with a good map and a compass. You would not go with a university teacher versed in the theories of mountain climbing either, but surely with a guide in the area.
The Way requires an exploration, a discovery, an adventure. It is in a contact with the unknown that it is possible, not in contact with the known. A way that is controlled by the ego will remain in the realm of what is comfortable and known.
However, whomever speaks of adventure and exploration, talks about specific techniques and real preparation. This is why a serious Way prepares us before sending us through the maze of our lies and our prejudices, our weaknesses and our lack of coordination, of the fifteen seconds of our poor attention.
To really take advantage of this adventure that allows us to go towards what we really are, we must prepare our bodies, calm our minds and develop our energy.
It would be a shame to walk in a dream scenery with a sore foot, a physical condition that forces us to focus on the pain and a mind that wines. The experience would be a waste!
The techniques of the Way lead us toward total freedom, toward an infinite ability to escape the limits of our ego mind and the pitfalls of our prejudices.
These techniques must be accurate and without question, without compromise.
Fuzzy techniques that do not rely on a solid structure will be grabbed by the mental: the fuzzy and the void will be filled by the known and the speculated, easy and the pretended.
We thus find ourselves believing that we practice when we are only distracting ourselves, with good conscience, in the climax of our character.
Through these practices, self-knowledge will bring out a deep freedom. This freedom is the foundation of our joy of living, and of our ability to share and of our just place in the changing world.
The reality of the perception of the world depends on my availability, my openness, to the loss of the limits of my character. I have to give myself permission to redefine myself every day if necessary, to seek without wishing to find, to “wander aimlessly”.
This freedom, this “natural” comes from the practical accuracy of the Way, of the steps applied in the development of the self and of the ability of not lying to one’s teacher.
This freedom abolishes Fear and allows to get a healthy body / mind. In the perception of reality, it is possible to locate oneself in the world and meet each other with candor and simplicity.
The sober becomes delectable and the mind reaches the silence, the body benefits from its relaxation and the energy expands.
The Way is not a set of exercises, it is not an opportunity to show off.
The Way is the ability to function fully in the manifestation that is Life.
Since most practitioners that we are are here (apart from a few tourists that there must be), and we that we spend time practicing, it is important to know what we do without producing an expectancy.
That is now done.
For a more succinct definition of the Way I could also say:
The Way is the direct perception of the “Great Secret”.