Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Crowd Sourcing The Path

"Another way of putting it would be (without knowing Chinese) to propose this new translation of the first line of the Tao Te Ching: “A way that is entirely laid out, no, it is not the way.” I told you that I have encountered in my life a true teaching. One of the signs of its truth, for me, is that it never proposes an entirely prescribed path. No, at every step the entire dilemma is revisited. For me, nothing is resolved once and for all. And what I have always loved in you is your refusal of a prearranged path, and that’s important to me because alone one can’t sustain such a position. We must be a number of people to help each other, to awaken one another." ............René Daumal from a letter to Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes

The more accurate version of translation of the beginning of the first verse of Tao Te Ching is:
"The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name...."

The essence of what René Daumal is saying and what is implied by the more accurate translation is that when the concept of Tao or the Way in spiritual domain is the result of an existing reality, it inherently comes with attenuation or deformation and hence cannot represent the true reality.
This is the core teaching not only in spirituality but also in modern science.
It is only through a shared vision which emanates from the heart of individuals who are desirous of seeking the higher reality that we can awaken to redefining our path to this destination.
This can be compared to a single person who is walking in an unknown terrain which is heavily wooded and covered in thick fog. If he is alone and follows his mere senses then he is sure to go astray. But if there is a group of people with him, all desiring to reach the same destination, then by sharing individual knowledge of the terrain and with proper communication, the errors that creep in during the journey can be eliminated.

Peter Senge, in his book "The Fifth Discipline" describes a shared vision as "... a force in people's hearts, a force of impressive power....At its simplest level, a shared vision is the answer to the question, "What do we want to create?" " A shared vision is a picture that everyone who has a common vision and dedicated purpose carries in their heads and hearts.

Today we realize the power of collaborative intelligence both from human and animal studies.
While man has been highly individualistic and ego centred, animals have been collaborative in their evolutionary path. This is the reason that the leaf cutter ants of the rain forest have been successful in their evolutionary journey over the past 50 million years but man is scrambling for survival in the 50,000 years as Homo Sapiens. If we continue to live out our lives purely from our individual heads, then as a spices we are headed towards extinction.

A well laid out path is more of an impediment like a tortuous route that has been used by many climbers to the summit. But there could exist other paths that expert climbers have found that could use less energy and conserve more stamina when the climber hits the altitude where the oxygen level is low.

The malady of a well laid path is beautifully brought out by the great German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer:
" Whenever a man is born, certain propositions are inculcated in him in earliest youth, and he is assured that he may never have any doubts about them, under penalty of thereby forfeiting eternal salvation: propositions… which affect the foundations of all our other knowledge and accordingly determine forever, and, if they are false, distort forever, the point of view from which our knowledge starts."

This is what led the twentieth century Indian philosopher, Jiddu Krishnamurthy to declare:
" I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect."

Listen deeply and do not assign any value to any teaching based on the reputation or authority of the teacher but rather seek the wisdom many wise men and draw your own path based on the dictates of your heart rather than your mind.


Love to you all

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