Assuming you consider your self to be a dedicated “seeker”, or one in sincere pursuit of answers to the fundamental existential questions – have you ever examined your motivation for the same? What put you on this path? What drove you to seek deeper meaning and perhaps even enlightenment(however you define that)?
Why we do what we do is a critical factor that radically influences the outcomes of our actions. Simply changing the space that one operates from can result in significant shifts in the consequences.
The path to ‘Source’ (if I may call it that for brevity) can be likened to a maze. As we progress from the outer realms towards the deep, hidden center, we encounter unexpected demons along the way. These can be fundamentally disturbing. Invitations to face our own inner monsters, unravel our stories, deconstruct, question and often destroy the very foundations of our paradigms and institutions can be daunting for the bravest of hearts.
While we feel troubled in our health, career, relationship, etc…, we still persevere. We are in fact looking to mend the problem, without looking to heal the original wound(of separation from Source). Spiritual tools are used as the band aids. With initial benefits, there sets in a comfort. An unwillingness ‘to rock the boat’. Things are going well enough, at least to an extent that you can cope with the status-quo with lesser pain than before. Why give up the pleasures of illusion for the sake of unrelenting truth? All the meditation, spiritual practices, clearing tools and so forth, are parked aside and become nothing more than points of lofty conversation. Living the path has ceased.
However, there will be those who reach a Point of No Return. Once you have seen through the illusions even briefly, had a taste of pure awareness or remembered the knowing of your true essence – you can no longer walk out of this maze. You have to keep going on. Regardless of the changes and disruptions it brings in your experience. However different it makes you from those around you. You know you have to go on. You cannot not know what you now know.
I would like to extend the maze analogy a little further, to paint a broad picture of how our initial motivations determine our Point of No Return.
Consider the Source to be at the center of this complex garden maze. There are four gates to this garden:
- Material & Physical – Those facing financial strain, bankruptcy, physical disease, or imminent death enter through this gate. They seek a deeper meaning to understand and address their suffering from the roots. Those who find their Point of No Return fairly early and persevere on, appear to rise above all suffering. For example, even if the physical body continues to bear pain or eventually dies, it becomes clear that their soul is at peace. Then there will be some who will recover, turn back, and quickly relapse into their old ways again. These may find their patterns return, sometimes aggravated. Because life turns up the volume until we pay attention. So they go in and out of the maze at prolonged intervals and wonder why they face the same situations again and again. Their attachment to the physical body and material possessions remains intact.
- Emotional – Given the ever changing sea of emotions that we encounter in our human form, this is one of the most well trodden paths. But the Point of No Return is fairly far down this route. Temporary relief being noticeable early along the way, few people want to keep on. Questioning your own identity, moving out of old relationships and careers, and seeing the extent of the web of illusion we have trapped our self into is a fresh invitation for pain. Just when the wounded child begins to feel a little loved and capable of loving, why would it choose to face these new storms? So this path keeps most of us admiring its early benefits, with few daring to cross a Point of No Return.
- Intellectual – Another very popular gate, this one is famous for its high foot falls. Who doesn’t enjoy a deep philosophical debate over the meaning of life? Information and theory has never been as widely and as easily accessible as in current times. We all can hold forth on ancient texts, modern masters, Sufi poetry and so on. A wonderful place to meet like minded people and have lengthy discussion. The Point of No Return is not really important here. They enjoy walking in and meandering around the by-lanes in the happy discovery of the path. Here, the path is indeed the destination.
- Spiritual – This is the least used gate. A rare few are just born with this unquenchable thirst for reconnection to Source. Some may have explored a bit of the maze by entering through the other gates and back out. They may have to come to realize that this is the most direct path. So they re-enter from this gate – with no other agenda. They have little interest in the material world, know they are far more than a physical body and understand that this is all a game. They are done with the word play. They are willing to transcend not only pain, but also pleasure. Those entering this gate will not turn back. Their Point of No Return is the entry itself.
Knowing what set you on the path will help you understand your dissatisfaction with your progress.
- Which gate was your point of entry?
- How does this influence the journey for you personally?
- Have you the inclination and courage to go beyond the Point of No Return?
How can you gauge where you are located?
Here are some questions that GD came up with in this context:
- Thirst – How eager are you for the truth? Do not gauge your aspiration, but examine how much of your life is lived in accordance with your path.
- Openness to Learning – Are you willing to learn from any one and everything? Or do you have preferences and limitations there?
- Clearing – Inquiry, questioning your own points of view and energetic clearings are required to clear our brain fog and habitual filters. How much consistency and dedication do you demonstrate there?
Rate the above on a subjective scale of 1 – 10 for yourself.
The reasons for your ‘stuckness’ or air of exhaustion will become apparent. When you find you can honestly mark yourself at the higher end of the scale for all three – you can be assured that you have crossed your Point of No Return.
Now its a matter of perseverance and grace.
Image Credit: Credit: YANN ARTHUS BERTRAND