The Trackless Way and Growth

Any serious and prolonged exploration of your inner world, yourself or dreams will lead to pronounced changes. Carl Jung called this psychic growth. He used the word psychic to refer to the psyche, meaning the whole realm of personal awareness and experience. Such psychic growth is natural and in most areas occurs spontaneously, how it does when we move from babyhood to childhood, childhood to adolescence. And of course, such changes are seldom purely psychic or psychological. They usually run parallel to physical change as well.

Many of these changes from one level of maturity to another are quite difficult. As with adolescence, the emerging trends often make it feel as if all that one is at the time is dying or being lost. What is emerging is unknown. It has never been experience before and so can even be felt as threatening. Such shifts through the levels of possible maturity are at the very core of human experience. Although our attention may largely be claimed by exterior factors such as relationships, education, the struggle toward achievement for success in one form or another, in many ways these are far less important than the processes of psychic growth that underlie any exterior event or participation in it. I believe that the great myths and religions of the world are in great part dramatisations, often in deeply symbolic form, of these huge transformations we face or are capable of. This may explain why religions and myths claim so much attention over such long periods of time. After all, the heroes and heroines of such myths are confronting, and giving examples of, meeting and dealing with the great dramas and trials of human experience.

Somehow I stood upon the Mount,
Standing upon the edge,
Looking into the abyss.
Turning, I gazed back
Upon the way I had come.
I could see
The ruined churches and mosques,
The libraries and schools,
Where people forever searched
Through the river of books,
Or the spoken word.
I called to them
As loudly as I could,
“Why are you searching
For the Real
In all these frozen words?
Why wander through
The never-ending labyrinth
Of emotions, thoughts and beliefs?
For they are like
Photographs of the Real,
Capturing only moments,
Fragments of it?”
And I could see
The people in those labyrinths,
Setting up the photographs
Those words engraved
Like holy icons.
They fought over them,
As if their photograph
Held in its fragment
More of the Real
Than any other –
Or sold them,
Like treasures,
One to another.
And I, turning to the abyss,
Emerged from my chrysalis,
Broke open the cocoon
Of words and beliefs
I had formed about me,
Spread my wings and flew,
Melting into the abyss.

Although, as already said, much of this psychic change is spontaneous, some of it has to be faced consciously, decisively and with personal cooperation and effort. The possibility is that of the stages of growth that the race has already met and successfully dealt with en masse, is now passed through largely without personal effort. But the frontiers of human maturity still call upon us in a different way. Two of these challenges are particularly relevant in present times, and comparatively few of us have successfully passed through them. This means that they are new ground, and although we have the literary and artistic records from other individuals who have faced these challenges already, they are still difficult.

The two that I have in mind are what might be called in mythological terms, the cleansing of the Aegean stables, and the entrance upon the Trackless Way — or what is sometimes called the Mountain Path.

The cleansing of the stables refers to consciously meeting and transforming the many influences, such as childhood traumas and inherited behavioural patterns, that block, twist and pervert the expression of our true potential. This is an area, often associated with psychotherapy in its various forms, which has a huge amount of literature dealing with it, along with countless practitioners. But any individual can undertake this journey without recourse to such professionals.

Example: Dreamt I was living in a mountain village in France or Switzerland. A group of us, like a yoga class group, were together doing something. I remember Margaret Strange in particular. Now I was cycling through steep hills; a bit like a cycle race, but not any road or track. It was hard going sometimes. I had to descend to gain speed to cycle over the crest of some hills.

Next, I was in a room with other people. They were the cyclists. One of my wheels had broken, apparently a new wheel was supposed to be in the room, which was like a spares store. I looked in a cupboard on the left of the room, but although other people’s wheels were there, I couldn’t find mine.

“This dream gives an excellent example of how wheels represent so much. The dreamer Roberto explored his dream and says, “This dream showed me what is now happening within the group I am involved in. It shows the things occurring at the heights of my awareness – in the mountain village. These things are not apparent at the everyday, valley, level of awareness.

The dream shows me aiding the group, but the last part of the dream shows my difficult journey along the trackless way – shown by cycling along a way without road or track. Remember that way was trodden by you long ago in other lives, I received that from a life I lived in France as a past existence. This next part of your life journey will be the remembering of what was already accomplished. But there comes even within this dream the meeting with difficulties.”

The second area, the entrance upon the Trackless Way, is much less represented in our times. This is strange, because the psychic growth that often comes about from transforming the traumas and behavioural patterns mentioned, leads to a meeting with the trackless way, or what in Christian literature is known as The Cloud of Unknowing or in Buddhist literature is often called, the Void.

In brief, meeting this new level of possible maturity involves the dropping away of the rigid self-images, personal defences, and unbending belief systems that are such a large part of earlier levels of maturity. For instance, for many of us our sense of self is almost entirely to do with our physical appearance, gender, and social standing. Perhaps it also relates strongly to the amount of money we have been able to command or accumulate. A self-image based on such factors is incredibly vulnerable. In the New Testament we are told not to build our house upon the sands. A foundation of sand does not resist change. Neither does a self-image based upon our physical appearance, changing so radically as it does with the ageing process.

The meeting with the Trackless Way is an introduction to the core of self. It is a meeting with a self that is formless, that is essentially without gender, that is not limited by concepts of time and space, that knows itself as an integral part of what lies behind the cosmos. In meeting such enormity, such freedom, a freedom that is or maybe at first disturbing. It may feel as if everything is being taken, or might be taken, away from us. For some the entrance is marked by an experience of death, this is either a deeply psychological experience, or for some an actual near death experience. For this is how it feels for many of us, that our ego, our self, is dying. See Core Self

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