Final Reflective Essay: Leaving the Road Behind
For me, the most direct and observable impact of this course has been my decision not to continue pursuing a transpersonal path. While difficult to communicate without sounding arrogant or aloof, there is a great deal of simplicity in embracing mystery. There is an abiding knowing, beneath the known, which dissolves itself in silence – and in that silence finds itself. Faced with the difficulty of trying to articulate the indescribable, amidst the vast expanse of collected transpersonal theories and personal belief systems, I find myself drawn toward greater and greater simplification, toward greater and greater silence.
My general personal impression is that the transpersonal field feels too broad, too undisciplined, and too focused on experience – too invested in the transcendent, or in trying to make the transcendent appear scientific. I don’t mean for this to sound critical – it’s not. There are as many opinions on the subject as there are people in the world. I’m just drawn to silence, simplicity, and solitude – seeing these as a suitable remedy for what ails us in society today. As I captured in an email to Dr Erickson last week, “After 20 years of contemplative practice and ten years of pointing others in the direction of experiential non-dual insight, silence really is the substrate of wisdom. I always feel it important to weave this point into all of my writings, just in the same way that all of my teachings simultaneously provide and demolish liberating concepts so that clients and students can begin to see for themselves just how the mind operates; always trying to find an answer – and yet every answer gives way to more questions in an endless cycle that starts to look like a spiritual hamster wheel. And here we are, sort of laser focused on various conceptualizations of transcendence. From where I stand though, there is no ‘transcendence’, one must actually transcend the mechanics of mind to the point where one transcends transcendence itself and just resides in Being – whole, complete, fulfilled. No more questions, no more discontentment; just being at one with the mystery, living in dynamic harmony with the way of things”.
In practical terms, the tendency toward silence and simplicity is now drawing me toward working with others, in a clinical setting, to address “stress, anxiety, and anxiety-related mental health conditions among working adults”. This feels more meaningful, concrete, and actionable. My intention, therefore, is to leave the transpersonal domain behind and focus on something more clinical – something where I can honor my own inner silence while working with others. This is by no means a negative outcome. Indeed, if the class brought forth clarity for me, dispelling what I ‘thought’ while also exposing where some of my unobserved attachments lay dormant, then I consider that a success. What will happen next is just as mysterious as everything that has led to this point – so, I’m okay with not knowing and with not needing to know. I’m okay with letting go of this direction and opening myself to other possibilities that feel more true to me… and to my work with others. Whatever I say though is riddled with paradox and ambiguity – so I just find myself stepping back into silence and relaxing into the way of things.
Thank you all for our time together… it has been a pleasure.