Stèphano Sabetti: Path of No Way
We have discussed earlier that the Tao, or Way of balance, is a general guide to a life of harmony based on the equilibrium of yin andyang elements. Balance in life, while an important basic for harmony,is not usually enough for growth and development. It’s possible, forexample, to be balanced but not develop spiritually. The Tao masters, you might recall, said that enlightenment (ming) was experienced when the “permanent” (ch’ang) was understood as the basis of all change. We would suggest additionally that spiritual evolution is based on the acceptance of all change as a fundamental aspect of the permanent. Much of what daily life shows us, through its experiences, are movements of chaos and surprise – both of which often throw us off our established balance. Consider the ego jolts given by spiritual teachers to help us grow. The author recalls all too vividly the time he was sent to the temple to wash its one hundred fifty square meters of floor on his hands and knees – only to find it had just been done by the previous student! The teacher’s intent was to challenge the sense of ego importance, and question the willingness to surrender to tasks meaningless for the ego, yet spiritually important for the Self.
Simple balance in life leads to what we call homeostatic change11 in which changes maintain a given stability. Spiritual development as evolutionary change, however, requires a higher level frequency to transcend issues of maintenance or daily living to become free of our physical and psychological attachments to them, e.g., possessions, identity, status, etc. (fig. 3-4). Just like an airplane needs sufficient speed and updraft to lift off the ground, so too do we need uplifting influences which help us to see beyond the superficiality of life’s daily routines andaccepted behaviours.
While the influence of an honest teacher is invaluable for increasingthe frequency and intensity of evolutionary change, spiritual experience has shown that when we are open and tuned into spiritual life messages this uplifting also occurs. These messages may take the form of intense, sudden personal interactions, accidents, dreams and sometimes-natural events – even the influx of insects!
Take for example the student on retreat who was struggling to understand and reach her spiritual “goals.” Whenever she was inconflict, ants would cover her door, yet whenever she surrendered the ants would lessen even to the point of going away. All of these apparently serendipitous occurrences are connected to the universal field of consciousness in which all things that interact with us are governed by smaller and larger energy movements in resonance, much like planets in their orbits, but of course on a smaller scale.
The living dynamic of energy moving towards us and our response to it create a dynamic field of two-way influences. The more aware we are of who we are essentially and what we feel existentially, the greater the potential for interactive learning. When this learning has higher-level qualities such as love, peace and ego surrender, for example, evolutionary learning takes place – if we allow ourselves to be open to its teachings. When our consciousness is attuned to such teaching in daily life, we are in evolutionary resonance.
One important dynamic manifest in the Middle Course is the continuous involution of complexity towards simplicity and the evolution of simplicity towards complexity (fig. 8-7). While the involution of complexity to simplicity seems quite understandable, its complement of simplicity to complexity needs a few words. In practical spirituality, whatever becomes simple in us needs to be applied to the complex, so that its forms – although expressions of energy distribution into duality – remain uncomplicated, in essence.
The complexity of the physical world, with its forms and external manifestations, merges with the growing experience of spiritual simplicity through the lively and reciprocal effect of a process we call simplexity. Simplexity is an art that manages the intricate and encompassing network of complexity (L: weave together) through the single gathering of simplicity (L: one fold). Simplexity makes the complex simple and keeps the thread of simplicity in the fabric of complexity. In other words, simplexity is the axial point for the intricate weave of oneness. Simplexity is a process that transforms simplicity and complexity into a continuum of merging qualities. It can be seen in the parallel processes of evolution that create greater complexity in expansion (evolutionary transformation), and involution, which simplifies our connections through con-centration (involutionary transformation). Thus, simplexity is the process brother of resonant synvolution that integrates evolution and involution into a developmental process.
Simplexity is a skill that can be learned. However, it usually develops as a natural outcome of allowing complexity and simplicity to exist simultaneously – one superimposed on the other. With practice, simplexity leads to greater degrees of wholeness, freedom and tranquility. Over time, simplexity develops into a spontaneous lifestyle that doesn’t require asking: “What is my spiritual path” or “What should I do in this situation.” Instead, a feeling of resonance shows us the most appropriate confluence at the time. What comes through us then becomes a moving confluence, instead of the usual “I” driving or holding back mechanisms. Even physical death becomes the last physical expression of resonance, if we have led our lives in peace and harmony. To help you understand more fully, we have “simplexitywise” created a table of comparison between complexity, simplexity and simplicity (Table 11).
Therefore the Path of No Way can’t be a fixed road, but is rather a sojourn of interchange ability. It cannot be otherwise, because every turn we take in our attraction or rejection of the spiritual path has consequences. These consequences lead to other possibilities – but also limitations. It has no end, because it has no beginning. Anyplace and everyplace is the “right” place to enter the journey. The way is not the goal. Every goal, even well-intentioned spiritual ones, are fraught with illusions. This radical approach suggests there is nothing to build upon; there are no stepping-stones or building blocks along the way, only movements and processes that indicate where and how the essential is to be experienced. For this reason, the Path of No Way is known in sanskrit as Avaidha Gati, literally the unsprescribed path. This reminds us of the “bootstrap theory” of physics, which hypothesizes that the universe is a dynamic web of interrelated events. None of this web is fundamental, not even laws or principles. Yet all things in this view have a self-consistency that evolves from its fundamental nature. Similarly, the Path of No Way is like a constantly changing field of consciousness. Whenever we move towards essence or Self, we receive signals of peace, clarity, stability and freedom from its auto-resonances. When we move away, our lives are filled with “roadblocks and detours” – signals of stress, conflict, tightness and uncertainty. Our ability to learn and our degree of commitment clearly show us our priorities. Only the facts of our lives – not the ideas, hopes or fantasies – will show the process basis of a truly spiritual path.