- Morpheus in the Matrix Movie.
If we could take a journey, make a pilgrimage together without any intent or purpose, without seeking anything, perhaps on returning we might find that our hearts had unknowingly been changed. I think it worth trying. Any intent or purpose, any motive or goal implies effort—a conscious or unconscious endeavour to arrive, to achieve. I would like to suggest that we take a journey together in which none of these elements exist. If we can take such a journey, and if we are alert enough to observe what lies along the way, perhaps when we return, as all pilgrims must, we shall find that there has been a change of heart; and I think this would be much more significant than inundating the mind with ideas, because ideas do not fundamentally change human beings at all. Beliefs, ideas, influences may cause the mind superficially to adjust itself to a pattern, but if we can take the journey together without any purpose, and simply observe as we go along the extraordinary width and depth and beauty of life, then out of this observation may come a love that is not merely social, environmental, a love in which there is not the giver and the taker, but which is a state of being, free of all demand. So, in taking this journey together, perhaps we shall be awakened to something far more significant than the boredom and frustration, the emptiness and despair of our daily lives.
-J.Krishnamurti (The Collected Works vol XI, p 243)
tree doesn’t look to its future with dread. Instead the squirrel lives each day, doing the things it loves to do, without a mere thought to its future. Only man squanders his “now” either reliving yesterday or
worrying about tomorrow and things that may never come to pass.
Life is like a river. It often takes the path of least resistance. When you’re standing on the river’s edge the river looks like it is straight as an arrow. But look at it from the air and you’ll see that it meanders left, then right, and at times it even reverses itself. When these reversals happen they are often just detours along the path. Accept them as exactly that, detours. The Universe knows where you’re going and will always provide you the perfect path for getting there.
In "The Conference of Birds," there are some birds who also wander off the path and those who flee it. The birds are, in essence, questing for the fiery phoenix, that which can rise from its own ashes back up into illumined wholeness again. In the beginning, the thousand birds set out to enter into and pass through seven valleys, each one presenting different barriers and difficult challenges. The thousand birds endure increasingly hostile conditions, terrible hardships, and torments —including horrifying visions, lacerating doubts, nagging regrets. They long to turn back. They are filled with despair and exhaustion. The creatures receive no satisfaction, nor rest, nor reward for a very long time.
Thus, more and more of the birds make excuses to give up. The attrition rate continues, until there are only thirty birds left to continue this harsh flight that they all had begun with such earnest hearts —all in quest for the essence of Truth and Wholeness in life —and, beyond that, for that which can light the dark again.
In the end, the thirty birds realize that their perseverance, sacrifice, and faithfulness to the path —is the lighted feather, that this same illumined feather lives in each one's determination, each one's fitful activity toward the divine. The one who will light the world again —is deep inside each creature. That fabled
lighted feather's counterpart lies ever hidden in each bird's heart.
-Farid Ud din Attar
When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.
Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy -
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.
Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don't in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn't anything else to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn't deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you'll have understood what these Ithakas mean.
-A poem by Constantine P. Cavafy
1. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.
2. The Hero’s Journey by Alvin Soon.
7. Ithaka – Poem by Constantine Cavafy.
8. Conference of Birds by Farid Ud din Attar.