Thursday, January 21, 2010

To be on the road...

...means to actually belong to the journey. Unbothered about the destination. Absorbed in the process. Living the moment. Stepping out of a secured existence and testing the waters of the universe. Why do you go on this journey? Maybe because you're fed up of the humdrum of the daily existence. Maybe you find life totally screwed up and want to escape it. Or maybe out of circumstances, you go tumbling after life kicks you down the road.

This can have various layers. Every year, millions walk the ancient route to San Tiago in Spain, to the tomb of St James. Paulo coelho's book 'The Piligrimage' is based on his life-changing journey on this route. There are traditions of piligrimage in every culture and most of these have a religious-spiritual connotation. When you're on such a journey, the destination is a bit clear and you've God(or the concept of God) guiding you. And you return back to your life, changed or otherwise. No issues.

Then there's this journey which is undertaken not for a religious purpose, but to discover oneself, to find answers, to share ones truth. Peace piligrim and Jeffrey sawyer come to mind. This is a truer piligrimage than the one that's done as a religious obligation because, nobody but you will decide the path or the journey. The universe is your guide and caretaker, and more often than not, it's a delicate balance between luck and self-grittyness that determines whether you survive to tell your tale or not, whether you come out of it scarred or enriched.

There's another journey, a path without destination but also without any hope. You walk this, not to find answers but because you have no answers. Mostly escapist. Fatalistic. You might get destroyed but it can also enrich you and turn you around, if you're lucky. On the borders of society, you can meet amazing as well as horrible people. I've walked this road twice and come back alive and still hopeful. That experience will remain an important part of my outlook/attitude for the rest of my life although I don't recommend or wish the same for anyone else.

But there's one journey, which I'd not paid much attention to. David Monbiot sums it up in his one line review of a which a remnant population flees in terror as it is hunted to extinction'. The movie that prompted these thoughts is The Road. A fantastic portrayal of an utterly bleak future which looks probable within a few years.

We have romantic notions about the collapse of the existing systems. At least I do. And I know deep down that these are not wishful fantasies. I believe(with a grain of direct experience) that life isn't just three dimensional, that there are higher realities beyond our everyday lives, which can be accessed by anyone with the help of sustained spiritual practices. That very soon, as the existing structures begin to crumble, there'll be an explosion of awareness, a shift in consciousness which will take us all to the next level of existence(which will be nothing short of the golden age).

But do we get there without going through an intermitten dark period--I'm not yet aware. Does it happen without any effort from our side? Don't think so. Or what'll happen to those who survive the coming collapses but also fail to make the shift in consciousness? 'The Road' examines such a possiblity, where the survivors have the toughest battle--just to stay alive, to stay sane. This journey, as well as the movie, isn't for the faint-hearted. In fact, you have many characters in the movie taking their lives, unwilling and unable to face the horrible prospect of surviving in a post-apocalyptic world. To stay alive, to continue carrying the fire on this journey, to find meaning in life where no such thing exists-- for these, you need an enormous amount of self-determination, preparation and of course, luck.

Ran prieur lists some of those things we can do, as far as preparation goes: Find a landbase and build the topsoil; plant fruit trees and vegetable gardens; learn to forage and hunt and repair stuff; learn uncommon useful skills; make local friends; work to make your city and region more sustainable and resilient; make friends in other regions in case you have to move; gradually shift more of your activities and dependencies out of the money economy; break your addictions; get healthy; spend your money on tools and skills and long-keeping food; meditate; exercise your intuition. This is not meant to be a complete list, but a list of examples of the kind of thing you should be doing. ..When pavements turn to forests, the pavement does not turn green and put down roots -- plants crack the pavement and grow through it. So do that.

Many on those list, we could be doing already. For me, the attitude is more important than the actual tasks. An optimistic outlook, coupled with a healthy detachment, eagerness to learn/know, humility, tuning to the positives in another person and an affinity for community living. To act and form a commune of like-minded individuals, to reduce the costs of living and live simple, to meditate and experience higher realities, to manifest that expandedness in daily living, to learn self-sufficiency and practise it, to learn and teach essential survival skills--these are the signposts for me, further down the road.

The biggie for me is to experience the mystical and share my truths, to find ways to make the shift in consciousness and to inspire others on this quest. That too is a journey but not a physical one. And the road doesn't stretch out but moves inwards. To be on this mystical road isn't easy. I've been on this road for the past 10 years and am yet to come to grips with my bearings. And amidst all of my other obligations and never ending tasks, it's high time I took this journey seriously and venture deep, with all my heart.


  1. Actually your last description was much like our hippie movement in the 60's except the healthful living also included drugs for psychiatric expansion...which would have backfired had the society maintained that venue. There have to be producers and gleaners or we all die.

  2. We are all on a journey, but only some - with little dust in their eyes - can see that.

    (I think the Buddha used the phrase "with little dust in their eyes" Its not mine!)