Saturday, 5 March 2011

How far have you got?

Each of us sets out on a journey. None of us knows how far we will travel; none of us knows how far there is to travel. None can predict the twists and turns the journey will involve. So none of can say of any other that he or she has (only) got so far (which would imply that we have gone further or know all about it - none of us knows how far along we are. There is no set course to run. The spirit may lead one person further than another, but who can say so? There are no merit badges, or black belts. I may be able to say that I am further along than I was, but further along than someone else? No way. Praise be.


Nadine Wills said...

Your bit "There are no merit badges" really struck me. Hmmm. I'm not someone who I think really cares much about external recognition but on the other hand am focussed on endpoints. Where do I think I'm going and why aren't I there yet and how will I know when I'm there are questions I ask myself I suppose. That's where merit badges or all sorts of other things you could insert as "proof" of having gotten somewhere or being good enough I suppose. Wrong questions, wrong focus, wrong answer. Keep thinking maybe I need to stop trying to get anywhere at all and just be happy where I am. Then I - metaphorically, but sometimes literally - run around in circles for awhile because that thought makes me very anxious indeed for allsorts of reasons. Interesting. Thanks.

crawlingfromthewreckage said...

perhaps there is a way in which the journey we embark on is the journey towards ourselves. The Christian Scriptures speak the culmination of the journey in terms of 'then shall we know even as also we have been known'. One could say, as psychoanalysts say, that to know oneself it is necessary to delve deep psychologically and recognise the trends and archetypes that make up the psyche and so on, but for me one will ever really understand onself until one has gone beyond all the studied angst and decisively broken through the low energy.
And the journey itself is marvellously sufficient unto itself. The first major epiphany in my life happened when I was about 18 years old and I had decided to hitchhike from Stonehaven to Stornoway on the island of Lewis. One night, quite a dark night for a summer night, I decided to sleep in a field inside my sleeping bag. I climbed over the style and everything was fairly dark, so I couldn't see what was in the field. I woke up, I suppose it must have been three or four o'clock in the morning and right there, were several horses gathered around me, one of them nudging me on the head, and to all intents and purposes trying to wake me up. Perhaps they wanted to find out if I was dead. This was the first thing on my journey that I encountered that was truly and marvellously beautiful. There is something about horses. You either know it or you don't. I didn't at the time. I do now. And the vision and the understanding came unbidden. I had never before seen a horse at close quarters. My journey had disclosed to me a part of myself that I never knew existed.