If you feel like you’re spiritually lost, be thankful. Smile. Laugh. Dance. Your lucky star is shining brightly on you. You’re way closer to the mystery we call “God” than those who believe that they’re on a well-marked path to the divine.
There’s no such thing. I’m not confident of much when it comes to religion and spirituality. But I’m quite sure that the road to God doesn’t have any white lines down the middle of it. You can’t see, feel, hear, smell, or touch it. The surest way to know if you’re off the track is to say, “Ah, this is the way.”
The cosmos doesn’t reveal its ultimate secret—whatever that might be—so easily. If there was a road map to God, or a guide who could take a seeker there, this reliable spiritual direction finder would have risen above the many spurious claimants whose cacophonous urges to “Follow me!” make the world’s religious bazaar so noisy.
For about thirty years I believed that I’d found a singular path to the divine. I thought that Sant Mat, in the guise of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, had it all. A living guru who served as a guide. A map of the mystic territory to be traversed. A meditative technique to move you along.
When it dawned on me that I wasn’t getting anywhere, nor, by their reports, were any other of the many fellow disciples that I regularly conversed with, I faced some choices: continue on with my seemingly progressless path; search for a path that showed more promise in taking me where I wanted to go; or embrace the path of pathlessness.
I’ve settled on the last option. Both my heart and my mind say Yes, Yes, Yes to it. For how long they’ve been making this utterance, I can’t say. Maybe my whole life. I don’t know when I wrote these scribbled words that were on a piece of paper that fell out of “The Bijak of Kabir” when I picked the book up this morning.
Lost. Get more lost. Further lost. So lost that I’ll never be able to find even myself. So lost I can’t even find the meaning of “lost.” Darker. Deeper. Where the wild things roam. The place that I’ve always avoided because it’s the place that I know I have to go. One day. On death day. I’m afraid to look into that hole. It will swallow me. I want to be eaten alive. So I won’t die again. There’s no avoiding it. But it’s the easiest thing to miss. The obvious always is.
I can tell you, it’s devilishly difficult to become spiritually lost. I mean, utterly lost. I keep finding paths in the wilderness of my mind. In my daily meditation I frequently find myself saying: “God damn it, I’m still following some tracks!”
Even when I finally seem to be lost—what a joy—I eventually realize that I’ve been following a trail marked “Lost.” I’m still on my way to somewhere, not nowhere.
Reading a book about pathlessness isn’t the same as being there. But “The Bijak of Kabir” encourages me to keep on looking for the emptiness that has no entrances, no exits, no ground, no air, no walls, no floor, no anything. And no nothing.
Here are some thoughts that are attributed to this 15th century North India mystic who eschewed all religions and didn’t write a word.
Seek the bird’s, the fish’s path. Kabir says, both are hard. I offer myself to an image: the great being beyond boundaries and beyond beyond.
Heaven and hell are for the ignorant,
not for those who know Hari.
The fearful thing that everyone fears,
I don’t fear.
I’m not confused about sin and purity,
heaven and hell.
Kabir says, seekers, listen:
Wherever you are
is the entry point.
Pandit, you’ve got it wrong.
There’s no creator or creation there,
no gross or fine, no wind or fire,
no sun, moon, earth, or water,
no radiant form, no time there,
no word, no flesh, no faith,
no cause and effect, nor any thought
of the Veda. No Hari or Brahma,
no Shiva or Shakti, no pilgrimage
and no rituals. No mother, father
or guru there. Is it two or one?
Kabir says, if you understand now,
you’re guru, I’m disciple.
Remembering the empty, the easy,
a light broke out.
I offer myself to a being
based on nothing.
Drop family, drop status,
seek the nonexistent space,
destroy the shoot, destroy the seed,
reach the unembodied place.
Knowledge in front, knowledge in back,
knowledge right and left.
The knowledge beyond knowledge
is my knowledge.
Moving within limits: man.
Moving without limits: saint.
Dropping both limits and non-limits—
In the wood where lions
and birds don’t fly,
in empty meditation.
Use the strength of your own arm,
stop putting hope in others.
When the river flows through your own yard,
how can you die of thirst?
They searched and searched, searched some more—
it just kept disappearing.
After all that search, when they couldn’t find it,
they gave up and said, “Beyond.”