A Cat on the Edge of a Ledge

by Christopher Lovejoy on July 20, 2019

This past week saw me be a witness to mainstream news clips of a young cat on the edge of a ledge. On the surface, this might not seem like anything remarkable, until you hear that this preternaturally aware cat was standing, walking, and lying on its back 28 stories above ground.

Like many others I’m sure, I watched spellbound, but I did so serenely, and without judgment, for I could see a potent lesson in the scenarios that played out across the screen of a cat that seemed oblivious to its danger. In this curious situation, was ignorance not more than bliss?

Perhaps this is a case less of ignorance, which implies willful intent, and more of nescience.

At any rate, what lesson about personal fulfillment might we pull from this anecdote?

*

On a path of purpose, the mind is wholly engaged through passages of time. On the pathless path, however, the negotiating mind takes a back seat to the navigating heart. On the pathless path, which is forever found pathless in retrospect, fulfillment is forever found in the moment.

In the language of Latin, carpe diem ~ appreciate every moment.

In the language of Huna, manawa ~ now is the moment of power.

On a path of purpose, the mind remains alert to opportunity while meeting what is desired. On the pathless path, however, the heart remains alert to possibility while meeting what is required, even if this means living life on the edge, whether or not anyone knows this to be so.

With these two paths of fulfillment, there’s more flexibility here than one might suppose.

One might follow a path of purpose at work and then follow a pathless path in leisure. One might follow a pathless path at work, as and when one can do the work without thinking about it, and then follow a path of purpose in leisure, in pursuit of owning a skill, a study, or a subject.

One might be inclined to follow a path of purpose, living life wholly on purpose, or one might feel inclined to follow a pathless path, living life wholly on the edge, not unlike a cat on the edge of a ledge.

*

At this point, a paradox emerges: a pathless path might be followed on purpose.

I invite you to consider what this could mean for you and the course of your life.

From a causal point of you, you would follow such a path with the vibrational awareness of a cat on the edge of a ledge, with the navigating heart of an explorer, as a living, loving example of an eloquent, evolving, exquisite expression of life in response to such questions as …

who? me
what? the pathless path
when? now
where? here
why? to meet what is required
how? to be found in the moment

Such a path might upend everything you’ve ever known about how to live your life; it might mean pushing past childhood and/or adolescent conditioning and programming; it might mean letting go of attachments to all manner of thoughts ‘n things to do what you know is required.

Regardless of how you feel.

Such a path would certainly hone your ability and your appreciation of choosing to act in and with and from and through the moment, of feeling into the moment, of feeling wholly fulfilled in the moment. Such a path would certainly compel you to forgo any reliance on stinkin’ thinkin’.

the more you think and talk, the more you lose the Way;
release the burden of thinking and pass freely anywhere

As this precious ancient wisdom goes, so do you; wherever you go, there you are.

On the pathless path, feeling is not knowing, necessarily. When you’re feeling good, it’s all too easy to receive, reflect, and respond to what comes up in your experience ~ not so easy to accept, contain, forgive, and resolve feelings that threaten to undermine or overwhelm.

On the pathless path, if you must think, think of peace, love, joy, bliss, grace, ease.

*

The pathless path, no matter the extent to which you wish to follow it, is a great purifier of intent when the emphasis of your life is placed on meeting what is required without compromising what is desired.

In light of this grand revelation, the question of how is begged.

Yes, as a matter of course, the question of how is found in each and every moment, but tell this to yourself after deliberately getting yourself lost in a forest to test your mettle in following the pathless path.

And so, what expert guidance might be proffered beforehand?

The first distinction that comes to mind by way of guidance is between (a) “leaping” (as in: “taking a leap of faith to follow the pathless path”) and (b) “approaching” (as in: “approaching a mastery of navigating the pathless path before actually having the temerity to follow it”).

Let me put it to you this way:

How might one go from following a pathless path that is safely and snugly circumscribed by space and time, at least at first, to following the pathless path across an entire lifetime of experience as a physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, sexually fulfilling adventure?

I dare say, for most, including me, such a leap of faith from one to the other seems almost impossible to fake for any appreciable length of time through space. How might one deal with the … uncertainty?

*

No one I know actually likes to feel unsettled, or in doubt, or dependent on chance, especially as and when and where something of immense value is at stake. The trade-off to feeling uncertain is an experience so valuable that most would rather take a pass: spontaneous freedom.

Spontaneous freedom.

You feel alive to promise and possibility.

You feel energized by opportunity and adventure.

You feel wholly engaged by life and love.

You feel the pull of fulfillment in every moment.

What could be more enticing?

Now think of a cat on the edge of a ledge.

What could be more dangerous?

Again, the leap is too much for most to take (and fake).

And so, what approach is best?

*

In coming to terms with the best approach to following various pathless paths on the way to following the pathless path, one really should be willing to admit that one might not actually succeed in pulling it off (at least not in this lifetime) and still be relatively okay with that eventuality.

Having said this, you would do well to come to terms with a quality that at first might leave a bad taste in your mouth: purity. And here, I’m not talking about “being undiluted or unmixed with extraneous material.” Nor am I making reference to “a woman’s virtue or chastity.”

My sense of purity is not so much “lacking knowledge of good and evil,” but more akin to “a state of being unsullied by sin or moral wrong.” In this light, your name, identity, character, or reputation might be sullied, more or less, but your intention in any given moment remains pure.

A quick example: the person (or persons) who put the cat out to follow a pathless path along the edge of a ledge 28 stories high might have been acting on this pure intention: to demonstrate to the world that this healthy, happy cat has a high degree of vibrational awareness.

But then again, maybe not.

The law of creation that pertains to this matter is simple enough to grasp: what I put out is what I get back. More to the point, if I keep putting out negative vibes, in whatever way or by whatever means, the vibes that return cannot help but neutralize or negate my best efforts.

Whatever I do with ill intent is bound by cosmic law to catch up to me.

And sooner rather than later, in light of the higher frequencies.

The Purity of a Good Intention

It is to my credit if I know enough not to take a leap and follow the pathless path. It is also to my credit if I know enough to cultivate, calibrate, and consolidate the requirements necessary and sufficient to follow various pathless paths on the way to following the pathless path.

Before I reveal the various pathless paths as a training ground by which to approach and follow the pathless path, I will re-calibrate the W5H frame that I offered above to set a firm and pure intention:

who? me
what? a pathless path
when? when I feel so inclined
where? where I feel so inclined
why? to be more resilient in the face of uncertainty
how? to be found in every moment

There is no need to push or pull, stress or strain.

The relevant intention can be averred as follows:

In this place, at this time, I follow a pathless path, attuned to every moment, to meet what is required, without compromising what is desired, to be ever more resilient in the face of uncertainty.

A pure intent is calm, clear, clean, fresh, and firm.

The Purity of a Good Question

In view of the pathless path, pure questions lend support to pure intentions.

In my experience of being on a pathless path, it has been all too easy for me to fall into a state of awe and wonder, and with sincerity, be inspired to pose any one or more of the following questions …

Why do I feel so calm and clear?

Why does everything feel so fresh?

And why do I feel so alive to it all?

Such questions can only draw more of the same, in other ways, on other paths. If someone joins me on my pathless path, and we discover ourselves to be simpatico, I am usually given to wonder: how it is that we can be so accommodating, so in tune with the other?

Suddenly, everyone around us seems unusually friendly, prompting me to wonder out loud: how is it that these people can be so kind and generous? In the wake of such wonder, this question might be inspired: why is humanity so intelligent, so resilient, so innovative?

Alone with the cosmos, I might ponder such questions as: why is this world so wonderful? Why is this planet so beautiful? Why is the sun so magnificent? In wonder: why is the Creation so mysterious? Why is the Creator so imaginative? Why is the universe so benevolent?

Can it get any better than this?

Again, such questions can only draw more of the same, in other ways, on other paths. Invariably and inevitably, however, the ever insecure, immature human ego must intervene and interfere as and when it begins to feel ignored by the purity and positivity of such questions.

As I mentioned above, when you’re feeling especially good about it all, it’s all too easy to receive, reflect, and respond to what comes up in experience ~ not so easy to accept, contain, forgive, and resolve feelings, urges, and impulses that threaten to undermine or overwhelm.

Feeling grounded and centered in a neutral space from a witness perspective is an invaluable skill in view of the pathless path that almost anyone can cultivate and calibrate to receive “the message” in any given encounter while thanking and dismissing “the messenger.”

What are these feelings, urges, and impulses that threaten to undermine or overwhelm, that stimulate flight or fight (or freeze), and that serve the crucial, causal point of you to learn, grow, evolve, and ascend into ever higher frequencies? What pure questions might be posed to facilitate acceptance and containment on the way to forgiveness and resolution, lending support to the purest of intentions?

In this context, the hallmark of a pure question is that it invites acceptance and containment, first and foremost, with a positive descriptor that makes the question relatively easy to pose so as to accept and hold the energy threatening to undermine or overwhelm in the moment.

The first group is relatively easy to share:

fear: hmm, why am I being so vigilant?
doubt: hmm, why am I being so protective?
worry: hmm, why am I being so imaginative?
sorrow: hmm, why am I being so concerned?
regret: hmm, why am I being so responsible?
apathy: hmm, why am I being so contemplative?

The second group is not so easy to share:

lust: hmm, why am I being so insistent?
anger: hmm, why am I being so provocative?
guilt: hmm, why am I being so righteous?
shame: hmm, why am I being so persistent?
grief: hmm, why am I being so demonstrative?
despair: hmm, why am I being so comprehensive?

Never forget that the point of these creative, constructive questions is to foster acceptance and containment on the way to forgiveness and  resolution. If you’re feeling any of these disruptors, there’s a good reason, one that invites healing, wholeness, and ultimate resolution.

Here’s a more nuanced set of questions:

confusion: hmm, why am I being so careful?
irritation: hmm, why am I being so challenged?
annoyance: hmm, why am I being so activated?
resentment: hmm, why am I being so incisive?
frustration: hmm, why am I being so decisive?
_______: hmm, why am I being so …?

Which feelings do you grapple with on a regular basis?

On the pathless path, the human ego is especially vulnerable (owing to sudden unexpected bouts of fatigue, confusion, or illness) to feelings that can undermine or overwhelm one in an instant, which might explain why the pathless path is not the most popular path to follow.

How might one become more resilient in the face of such uncertainty?

The Purity of a Good Practice

Wanderlust ~ the (very) strong and (often) irresistible impulse to travel ~ is yet another feeling in a long list of feelings that can put the seeker on the pathless path before adequate time and energy have been given to preparing for the inevitable pitfalls (and pratfalls) that await.

In the wake of setting a pure intention (see above) and getting good at asking questions that foster acceptance and containment, forgiveness and resolution, the purity of a good practice comes highly recommended prior to following the pathless path through the world at large.

From a causal point of you, vibrational awareness is key. Recall the cat on the edge of the ledge. Here are a few practices for cultivating vibrational awareness on the move, which I invite you to do periodically, recalling that “in times of risk or stress, cultivate stillness”:

  • feel your way through (relative) darkness: begin with familiar surroundings and work your way into surroundings that are not so familiar; with each successful attempt made, but only if you’re feeling it, keep increasing the density of darkness to the point of absolute darkness
  • walk along a (relatively) narrow path with your eyes closed: begin with a fairly broad, well-worn path and work your way onto paths that are not so broad or well-worn; consider, too, curbsides (or even curbs), as well as other manufactured paths (use your best judgment)
  • take a trip with an unknown destination: start with a trip close to home and gradually move away from familiar territory; “follow your nose,” make a point to “be here now,” and “find your sweet spot” between meeting what is required without compromising what is desired

In view of these practices, the ultimate pathless path practice is to mix and mingle with people you’ve never seen and met before without any goal in mind and without any expectations about the outcome.

These types of pathless paths (and more) are not unlike “training wheels” for building resilience in the face of uncertainty; as always, recall this golden guideline: in times of risk or stress, cultivate stillness.

The Purity of a Good Pre-Amble

I once watched a documentary on rich people, in which a young man was found sitting in a plush chair at home somewhere between feeling despondent and bored to death (spiritually speaking) with his life.

I wondered what sound advice I could give him, but found myself coming up short, as I have had neither the pleasure nor the privilege of being filthy rich beyond belief. Perhaps now would be a good time for me to give it another go: what advice beyond shameless indulgence?

True, I still have not had the pleasure or the privilege, but I feel myself wiser than I once was.

If there are any ladies or gents out there looking for a way to put some spark back into your lives, consider: in light of the aforementioned suggestions for following various pathless paths, how might one prepare the proper pre-amble to follow the ultimate pathless path?

In my view, here’s one tantalizing, stepwise possibility:

1) choose a destination that you would love to explore anonymously in depth, one that you know you can handle reasonably well with relative ease in relative comfort (this is not a suicide mission)

2) set aside just enough money to (a) reach your destination; (b) settle into your new digs; (c) support yourself minimally for 30 days; and (d) return to your home base in the event of an emergency

3) arrive at your chosen destination with absolutely no idea of what to expect

4) as indicated above, (a) “follow your nose,” (b) make a point to “be here now,” (c) “find your sweet spot” between meeting what is required without compromising what is desired, and (d) do this on your own, while keeping a daily journal of your most notable experiences

5) remember this golden guideline: in times of risk or stress, cultivate stillness

6) review this post (A Cat on the Edge of a Ledge) as required (or desired)

7) make that fateful decision that could change your life forever

The point of this protocol is not to deny yourself, but to bring discipline to pleasure in favor of enjoyment and do so within the boundaries and stipulations provided. A big challenge with this protocol is having someone hold the bulk of your money with an iron fist while you do this.

Some well-off people have been known to drop virtually everything they own at a moment’s notice and move on with their lives, as their lives had grown stagnant beyond belief. With the protocol above, you at least have a way to ease into the transition from stagnant to vibrant.

But what if you don’t have the security blanket that having a lot of money affords?

This is where things get really interesting. Here, I would substitute “resources” for “money,” swapping out material wealth for the indicators of spiritual wealth, such as a wealth of presence, a wealth of wisdom, a wealth of experience, a wealth of refinement, a wealth of ideas and perspectives, and a wealth of social skill to forge helpful or useful connections. Money is just one currency of exchange among many.

the aim in life is less about making money to have more and better,
than it is to cultivate and calibrate the consciousness through which
the substance of life can flow as and when it is required or desired

I would also draw on definitions of prosperity, affluence, and security that are spiritually informed and inspired, which I explored in my post Security and Satisfaction. In crossing the threshold from money to meaning, prosperity becomes more about the capacity to move forward with hope (with optimism and enthusiasm), while affluence becomes more about the capacity to flow abundantly by giving generously.

In this light, security is both a measure and a ripened fruit: to be without care (while still caring). With no ready-made security blanket at your beck and call, here again is the protocol (slightly tweaked):

1) choose a destination that you would love to explore anonymously in depth, one that you know you can handle reasonably well with relative ease in relative comfort (this is not a suicide mission)

2) summon just enough resources to (a) reach your destination; (b) settle into your new digs; (c) support yourself minimally for 30 days; and (d) return to your home base in the event of an emergency

3) arrive at your chosen destination with absolutely no idea of what to expect

4) as indicated above, (a) “follow your nose,” (b) make a point to “be here now,” (c) “find your sweet spot” between meeting what is required without compromising what is desired, and (d) do this on your own, while keeping a daily journal of your most notable experiences

5) remember this golden guideline: in times of risk or stress, cultivate stillness

6) review this post (A Cat on the Edge of a Ledge) as required (or desired)

7) make that fateful decision that could change your life forever

As you can see, not much about this protocol has changed from the original formulation. I would, however, add this caveat to your understanding of what it means to follow the pathless path:

focus, not on what you have, not on what you do, not on who you can be, but on who you must be,
so that the having and the doing and the being come about as a meaningful byproduct of becoming

I would also caution you about your service orientation. In terms of the Law of One (a cosmic law, which in my experience is not to be taken lightly), be very clear about whether you wish serve yourself most of the time or whether you wish to serve others more often than not.

Knowing (and holding fast to) your desired (some might say “required”) service orientation will keep you polarized in directions that remain meaningful to you, especially on paths with little if any certainty, as you continue to move and act in greater service to the creation.

So far, I feel that I’ve offered enough food for thought in this post to get almost anyone started on approaching the pathless path with some degree of confidence, but one (very) big question remains …

To Follow … or Not to Follow?

The final section of this post describes a rather disturbing scenario.

Please use your discretion as to whether you wish to continue reading it. I would also recommend reading it if you’ve come to a point in your journey where you feel ready to step onto the pathless path and cross the point of no return, where any certainty at all becomes a luxury.

*

Spontaneous freedom.

You feel alive to promise and possibility.

You feel energized by opportunity and adventure.

You feel wholly engaged by life and love.

You feel the pull of fulfillment in every moment.

What could be more enticing?

Now think of a cat on the edge of a ledge.

What could be more dangerous?

It’s one thing to get a mere taste of such danger, quite another to face up to it on a daily basis with no respite in sight. Just imagine: you’ve released attachments to almost all things, entirely free to come and go as you please, until one day you find yourself no longer so free.

I imagine the energy of spontaneous freedom is often enough to maintain a healthy, vital interdependence without falling too deeply into an eccentric orbit, but life does have an uncanny way of severely testing our resources on all levels, even at the best of times. But then, we, as spiritual beings in human form, also have an uncanny way of passing, even surpassing, such tests, and being better off for them.

The life review beyond incarnational death is a phenomenon whose implications are little appreciated. In reviewing their lives from birth to so-called death, during an experience of near-so-called-death, individuals are often confronted with the consequences of their conduct throughout an entire lifetime, from the perspective of someone that far transcends the perspective of an incarnational life.

In bringing this transcendent perspective into incarnational life, the hearty and hardy explorers of earthly life alike are well placed to follow the ultimate pathless life until incarnational death do they part, giving their anonymous souls an experience of a lifetime and perhaps even a taste of ultimate fulfillment, but the all-too-real possibility of losing their grip on self and life before incarnational death remains everpresent.

Imagine …

One day, you take a hit from life and it’s the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. You can no longer sleep like you once did. Your constant, unrelenting fatigue wears you down day after day, causing you to amplify unhappiness and misfortune in your mind’s eye, or worse, causing you to see unhappiness and misfortune where none exist. Your spiritual exhaustion gives way to a soul retreat, but this retreat does not, indeed cannot, last without any sort of spiritual upliftment. Having exhausted your resources on all levels, you fear the end is near.

You make several attempts to reach out to the kindness of strangers, but instead you reach the all-too-chilling realization that no one can find it within themselves to extend a helping hand, reinforcing your belief that humanity has gone too cold, dark, and mean for its own good. And then, inevitably, someone extends a helping hand, but not long after, you realize it’s too little, too late. You feel doomed to die in despair. You dwell incessantly on what went wrong: “Where did I go wrong? Where did I take a wrong turn?” Perhaps the life review will shed some light.

On your final night, the air is so cold it freezes your nostril hairs. “This is it. This is my ticket to the other side.” Drawing on vivid fragments of memory, you catch glimpses of good times with family and friends until they were no more. You recall the most memorable, most remarkable, most endearing experiences of your life. You summon your strength to be here now, to be a witness to your own passing. As you lie under the stars in a not-so-fine and private place, you stare bug-eyed into space, your body shivering uncontrollably until it can shiver no more …

Now imagine a scenario where your passing from this life is one of unimaginable peace, or bliss, or ecstasy. Are you lying and dying in peace, in a bed fit for a queen or a king surrounded by family and friends? In your bliss, has life dealt you a sudden and fatal blow? In a fit of ecstasy, do you see life passing before your very eyes? In what manner do you wish to die, to pass from this life into the life review?

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labour, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ’tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads’
Were toward eternity.

~ Emily Dickinson

In view of any contemplation of following the pathless path, a thoughtful consideration of the manner of your own death is invaluable: not only does it serve as an anchor for your current incarnation, it also lends a valuable clue to the ultimate theme of your life in this incarnation.

Beneath the intractable illusions of clarity and certainty that we insist upon and persist in constructing and erecting in ourselves and around ourselves, could it be that the course of fate and life itself, exactly where it is moving and flowing now, is the ultimate pathless path?

If so, how best to approach and follow it for real, in truth, with love?

If no, how best to transcend the current course of your life in love?

/

Resource

The posts that follow, in the order in which they were written, are the ones that I feel have the most relevance and significance to following the pathless path …

 

the bare essentials

the beloved mystery

ultimate perspective

 

on prickles and goo

on the pathless path

the ultimate catalyst

 

a soulfish perspective

a soulfish illumination

supportive structures

 

do what you … love?

in a world of bubbles

practical harmonics

 

baseline equanimity

light and lovely secrets

so scary, so dangerous

 

inside a true world order

why? … how? … what?

on being a true submissive

 

be true, be wise, be free

awethentic appreeshiation

ecstasy: a path to mastery?

 

the ultimate harmonic

contentment, enchantment

submissive, transmissive

 

in favor of a light touch

on the way to serendipity

everywhere and everywhen

 

the abundance game

a safe ‘n sound proposition

security and satisfaction

 

alive in a world of muggles

my glimmers and ripples

the ultimate in fulfillment

 

on being open and closed

the best is yes to come

on being the better victim

 

are you living your dream?

how to die before you die

the most essential relation

 

a new chapter in my life

fulfillment is bound by service

on being a cosmic sovereign

 

the way back to zero limits

learn, grow, evolve, ascend

ultimate frames of reference

 

feeling in pursuit of meaning

the fine art of doing nothing

above and beyond the rise

 

let’s be clear about service

worthy of a separate peace

be still: the cosmic option

 

the irony of true surrender

for advanced students only

everything is here and now

 

along the pathless path

a path of many colors

ultimate fulfillment revealed

 

As of this writing (July 19, 2019), the following posts cannot be accessed publicly (likely for technical reasons, having to do with a PHP upgrade). I’ve determined that these posts can still be edited and updated but can no longer be displayed in a browser …

Update (July 25, 2019): the following posts can now be accessed publicly. The fix? Adding meta keywords. It seems that upgrading PHP from version 5.6 to 7.2 required the addition of meta keywords, at least for the theme that I am presently using (Thesis).

s … is for satchitananda

my presence, my power

chop wood, carry water

the ultimate in fulfillment?!

for dignity and integrity

do you do harsh ‘n heavy?

another day in paradise?

 

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