Monday, August 10, 2015


"Stop your goal-seeking..."  These are words (from A Trackless Path) that resonate with me profoundly.  Ken McLeod, commenting the Jigmé Rinpoche text he is translating, notes how hard he himself finds this to do: "Stop checking or tracking your experience.  Stop managing it.  Stop your goal-seeking."  He's referring in this passage, I think, specifically to meditation practice, but for me it's profoundly resonant about where I stand in my life today.  Perhaps the two things are not so much different--it's all about experience.

Here's the thing: I'm conditioned by past experiences and beliefs to seek goals in my life--to achieve something, to be someone.  It's this conditioning that is the cause of suffering at this stage of my life, when I look back and judge that I have not yet done enough, that there is more to achieve, more to accomplish, if I am to fulfill my potential.  What Ken's book teaches, reminds me, is that such striving is pointless.  He teaches, reminds me, that all I really have is the experience I'm living in right now, and that in losing sight of that experience by time-traveling into the past or future, I risk allowing the reality of my life to pass me by.

George is the great teacher in this regard.  You might say, Well, George is just an animal, he's a dog.  And that's true.  He lacks the ability to "check" or "track" his experience, to "manage" it, to "seek goals."  It's laughable to imagine him doing these things.  His innate wisdom lies in his ability to rest in the experience of the moment, without judgment, without belief, without reflection, without the seductive delusion of hope.  He is experiencing old age and sickness, as we all must do.  His joints are arthritic--as we know from x-ray images--his heart swollen with congestion, his breathing uneven.  Yet he lives simply in the experience of it all.  He does not struggle with it, try to change or manage it.

So there it is.  "Stop you goal-seeking."  What a comforting thought.  How obvious, how wise.  And yet... how hard to do.

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