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Curiosity and The Discipline of Being Whimsical

A dazzle of zebras look curiously on at Londolozi Game Reserve

Curiosity is the mechanism by which you pull a destiny better than what you could imagine for yourself towards you.

To remain curious is one of the primary disciplines of a tracker. It takes cultivation and awareness to become a curious person. You need to wake up daily in your own life and be willing to find the unanswered wonder, and then wonder toward it with intention.

This is the paradox: to be disciplined about being whimsical. To learn to follow what brings you to life.

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Growling As a Way to Maintain Harmony

The monkeys in the camp are cheeky. They like to sit on the paths between the rooms and scare the guest as they walk past.  Mostly, it’s a game of intimidation- they advance on you and see if they can make you run away.

Many of the people around the camp have actually become afraid of them. Yet there are certain people the monkeys do not mess with.It can be quite interesting to notice when you walk in a group down the path who the monkeys choose as their mark.

I remember another time when I worked for a period with big cats in a sanctuary that they would immediately select a person in the group that was interacting with them as the one to try and cut from the herd. It was fascinating to see the speed of the selection. Luckily these were cubs we were raising, so there was never any danger, but still the process was interesting.

There is a study that was done some years ago where known psychopaths would watch a 12 second video of people walking down a path. Without fail the psychopaths would select the same people as their victims based on a set of almost imperceptible cues.

We express very subtly to people how they can treat us.  Many people I work with need assertiveness training. They need to learn to stand up for themselves. I think of this as a kind of wildness. To know what you need and where you stand all the time. Like a wild animal, very honest and not at all harmless.

Finding this place inside yourself paradoxically makes you not dangerous but safe. People feel you are not the one to target. Being in touch with your truth says don’t inflict yourself on me or there will be consequences.

I see this all the time in nature. The animals let each other be, stay out of each other’s way and allow everyone to get on with it. Occasionally, when there is no other option, they unleash there teeth and claws and set a very clear boundary.

Trusting you can stand up for yourself according to the studies Brene brown did is the doorway to deeper compassion. She found that the people that were the most compassionate had the best boundaries.

Learn to growl as a way to maintain harmony.

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Finding a True Yes

One of the simplest and most powerful ways to break out of social constraints and be wilder is to find a genuine yes and a genuine no.

It’s so simple and yet it will break you out of all sorts of compliance and obligation.

There is a reason why, in courtroom dramas, the lawyer always says, “it’s a yes or no question.” There is simplicity to these two words that establish a direction without the spinning of elaborate stories. Saying no when you mean no will bring you to your integrity. Saying yes from deep within, before all the reasons you shouldn’t, will open your life.

When I found a clear no it came with all sorts of side effects. I couldn’t act or try to manipulate situations. I couldn’t pretend to be confused or that I wanted to but couldn’t. Learning to say no made me so much more honest. It put me in touch with myself. Then, ironically, it made me less selfish. The more I learnt to say no, the more energy I had, the more I ended up having to give.

This is the paradox of boundaries.

Finding a true yes, one that arose from deep down, started to open me to the things I really wanted to be involved in. A true yes started to discern more elegantly the places I wanted my attention to go. And where your attention goes, your life goes.

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The Way of Discovery

The way of discovery is fluid. The way of knowing is rigid.

The way of discovery invites. The way of knowing tells.

A tracker lives in immediate feedback loops of discovery.  Often when tracking fast they will simply walk rapidly on the line of the animal in small zigzagging patterns.  A track here: warmer…  Nothing here: colder…

They respond to the signs on the earth (or the absence of signs) making quick course adjustments as they move in pursuit of their quarry.

They are learning as they go. Giving themselves the space to try things and work through a process of confirmation and elimination. Often if they lose the track they will amble ahead trying different game paths until they cut onto the track again.

So many people I work with tell me that they are stuck. They tell me that don’t have a signal clue what they want to do. They are often of the mindset that when they KNOW what they want to do then they will begin to make changes. This is the binary mind of culture.   A culture obsessed with knowing the answer from the moment a young mind enters a classroom.  The culture says you can get it right or wrong. The culture says be perfect or flawed. The culture says success or failure. These are the subtexts that the ideals of modern life present.

Life however is not binary.  It asks us to try things, take small chances and allow a vision to emerge out of these experiments.  A new identity comes from giving yourself the space to try things.  To have no clue and, like a tracker, walk on the trail of the discovery.

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Trees of Being

There is a tree I know that has been teaching me about the power of presence. It’s an ebony tree with a thick black stem and dark limbs that flex into a thick canopy of evergreen leaves.

In stillness, the tree is uniquely itself.  It is elegant. It does not have a five-year plan. The tree does not need to look busy to feel valuable or important. It is not actively doing anything. Yet, the scope of what that tree achieves is quite remarkable.

The tree invites birds to its branches. Recently a giant eagle owl took to roosting in the recesses of it dark shaded branches.

At a certain time of year it fruits and monkeys and baboons gleefully take to its branches.

Nyala can bee seen under the tree eating leaves that have fallen to the earth due to the monkeying around in the branches above.

A monitor lizard is living in a hollowed section of the trunk.

The tree’s presence is formatting the space around it. It’s shaping an infinite scape of occurrence simply by being itself. It’s essence arising out of it’s deep unmoving refusal to be anything but itself.

Let your presence invite everything to be itself around you.

Harmony is everything being uniquely itself, and in that way a part of a greater whole.

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The Way of The Leopard

The force of life moves a leopard.

I believe presence is the ability to meet life. It is the simple way that the very intelligence of life guides us in every moment.

Leopards live in this deep union with the unified field of intelligence. They don’t move…they are moved.

What I mean is that a leopard does not have a verbal mind. There is not the mental construction “I should get moving”. But rather the moment shapes them from a feeling, from stimuli – maybe an impala crosses their path. Maybe the day cools. Maybe shade beckons. The unfolding of life asks for an action and the leopard is guided into movement by what is being asked. In this way the leopard’s movement is aligned with the entire movement of the universe.

We see this in humans, in great masters. Martial artists and dancers fall often into this place where the dance and the dancer have become one and the same.

Our goal is to remove all mental clutter, insecurity or trauma, to the point where the moment shapes us and simply informs us of what is required of us. This is the empty way of Zen.

This is the way of the leopard.

 

 

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The Way of The Tracker – Part One

Trackers are adept at creating psychological states. On the trail of an elusive creature they enter a paradoxical place. They are obsessively determined to find the animal but the desire to find it has not been allowed to become a crippling attachment to outcome.  What they commit to in order to generate the outcome is simply the next track, then the next track, then the next.

To me, what it looks like, is the dynamic nature of play. They are relaxed; they allow the moment to evolve. They lose the track and check the trail up ahead the go back to the last track. Lightheartedly enjoying themselves doing something that seems almost impossible, they relentlessly allow the process to unfold.

All transformations begin with a single track and then another. Most profound shifts in our lives come from tiny decisions.  There are things we want, the person we believe we can be.  Between that person and where we are now are small steps… the next track.  Cleaning out your bedside table, an apology, a thank you note.  Learning to say no or yes.

Commit to the next small track, then the next, and meet greatness in the play of process.

This is the way of the tracker.