Pathways - humanity's search for its soul-- WHITE CAT BOOKS - inspirational reflective fiction, semi-fiction, non-fiction, about humanity and relationship

inspirational reflective fiction, semi-fiction, non-fiction, about humanity and relationship

~~~~~~~ Pathways - humanity's search for its soul ~~~~~~~


In "PATHWAYS" the author has explored how we manage our relationship with the key elements of our human experience - ourselves, others and the planet - in our search for a meaning beyond the transience of individual existence.

"Simon Cole writes beautifully and his book is itself a kind of lyrical meditation while being the fruit of many years' experience as a therapist and spiritual explorer... Like all spiritual and mystical writers who have served an arduous apprenticeship, [he] is concerned not with solving problems but with changing attitudes and altering perceptions"
  Brian Thorne (University of East Anglia & Norwich Cathedral).


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Scroll down to read extracts
Read from the chapter : "From the Beginning"
We need to tell our stories. They begin in many places and happen on many levels. Individual lives, tribal narratives, histories of peoples and races - the steady march of the species which had become humans. Stand back and it can be like looking at a mountain range as dusk approaches, turning the distant landscape different tones of lavender, blue and purple, each massif a layer of deeper hue, but each one having its own place in the panorama.

We are composed from the lives of generations. Our beginnings have been many. Our awareness grew with what we touched and what touched us, changing the world with an endless procession of discovery and invention. Thence the stories. Stories of family, friends, school, work, successes, sadness, intimacies, sons, daughters… relationships all, because it is the nature of this human animal to connect.
Occasionally, though, it is alright to allow it to just be ourself alone and then, then a different kind of awareness, the paradox of a gaze which inwardly focuses on the being of one and yet still contains a beyond - the mountain range emerging out of nothing and disappearing beyond our view. Breathing in, we draw into our body the whole of creation, and, breathing out, we return ourselves to our place in that whole. The gaze and the breathing as one. In the turning, an infinite stillness.
Read from the chapter : "All Real Life is Meeting"
...So what is in the I-Thou? “Just everything”, says Buber. Except, necessarily, liking the person to whom you are speaking. This maybe seems paradoxical at first, until you realize that it is about doing a relationship, not doing a friendship (necessarily). And it is about universality and inclusion and not about selectivity and grouping. It will always be relatively easier to be amicable and accepting of peers and associates and like-minded people, but for Buber an understanding of I-Thou and its indivisible link with the fundamentals of being human goes beyond that. In our era, if we chose to heed this way of genuine dialogue and respectful encounter - the ‘meeting which is real living’ - from this man who was respected at the United Nations and advocated a state for post-war Palestine with equal rights and status for Arabs and Jews, then we might, we just might, discover the pathway of peace.
Genuine dialogue demands an absence of preconception and prejudice, an absence of agenda with regard to the other party, an absence of expectation about the outcome of the encounter. It predicates an openness and receptiveness to the other which goes beyond active listening and acknowledges her or his validity in terms of ideas feelings and emotions, and the integrity of their existence as another human being.
Read from the chapter : "Love's Path - wishing to give and willing to receive"
... and what grows from exchange
We could try this out together now, if you like, this sensing of the process, as you sit reading.
Think of a piece of music you know and like and that fits with your mood of the moment, and now let me be with you in your mind playing it for you  - I play the piano and so it would be in a piano version. You are listening to a piece which resonates with you right now and will evoke, perhaps memories, perhaps images, perhaps thoughts and feelings, in tune with how you are in yourself; but it also evokes something else, which, though it may be similar, will not have been with you in the silence before the music began. Before the music began there was the ‘state’ of how you were and how I was; and then the music, being listened to, being played, transforms these for us both. The process of transformation has as its catalyst the sounds which I am creating and we are both hearing and which will influence but will not predict where you and I will eventually arrive.
Music, a touch, a look, our words, they all have a donor and a recipient: all are catalysts of transformation, all have an intention and an outcome and a sequel (because process is continuous) and they are given meaning by all three of these.
As I play to you, I want to share, not just the sounds which the composer has given to the world to do with what it will, but also the part of me which creates a meaning for me in the sounds; as you listen, the same sounds find a place in you where their meaning for you evolves to kindle your response.
And if it were not music, but a touch or words, arising from what I thought was a love I felt, could it truly be love just because I felt it? Or can love be only that which wakens the heart that would be wakened? Can we truly say there is love, unless love comes back?
Read from the chapter : "Letter to the Reader - it matters what you do"
Le Clézio in his novel “Désert” paints a picture of passing Touareg travellers in the Sahara:
​“Who are you?” ​
“Bou Sba. And you?”
​“Youemaïa” ​
“Where are you travelling from?” ​
“Aaïn Rag.” ​
“I am coming from the south. From d’Iguetti.”
Both acknowledged. Nothing more. But, in the vast empty spaces of a desert which seems to assimilate anything that moves on its surface, life has happened. The process is beyond the meaning of the words and outside the physical encounter. Thus, witnessing might be mutual, and physical, as with Le Clézio’s travellers, but still the connection between the happening and the witnessing is meta-physical, for the one does not owe anything to the other.
The chorus in the theatre of ancient Greece were witnesses to the action of the play. They served other purposes too - they filled in the plot for the audience and explained the significance of events; they served as foil, as confidant, as sounding board for the leading characters - but principally they witnessed. Their presence turned tv drama into an epic; the parochial struggle of individuals into another footfall along humanity’s highroad. If the confrontations between the heroes and the gods in Greek tragedies are seen as the intra-psychic turmoil of the human mind, product and incarnation of divine retribution, then the chorus is the listener who validates with an empathic ear.
The solution to all human challenges begins not from macro-concepts, but in micro-actions. Actions prompt exchange. Exchange requires dialogue. Dialogue - true dialogue - is a meeting. True meeting means surrender - surrender of certainty, surrender of assumptions, surrender of self-centredness… and an openness to being a part of all our futures. Humility. Inter-dependency.
Too often the person we think we see is the person we ‘need’ to see in order to satisfy our own biased and partial view of reality - we might say the person we see is a reflection of ourselves - so that with megalomaniac certainty we can carve out the world as if all that is required is our force alone. But yet our force, inadequate as it will always be, can be augmented and transformed by those others if we allow them to truly be who they are, with all their might. Then, finally, unconstrained by myopic defensiveness, the energy of the meeting will reach beyond, to the next meetings and the next, its curve becoming exponential, with the power to entrap humanity in benevolence, as it carves out the path which leads to the tipping-point.