Still there?
 

I’m glad you’ve come with me
So far

From this point,
Things may get a little strange
For what follows,
Is my own report from the wild:

First,
I’ll tell you about what I discovered,
In the wildness of Japan
 

Second,
I’ll relate what I found,
In the wildness of the desert
 

Both accounts are real
 

I hope you’ll stick with me,
A little further
I promise you nothing in return

.

THE PATH OF WILDNESS
Mustering the courage to live

About this section

     This chapter was originally composed in Japan, and before I began going alone in earnest. I wrote The Path of Wildness in response to the many young people who contacted me during my time as a Japan-based YouTube content creator. Young people dreaming of Japan, yet unable to muster the courage or resources to make their dream real and writing to ask me how this trick was done, and what advice I could offer to help them get away from whatever unsatisfactory life they were living. I responded with The Path of Wildness, which is a metaphor for courage and action, and a reminder of the risk of waiting too long, and a challenge and method for getting unstuck.

The Path of Wildness

     As I near fifty, I’m becoming increasingly aware that my situation is like a man holding his breath in a sealed container of water, with less than a minute of consciousness remaining. Now is the time to scratch something meaningful on the wall to share what I have seen and learned:

          The Path of Wildness is easy to find
          The course of a stream
          Leaves blown in the wind
          A beast’s track through the brush
          And the direction of our first inclination

 

     The Path of Wildness is an answer and response to a prescribed way of life which may leave some individuals with a sense that their living is little more than a series of pre-determined, step-like episodes between birth and death. The stages of living between these events: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, parenthood and senior, are themselves natural, and in accord with the needs of the species, and most individuals. Many find satisfaction in living this course, and to these individuals I have little to say. Others though, long for something more, something innate, genetic, and seemingly calling. Adventure and change can give a degree of satisfaction and relief, yet even these may seem too tame, and the results often only temporary. To those who feel drawn to something beyond the entertainment and stimulation of senses, I offer a walk along The Path of Wildness. Don’t bother penciling the event into your schedule, preparing a pack with goodies and supplies, or even inviting a friend along, for this experience is along the course of your first inclination, and you must surely always go alone.

The problem: life has no apparent meaning

 

     My adventure videos on YouTube have produced a steady stream of email from people who tell me about the dreams they can’t quite bring themselves to live, and their fear of being alone, and feeling their lives don’t matter. However, nobody ever says it that way, and instead they cloak these worries as simple life anxieties, or blame their trepidation and inaction on various personal or familial infirmities and challenges. They do this to convince themselves these simple facts are the true cause of their churning worry and hesitation. They attempt to avoid a deeper fear. A hidden threat which is more real and threatening to a quality life than any surface level anxiety. It’s a demon of sorts, lurking in the shadows of conscious thought, peeking with knowing eyes in the direction of our mortality, pointing a crooked finger at the hazy terminal point of our life, while offering a suggestive grin that nothing will be found beyond. This thought, along with the weighty implication it bears that life is without inherent meaning, appears to be the more real and tactile cause of the concern I sometimes read in the words of those who write to me. I never point this out though, as I suspect they prefer I go along with their bluff, and humor them with a response in keeping with their stated concern. Reality, after all, can be a fearful thing to face. However, I will now attempt a more honest answer, reflective of my own life experience, and sincere interactions with others.

     This light and living we now know offers a stark contrast to the nothingness we intuitively sense existed before our birth, and the same nothingness we fear a return to after life is done. In fact, this fear is far worse than a return to nothingness, as we are each capable of holding a vision of Hell in our minds more terrible and real than the worst damnation preached from any austere and authoritative pulpit. This greater terror is our sense that the universe can get along without us, that our life and living are of little real consequence in any way, and that our best efforts will account for little beyond the temporary comfort given to the handful of individuals we share and interact with, before death takes us away utterly, permanently, and forever. This is the real terror so many struggle to avoid, which reason and honest inquiry coldly reveal as true. An abject fear of ultimate insignificance and meaninglessness in the face of the curious fact of temporary life in an otherwise lifeless universe.

     I don’t understand why the thought of death—real death, absolute death, with no chance of recovery, salvation or continuation—is more tolerable to some than others. However, I suspect this acceptance may relate to some level of comfort and familiarity with being alone. Not that anyone will be alone after death, as even the concept of alone then would be wishful thinking. Nevertheless, during life, if we can abide our own company for extended periods of time, then the thought of being without others, or ourselves even, after death, may somehow become more palpable and acceptable; a more familiar, intangible something, and somewhere, less feared, as accepted, or perhaps resigned to. To such a person, a life without absolute meaning may be acceptable: days, months and years of striving to no absolute end alright, and nothing to fear. To such an individual, the journey itself becomes its own purpose, the momentary satisfaction and good feelings connected with virtue their own worthy end; where virtue is defined simply as the pursuit of objective well-being for ourselves and others. Death then offers no transition, but is seen as a simple, final, stop. A period, and ending of effort, and of striving, and of reflection towards understanding which yields nothing more than transitory and ultimately meaningless gain to ourselves and those to follow. But is this a bad thing? If yes, then it’s understandable that many protest, recoil and fly from such thoughts. But if no, then our breathing can relax as we measure each inhalation as one of the few we get, and use the fuel of this living to move our body and activate our brain in such a way as to create our own meaning in these passing moments, and to pursue objective goodness in the willful expression of perceived best ends.

     So what words can I say to those who write to me asking my thoughts regarding their worldly dilemmas? When my suspicion tells me their real concern is actually a fear of their own unimportance, and the utter finality of death? In most cases I will engage their most direct questions, and give the best answer and suggestion I can, given my untrained, and un-credentialed qualifications. I wish though, that I could speak to them more plainly, and tell them that their deeper fears are real, and then ask them to explain their terror for my own benefit, and then hear my claims which I hope may benefit them. Perhaps then we could both gain from a more honest and humane inquiry and inquisition into facts than any civilized, restrained or judicial discourse could provide. For my part I am now prepared to lay my humble case before any who may care to hear.

Opportunity: available light

     Mind is an instantiation of consciousness, formed of energy organized within the brain along pathways designed of genetics, and molded through the unique living of each individual. There is no soul in the sense of anything transcendental or eternal. The fact that our materials and energy are everlasting—having been used by others before us and destined for reuse by the yet unborn—is testament to the fact that our person is temporary and ephemeral. We are, individually and collectively, a brief, dim and fast fading spark and flash of material and energy in the darkening night of the universe. In this fact we discover both our dilemma and great potential: the challenge being to remain upright in the face of our utter, fleeting insignificance, while engaging whatever meek will we can muster towards observation, reflection, and art, while the light and sound of the universe wash across our senses.

     Without apparent purpose, we are left to decide for ourselves whatever meaning, or significance should guide our days and actions. This is the great dilemma of the individual, which demands forthright acceptance of the facts of the observable universe, and withholds any complete explanation or guidance. You must stand alone. You must recognize your solitude. You must hold yourself upright despite unstable footing and the approach of death. You must withstand the awful winds growing stronger, and control your trembling hands while strange howling emanates from the wilder places, and no trail or trodden path indicates the direction of safety. From here—if you can quiet the heart and gain control of your senses, overcome, or learn to tolerate feelings of isolation, loneliness, and fear—then you will be prepared to make your own one-way path through the wild, to step where the weeds are tangled, and small, biting creatures lurk with hairy legs, slicing jaws and venomous sting. This is your path to follow. A truly dangerous and terrifying route none has ever trod or may ever again follow. The light is faint now, and growing fainter as the evening and night of your days grows near. Follow the dusk and note the sights. Speak of what you see. Describe your world in writing, or painting, or photography, or spoken word. Poetry especially, is a natural and well-suited vehicle to capture this ever-declining experience. Walk your path and observe, and then tell the story of your own brief available light.

Health: exercise and eating well

     Your good philosophy depends upon your body, which relies upon your health, which rests upon the choices you make as to exercise and what you eat and drink. Devote some time early in life to an understanding of what makes good bodies, and then take care of yourself accordingly. What follows is a summary of my own, imperfect exercise and diet solutions.

     I exercise daily. However, my exercise routine is light, easy and requires little time. My base workout is a fifteen-minute pool swim. My swimming style is very low impact. I do a gentle breast stroke for five laps, and another five laps backwards-breaststroke, alternating these two styles between each lap. The backwards-breaststroke is something a swim instructor taught me, and involves simply resting face up on the water (like you would do with a conventional backstroke) though instead of reaching back over your head to do a reverse crawl, simply lift your arms to your sides (while keeping your arms in the water) before then stretching out your arms to give a nice stroke until your hands are again at your waist, and your arms parallel to your body. This stroke takes a little practice, but when you’ve got it down the process is easy. This swim is low impact and very relaxing, as you can look up at the sky while gliding gently through the water. I especially enjoy this swim in the evening at sundown, when I can watch the first stars twinkle into view as the azure Southern California sky fades to black. When enjoying this backwards-breaststroke, just beware you don’t bang your head on the far end of the pool as your mind floats off with the clouds...

     As mentioned, my swim is my base exercise, and I do this every day. However, I also enjoy walking to provide a lower body workout. To this end, I typically walk between two and four miles daily, either spread out over several small walks (like a fast mile during my breaks at work), or one very long walk at the start or end of the day. If, for whatever reason, I need to skip some exercise, it will be my walk, as the swims are not optional, and can only be missed for reasons such as illness or lack of access to a pool. Rain or cold weather are no good reasons to not swim.

KURT’S IMPERFECT DIET

But much better than what I was doing before…

  • 5:00 AM – Wake up and drink a glass of water

  • 5:15 AM – Shave, shower and then “drink” a blended vegetable smoothie made of:

    • Kale

    • Spinach

    • Broccoli

    • Carrot

    • Beet (lots of this)
      Note: I blend four glasses of this mixture ahead of time, which I keep in the fridge. I don’t add anything to the smoothie other than the above ingredients and a little water or lemon juice to help get the blending started.

  • 5:30 AM – Single, large fried egg with a slice of buttered whole wheat toast which I share with the dog while watching the news on TV.

  • 8:00 AM – Large mixed salad (same ingredients used in the smoothie, but with two handfuls of nuts and dried berry trail mix). I sometimes use lemon juice for dressing.

  • 11:30 AM – Bowl of homemade chili with a slice of whole-wheat bread. I make a huge vat of chili every other Sunday, which I then portion out during the weeks to follow. The chili consists simply of a variety of beans and lots of finely chopped veggies. I season with a tablespoon of cumin and another tablespoon of chili powder.

  • 3:00 PM – Small bowl of lightly salted popped popcorn as a mid-day snack. I pop a week’s worth of popcorn on Sunday nights, which I then store in my cubicle at work. An alternative to the popcorn are a few slices of unsulfured and unsweetened dried mango. Over time, the mango has almost come to replace the popcorn.

  • 6:00 PM – Enjoy another smoothie (same as above).

  • 8:00 PM – Prepare and enjoy a healthy dinner. I’m lucky, as my wife is an excellent cook, and she makes outstanding Japanese meals for our dinner. I eat as much as I like of whatever she makes, which is always good and healthy, and satisfies whatever want of gluttony may linger at the end of the day.

 

     This menu is my own and reflects my limited sensibilities regarding taste. I’m sure that someone more adept in the kitchen might find better and more satisfying alternatives. Of key importance here is the absence of processed foods, sugary drinks or excessive sweets of any sort. I do allow myself an occasional fast food meal with my family, and an infrequent indulgence in salty snacks such as chips, or sweet desserts like a cookie or a piece of candy. Popcorn at the movies is a must, as well as a few other simple and periodic indulgences which help to give my life spice and interest, without taking away too much from my efforts at eating well. As for drinks, I limit my intake of coffee to no more than two cups a day (three if I’m writing), and I try to avoid fruit juice (too much sugar) and sodas. A beer or glass of wine are fine in the evening, though these seem to hold less appeal for me with each passing year. Starbucks is a must! My favorite is a Grande-sized, extra-hot mocha with two pumps of syrup and whipped cream—after all, everyone’s gotta have an indulgence or two to punctuate the serious and difficult work of living well. I occasionally enjoy this particular treat in the evening, after work, when I sit down to answer my personal email, as I find the sugar/caffeine boost to be a nice stimulation to my improved human response.

 

     I can’t emphasize enough how important I’ve found diet to be in the pursuit of a happy, balanced life. I was 47 years old when I developed this diet, and sadly spent so many years feeling tired, anxious, irritable, unproductive and downright unhappy, before I learned the very common-sense fact that what I ate and drank, and how much I moved, impacted greatly the biochemistry of body and mind. If you choose to attempt only one aspect of my proposals in this book, then I recommend the adoption of a healthy diet and light program of exercise as the thing to do.

 

Action: The Path of Wildness

     Once healthy, and in a position of understanding regarding the possible deeper fear and trial which makes life such a challenge to those who wish to live a meaningful life, as well as peace of mind when thinking of what apparently doesn’t follow when life is through, you may then be ready to act in the direction of wisdom. Indeed, you may be prepared to rise to your full stature as a man or woman of reason, to apply this faculty towards the higher, perhaps seemingly more worthy acts of a well-lived life. This then, is the time to step upon The Path of Wildness.

          The Path of Wildness is easy to find
          The course of a stream
          Leaves blown in the wind
          A beast’s track through the brush
          And the direction of our first inclination

 

     Do not mistake the concepts of “wilderness” and “wildness,” which are related yet distinct terms. Wilderness is a place commonly regarded as devoid of most human influence. Stretches of desert in the American West, the far reaches of the Arctic and Antarctic, and most areas of the Earth’s oceans are good examples of wilderness. Few such places on Earth remain utterly untouched by humanity, though many are nevertheless quite wild, and capture the spirit and essence of regions where humans are more alien than familiar. Wildness, on the other hand, is the landscape of freedom. Wildness is less a place, and more a region of uncertainty, risk and very real danger. Wildness is a feature of wilderness, though it is entirely possible for a well-trained, outfitted and prepared human to enter wilderness without venturing very far into wildness. However, those who step into wildness may do so without ever leaving their home; in fact, they may enter wildness from the comfort of their recliner, or in the company of friends and family—though in practice wildness is most easily accessed through wilderness, which is one of the reasons I have spent so much of my life alone in the outdoors.

     Why should someone venture into wildness? Why risk the danger, isolation and fatigue of exploring alone (even among others) where chance or bad choices may leave you crippled or mortally wounded? There are several benefits which vary in degree, depending upon the character and interests of the explorer, though one benefit is of special use to all, as it grants to the user a most useful skill and habit, and which, through training, can transform the timid, fearful and meek, into brave, spirited explorers. That quality is simply the character of courage in the face of the unknown, and a willingness to step boldly into seemingly dangerous regions of ignorance and uncertainty; to confront our weakness and shortcomings in open field, where neither can hide, and must instead be viewed for what they really are; and once surveyed, then likely dismissed as unworthy intimidators, whom we order to stand aside as we stride past into the deeper darkness and cold. Not pride, nor unwholesome confidence, shall replace these fears, as these too cannot fail to fall away during our struggle through the wild places. Indeed, most superfluous human traits are vulnerable to being lost along the way, as the close cutting branches, vines and thorns pull away everything which sticks out from our person, and which is not essential to our truer character and inner strength. This is the singular gain and ambition of movement along The Path of Wildness. To wear away our excess, refine our better spirit, and help us develop and maintain the courage necessary to live well, as long as the light continues to shine in our eyes.

          The Path of Wildness is easy to find
          The course of a stream
          Leaves blown in the wind
          A beast’s track through the brush
          And the direction of our first inclination

 

     I’ve described The Path with the above words deliberately in order to leave clues in the commonplace experience of nature which are easy enough to follow, and as a simple training of sorts for the more challenging foray of trust in our personal instinct. I have a reason for relying on instinct, though I understand that instinct is not always right, and in fact may often be quite wrong and dangerous. Nevertheless, despite the risks, instinct is something we all seemingly have, and a sense we can start with when doubt and uncertainty threaten to immobilize our movement. There are times for rest, and times for action, and most of us can easily sense when change is needed; though sometimes we lack the will or conviction to make the first step. It is at times such as this that I recommend moving boldly onto The Path of Wildness. This is done by probing our immediate senses for a hint of which way to go, and as long as the urging does not cause us to walk over a cliff in our first step (steps and cliffs are, of course, figurative in many cases) then we should lift our foot and begin moving, or lift our will and push forward with thought, resolve, voice, interaction or whatever form of human living might be involved. We move. We start. We have direction... It may not be the best direction, but courageous movement away from irrational fear or unwarranted timidity is often its own reward, and course correction can usually be made once we are underway.

     Once upon The Path, the brave explorer should expect two things: danger and treasure. The first is very real and may wound, cripple or even kill. Expect to emerge from your foray bleeding, lame and perhaps a bit deranged for the experience. Yet, a wholesome perspective might view such damage as nothing more than the expected price of discovering treasure where none like you has ever ventured. New explorers may hope (and likely succeed) in carrying away fresh wealth in the form of possessions, status or acclaim from the lonely wild lands. These can indeed be had, in abundance in fact, though the glitter and sparkle of such tangible gain may appear as rust to those who go still further in search of the intangible treasures of mind and experience. These brave individuals will most likely return from their ventures exhausted to the point of collapse, pale with blood loss, and slightly mad from the close proximity they achieved to the source of the terrifying howling which can only be heard in the most extreme frontiers of dark and bleak wildness. Their pockets will certainly be torn and empty, and they may be unable to speak clearly of the wonders they’ve seen, though this is less due to any defect in the speaker’s voice, and, more commonly, is a result of the hearer’s excess comfort and certainty, which blocks the ears to truth as surely as beeswax. I recommend applauding anyone who returns alone from the wild lands, whether they bear treasure in both arms or gleaming ear to ear within the broad expanse of a blessed, mad smile. Do this, for each is a person of courage, someone who has broken clean of the quicksand of complacency and fear, and who is exercising those most rare and critical faculties of the human species: courage, freedom and autonomy. But remember also that some who step upon The Path will never return. Some will become lost. Others will die. Still more may give up and return by some secret way to rejoin those, who, in fear, remain huddled together in warmth and comfort, and possibly some degree of lifelong despair. These are the things you can expect upon The Path of Wildness.

     Go then, when you feel lost. Step fast, when you suspect your confusion or hesitancy are heeding some unworthy instinct, and are borne of the fear of suffering, and not suffering itself. Move swiftly now in the direction of your first instinct. Call your best critical faculties to the fore, and demand they guide your every footfall. Expect to tire and fall, be ready to suffer, understand that you may die, though know also that along the way, with every step and action, you are living the truest, most noble and worthy venture of your life.

Result: Creating meaning

     Those who venture upon The Path of Wildness will find a meaning of sorts in the energy, joy and experience of living a life of courage, a life of periodic misstep, mistake and failure, tempered with breakthrough, discovery and understanding. Taken together, these qualities cause life to acquire a depth and character which is humbling, satisfying and reassuring. Our living becomes a beautiful sum of many parts: sour, sweet, bitter, raw and savory. A delicious banquet of days which fills our mind like a feast fills our stomach, and gives us pause along the way, and in the end, to rest in sated comfort at the fullness of our life.

Notes from my muse

     I wrote the following verses during an early period of inspiration from my muse, while still living in Japan, and under the influence of the green, lush, watery and very wild and geologically young mountains of the Japan Southern Alps. The words and phrases here are much simpler than what comes to me now in the desert, conveying less my thoughts about The Great Indifference (which I had not yet recognized in nature) and more simply, my paradoxical understanding that there may be no living after life is done, and that the universe holds no precious mandate for our lives other than to simply stay alive as long as we can, and perhaps to pass our genes into another generation. The words below were originally augmented with images, which you can see at the web address in entry seven of the book’s appendix.

No dragons here
only darkness

 

~

 

A simple human purpose:
to ask,
and answer
questions

 

~

 

No more purpose
than to outlive ourselves
and then really
not even that

 

~

 

I stand alone
in the cold
confused
lost
yet content

 

~

 

Avoid excess certainty

 

~

 

Erect no edifice
you’re not willing
to destroy

 

~

 

Biology informs me
I’m corrupt
and degenerate

 

~

 

The howling on Mt. Wildness
beckons with fear

 

~

 

Ignorance is my constant companion
ever at my ear, whispering nothing

 

~

 

Fearful musings are best

 

~

 

The howling always comes
from further than you are
willing to go

 

~

 

I don’t fear being wrong
I fear believing I’m right

 

~

 

The universe only ever offers
so much raw entertainment
at some point we must begin
to improvise

 

~

 

The improbable palette of silence
raises color and tone
from nothing

 

~

 

Death is comprehendible
that’s why we hide

 

~

 

Your own face
is fearful here

 

~

 

Every step
a triumph of will

 

~

 

Meditate too long
and the way is lost

 

~

 

There’s no need to venture outside
to explore in wild places
curiosity, reason, instinct and courage
are the sole necessities of adventure

 

~

 

Mt. Wildness is a place
more terrifying than fear
more remote than the unknown
for it is both

 

~

 

Making an adventure
of living

 

~

 

There are no fresh starts
only new steps

 

~

 

There are no bridges here
where streams are cold and fast

 

~

 

Mt. Wildness
is the landscape of fear
a truly dangerous place

 

~

 

There’s a woodsman’s cabin
on the near slope of Mt. Wildness
abandoned many years

 

~

 

Go alone
and any road
can become a path

 

~

 

After a certain point
we all begin to dissolve

 

~

 

The blessing
of becoming lost

 

~

 

Ordinary light
becomes strange
and stranger still

 

~

 

Innocence renders the initial step unnecessary;
for youthful movement is from the first intuitive,
earnest and seemingly irrevocable

 

~

 

Sometimes go
where you do not want to go

 

~

 

Mt. Wildness is a dark place
full of light

 

 

~

 

If you fear dark places
then stay where you are
otherwise come
where none can be your guide

 

~

 

Let wildness guide
never trust it to lead
lest you never return

 

~

 

Move or stop if you are so inclined
have courage for either action

 

~

 

The map of indecision

~

 

Any road
can become the path

 

~

 

Time and distance must always impart change
too long or far and friends become strangers,
longer still foreign and longer yet alien

 

~

 

The features on your face
trace the course of the path

 

~

 

Attitude coupled with action
cause the path to appear

 

~

 

Push into the haze
expecting nothing more
than an opportunity
to become lost

 

~

 

Faces become strange
too long on the path

 

~

 

Get busy
before the curtain starts to fall

 

~

 

One step and you’re on the path

 

~

 

Precedence is abhorrent

to those upon the path

 

~

 

Those who stare very long at the light
must surely go blind

 

~

 

Either course will do

 

~

 

The light is not an end

 

~

 

Companionship is a warm distraction

 

~

 

The path is outside
though not always outdoors

 

~

 

Tunnels aren’t dark enough
find another way

 

~

 

The path runs through the machine

 

~

 

Bridges aren’t real
find another way

 

~

 

A single step is sufficient

 

~

 

The way is clearer still
under cover of night

 

~

 

Keep walking
the sun is setting after all

 

~

 

It’s good to work alongside your humility,
and share the excess weight of pride,
with our only true and honest companion.

 

~

 

When I was 18 ideas flashed past my
consciousness too fast and fleeting to
catch or even properly apprehend.
At 28 I squeezed them from my
mind with crayons and loud music;
raw, textured notions wholly adolescent
and shaped like cliché. 38 allowed no
time for such nonsense. 48 finds the
ideas returned though now I’m too
tired and fed up to attempt to lead,
and instead follow meekly wherever
the sunlight moves, seeking warmth
and thoughtful respite in whatever
time remains.

 

~

 

Instilling fear and the suspension of
critical thinking are the methods of
those who themselves fear and refuse
to think. refugees of reason huddled
in the dark, begging company and
offering stale sustenance if only
you’ll acquiesce.

 

~

 

Stationary strides are longest

 

~

 

Only individuals can have courage,
for the group can never truly be brave

 

~

 

If you ever doubt your way
and question right or left
choose the darker, dense and overgrown route
for this is where your ignorance is thick
and where passage will surely
come at a price

 

~

 

For a time in my 20’s I didn’t wear shoes.
it was hard at first though my feet soon toughened,
and I walked with ease over every surface,
without discernible wear and feeling everything.
I wonder what might become of my consciousness,
should I give up my learned conventions of thought,
and trod tread-less across the landscape of mind.

 

~

 

Wildness is found
wherever courage
provokes another step

~

 

Moving at the pace of interest
we arrive sooner

 

~

 

To discover and engage in art
is to spend a lifetime upon the path

 

~

 

The Path of Wildness is a solution
for those not seeking escape

 

~

 

It’s better to remain alone in your room
than with another in the wild

 

~

 

The slant of sunlight and shadow
also mark the way

 

~

 

Expect curves upon the path

 

~

 

Only life can traverse the path

 

~

 

The path of wildness
is a hiking philosophy
and a theory of adventure

 

~

 

I’d offer my hand as guide
only then we’d lose our way

 

~

 

Shadows lie along the path
shadows point the way
the darker the better

 

~

 

The Path of Wildness is purely secular
and in no way spiritual
Biology is the defining and controlling factor
there is no sentience guiding our steps
save perhaps the collective experience
encoded in our genes

 

~

 

The Path of Wildness is largely irrelevant
to a civilized mind

by this I mean that the willful
thoughts and guided actions necessary
to become and remain civilized are not
always in keeping with a pathway
oriented along the more intuitive
nudgings of our first inclination.
though we may at times
perceive the path, we are perhaps
less inclined or able to step or
remain very alone along its
uncertain course. though this
can always be achieved if the
way is within our mind only
and we are able and willing to
seek some haven from distraction
for the duration of our wanted journey

 

~

 

Thoughts grow feral
on The Path of Wildness
linger long
utterly wild

 

~

 

I expect to die here
and soon…

 

~

 

I’d like to share with you a great recipe for solitude: simply talk, act, think or believe unlike others

 

~

 

Beware the far side of Mt. Wildness
where our words become babble

 

~

 

The only streams here
are cold, fast and treacherous

 

~

 

There’s a howling on the mountain
something worthy of fear

~

 

I fear no social circumstance
for I’ve been to Mt. Wildness

 

~

 

There’s a howling
in the darker brush

 

~

 

The old shack
at the end of the road

 

~

 

To walk the path
is to adventure on life

 

~

 

Making life
into an adventure

 

~

 

The frontier of relevance

 

~

 

Any road can become a path
if your step is resolute
and your thoughts quite alone

 

~

 

You and I are dissolving
day by day

 

~

 

Dissolution is genetic, bodily and
seemingly essential. do, make and
say what you must before everything
turns to sand.

 

~

 

There’s a sea below Mt. Wildness
a howling thing roams the woods
and a woodsman’s cottage on the near slope

 

~

 

I’d rather not
know by instinct
without a thread
of honest reflection

 

~

 

Trails are courses

 

~

 

What trails do you follow?
what paths do you blaze?

 

~

 

Honest virtue
requires no accolade

 

~

 

Suppress
or ignore
appetite

 

~

 

We’re all
crippled and suffering

 

~

 

Hesitate long
and the path will be gone

 

~

 

Practice your art

 

~

 

Paths are formed by instinct
trails by consensus

 

~

 

I’m making a sign on the frontier of Mt. Wildness
my hope is that it will help keep travelers safe
but not too safe

 

~

 

The darkness is repelled by courage
step towards it and it moves away
though one day it will not

 

~

 

Return by another way
an unknown way

 

~

 

The course of your first inclination
is nothing more
than a catalyst to action

 

~

 

They’re all dying words
make ’em count

 

~

 

An investment in relevance

 

~

 

Play a bit longer outdoors
before you at last
must go in

 

~

 

Abandoned paths
everywhere you look

 

~

 

The Path of Wildness themes:

  1. fear and courage

  2. action

  3. the path

  4. a willingness to suffer and become lost

  5. alone

  6. immediacy

  7. intuition

  8. acknowledging death

 

~

 

Fast movement
hinders progress

 

~

 

Sanction is petty compensation
for a lifetime upon the straight and narrow

 

~

 

You are not on the path
if the way is very easy
for very long

 

~

 

The most fearful thing
is the distant howling

 

~

 

The path is fearful
and dark

 

~

 

Failure is tolerable

 

~

 

Light your own way
up the slopes of Mt. wildness
where the dawn never comes

 

~

 

The random and ordered patterns of entropy are beautiful
when we can overcome our tidiness

 

~

 

Birds always fly along the path

leaves always blow along the path

 

~

 

If you are every uncertain how to start
simply follow the leaves and tread in the direction of bird flight

 

~

 

Father and son can walk the path
just never together

 

~

 

The surest sign you’ve left the path
is when you meet another along the way

 

~

 

The Path of Wildness is easy to find
the course of a stream
leaves blown in the wind
a beast’s track through the brush
and the direction of our first inclination

ABOUT

Going Alone was begun by Kurt Bell in an effort to help others understand and manage  the recognition of the apparent indifference of the universe to our well being, happiness or even our existence, and to find ways to make a good life in spite of this fact.

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