If you look at every human being through an x-ray machine you will only see a skeleton walking around. That’s what we all are, walking skeletons. Place the skin back onto the bodies and the conditioned mind will begin to tell you how different each ‘walker’ looks. But the mind doesn’t stop at stating the simple fact that differences in appearance exist. This would be a statement of truth. Instead, the mind begins to associate those differences with its past experiences, its conditioned history.

The fact that “differences in outer appearances exist” is then inundated by the subconscious stream of subjective opinions, biases, and judgments. The subconscious mind is not ME, but the master puppeteer pulling all the strings, determining the course of this man-machine’s actions (or more accurately, re-actions). The mind says things like, “This human being appears ‘good’ and that one appears ‘bad’. This person looks “wealthy” and that one looks “poor”. This woman seems ‘sophisticated’, that man seems ‘vulgar’, and so on and so forth.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - "The Walking Dead"

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon from “The Walking Dead

This morning in a shop I saw a man whose appearance instantly attracted my attention. He was an employee at the shop and when I asked him a question, his mixed thick Boston/New York accent brought me back to my New England days and to all the boys I once knew who attracted me in a similar way (both in reality and on the movie screen). In fact, to me he had the same kind of magnetic bad-boy-with-heart appeal that Norman Reedus who plays Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead has. Of course, my association of this stranger with “Daryl” is a conditioned response, while the “Walking Dead” series in which “Daryl” appears is a post apocalyptic fiction much closer to Reality.

Human nature is not usually a product of choice, but a product of repetition, accumulation, and interpretation. In this way, humanity as a specie continues to reincarnate along beaten paths. Beaten paths can never give birth to any truly original creation, but are traversed only by the walking dead.

THE BEATEN PATH (AMC's "Walking Dead")

                                                THE BEATEN PATH
                        (Photo Credit: AMC‘s “The Walking Dead” Series)

On the morning I walked into the shop I lacked energy (by no means a new phenomenon). As I walked out of the shop my Intending Self felt a little disturbed as a jolt of energy surged through my entire body. My mind flooded with excitable thoughts of future endeavors and these thoughts translated into a little pep in my step which I didn’t previously have.

I began to think of how I’m going to start exercising and eating right on Monday morning, an utterly dull and repetitive thought which has been playing like a record in my mind for what seems like centuries. Lofty thoughts of approaching the world with new found optimism swirled in my head – lofty not because I’m incapable of such an act, but because the thought is not the act.

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But why should the Intending Self feel so disturbed? Simply put, this daydream was nothing more than a momentary excitement of the mind. The thoughts and accompanying emotions (or is it the other way around?) pushed anxiety to the back burner by feeding the mind a generous helping of imitation confidence – hot air. A sense of well being followed, and the feeling of lethargy and associated aches and pains immediately subsided as the dark dull cloud within me dissipated.

At the same time this was happening (this ‘high’, like its preceding ‘low’, wasn’t being generated by choice), the Intending Self conceded the switch with great unease. Obviously, some old self of mine was energized by the superficial appearance and mannerisms of a man who then became an object of basic ‘desire’. Associations never die, but they can be starved. The object of desire is always irrelevant, as there are desires of all kinds. The mechanism of desire, however, is one and the same in all human beings, and maybe one of the most difficult to deprive of energy. But intellectually I knew that this man was nothing special, at least, not by measure of appearance.

My perpetual desire and resolve to get back into shape had long ceased to associate itself with wanting to “look good”. After children and getting a little older, the reason had changed to simply wanting to remain positive, healthy and active. But suddenly, the instantaneous energy I received from the old resolve to get into shape was flooded with images of how I looked back in my college days. I remember how boys used to look at me and how I could, if I wanted, have almost any boy I wanted.

But these old associations disturbed the Intending Self even more. She clearly saw that in those so called “good looking” college days there was no Peace, without which there can’t be Love. Not to mention that most men weren’t interested in much more than good looks and “shining” personalities. Personality, of course, is an acquired trait. All my past ‘relationships’ can’t be called relationships but incidental meetings that took place from ‘outside’ to ‘outside’, leaving behind (because I allowed them to), some residual negative energy.

As I drove to my next destination with this pumped feeling of renewed vigor and the Intending Self watching and warning, “all bodies grow old, all hot things grow cold”, I decided to STOP, DROP, and ROLL. I was going to put out the fire, not by pouring water on the flames, but by realizing that fire, like ice, is a transient state of being.

All natural phenomena are the right and left hands of nature. They are beyond my control as they give and take in cycles, without pity, and without discriminating between this skeleton and that. Like all physical forms of nature they come and they go: Fires rage until the waters come. Waters flow until the Sun shines. In the company of the Winds, The Earth grows and rots. All that’s in my control is my Attention.

(Video Source: Clip from Cale Glendening‘s Documentary, Varanasi, India: “Beyond” – Also created by Joey L., Ryan McCarney)

In a moment the world spread before me like a living blanket upon which an entire human race walked not as individuals, but as ONE RACE of SKELETONS, indistinguishable from one another. There was no beauty, and no ugliness. There was no ‘cool’ and no ‘lame’. There was no hot and no cold; no good and no bad.

This is the way I want to approach Life. I won’t let myself walk on any beaten path. and when walking skeletons are all that I SEE, the body, mind, and heart ease onto the Pathless Path. All overlying excitements, and underlying pains vanish like the apparitions they truly are. We are all ONE. ONE race of beings who at their core are all interconnected, and for now, bound by their repetitive, mechanical, zombie-like nature.

When the mind and body align with the present moment, the left and right hands of nature are revealed not only as equal, but as immaterial. So if ever you, for even a few fleeting moments, SEE all living beings as the walking skeletons they are, rest assured that you cannot be part of the dead walking down a beaten path, but an individual being full of life, creating an intended state of peaceful balance from moment to moment.