Finding Our Way, When Lost, takes HONESTY

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Deep Freedom Now is an Invitation to Full-Spectrum Life Mastery (Image by Journeyman O "Full-Spectrum Human Emergence" Small Format, $75)
We Are Shaped in the Shaping of a Greater Aliveness.

Many of us find ourselves with a feeling of being lost today. What do we do when we feel this way?  We try to find our way. How do we find our way?  Surprisingly, finding our way, when lost, is far more simple than most of us ever imagine. It takes Honesty about Being Lost. This approach works as well in our lives as in the middle of a mountain.

How do we find our Way? Imagine, you go hiking up in some beautiful mountains, following a clear trail.  It starts raining but you brought rain gear and you are warm and keep hiking.  After awhile you realize that you’re not sure if the trail you are on is actually the trail, or a rivulet carved out by the rain, or an animal trail.  By late afternoon, you realize you are lost and you’ve already spent a couple of hours trying to find your way back, without success.  Now what?

Before you read on, consider that the invitation here is for you to lead your own learning, and to do so by noticing, not just cogitating. That’s key to finding our way, when lost: YOU DO IT. YOU do it in YOUR Reality. And you do it with your SENSES, NOT just all the pretty things you think about “the world” that is simply  non-sense-ical.

That’s where the honesty comes in: with the courage to acknowledge our being lost, the humility to acknowledge that the non-sense-able “knowledge” we pretend to have is not helping, and the ability to begin relating to reality, here and now, sense-ably.

Ask yourself how YOU approach finding your way, when lost, even write out the answers, and you’ll learn a lot more from your own noticing than from just reading my words. Invest some time in paying attention to your experience and you’ll discover a richness that you may have never noticed, or been actively avoiding. Work from your experience of “being lost,” whether in your personal life, or on the land.

We can approach finding our way much more simply and GROUNDEDLY than most of us will ever imagine.

When we get lost we find ourselves nowhere. Where? We don’t know where.

Many of us may freak out when we lose our bearings and find ourselves nowhere. We want to be somewhere that is ELSEWHERE. We may panic to “know” how to get somewhere ELSE.

Curiously, our panic does not come from being lost, but refusing to ACKNOWLEDGE that we are LOST, and GET COMFORTABLE, FIRST.  Notice that. We insist on “finding ourselves elsewhere” even though we already know that we don’t know how to get THERE.

This is where modern humanity is right now. We are freaking out because we realize that we are nowhere. The deeper our sense of being lost, the deeper our urgency and panic to be elsewhere. Some people panic, thrash around, then give up hope.

I am not here to give you hope. I am here to give you tools to finding your way. There’s a profound difference.

Having spent literal months at a time, alone in vast, sparsely populated mountains, jungles, and deserts, from the Yukon to South America, I have been lost many, many times. Fortunately, one of the first things I learned was how to BE lost, when I found myself lost.

If you are willing to BE lost,

when you ARE lost,

you have already taken the most important step to finding your way.

The FIRST step is to STOP pretending you are not lost.

The next step is to STOP trying to find your way,

and START noticing where you are, and how to get .

My teachers challenged and guided me to SEE, HEAR and MOVE in reality. That’s it! It sounds preposterous to most modern people.  It certainly did to me when I met an old man who told me that I had never seen, heard or moved except in my descriptions of everything. We move in impressions dislocated from our bodies and our Living World. Learning to SEE, HEAR and MOVE is done alone and in places that are often vast and remote. It’s about finding our way.

Curiously, learning to find our way has a lot to do with getting oriented, and comfortable, even when lost.

Most people, when they lose their way, keep thrashing around. They are terrified of “being lost.” During twenty years in the Colorado Rockies, every summer tourists go for hikes up in the Rockies and get lost. Every summer people die.

Typically, they are from Western and Northern Europe, where temperatures are far more stable than they are in the Rockies, which are dry, high altitude, and where hot summer weather can turn to rain, and then to a blizzard, in a matter of an hour, even in the middle of a very hot summer.

Why do they die?

First of all, they have no connected context for where they are. They think they are walking around in a three-dimensional tourist brochure. They act on the basis of impressions-without-context. The very word “modern” from the Latin modo: “just right now” speaks to this decontextualized state of being, that many people are stuck in. We orient on the basis of impressions. Which impressions? The images and the catchphrases that our minds are loaded with.

Secondly, these people die because they refuse to be HONESTLY LOST. They ARE LOST but they refuse to be HONESTLY LOST. They refuse to embrace their BEING, in Being-lost. That means caring for ourselves well and addressing our immediate needs, instead of keeping on trying to discover what we don’t know, i.e. “going somewhere ELSE,” as some idea. Getting well takes getting connected within and without, HERE.

Are you cold? What is available right where you are lost for getting warmer?

People find themselves nowhere and refuse to BE nowhere. They don’t know where they are but they insist on trying to go somewhere ELSE.

The rain’s still pouring. Night comes. Their clothes are drenched. Rain turns to snow. They have no fire, no shelter, no warmth, no energy reserves, and in the morning they are dead, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the key to finding their way and being found: nowhere.

Like my Cheyenne friend told me over and over and over again:

Go slow, get there fast.”

That’s a complete teaching. You can’t get it by just reading the words. You have to use your senses.

Wisdom, from the Proto-germanic wijs: “way, path, trail, track” + the Proto-Indo-European dom: “home, state of, condition of.” Wisdom is “the House where Tracks are made.” You are in that House. Being MOVES. Being makes tracks. ALL Living Beings KNOW Wisdom, naturally, except domesticated humans who are never anywhere and always on their way to elsewhere; disoriented, dissociated, neither here nor there. Wisdom takes NOTICING what moves, how it moves, in the Reality of all that has BEING. A Bacteria has Wisdom and IS Wisdom. Wisdom is its Shaping. So, too, with us. Few of us KNOW from our Shape; we’re lost in who we “think” we “are” with very little NOTICING.

Of course, I thought I could get that teaching fast. It took me the better part of two decades to get that teaching, because of how “fast” I tried to “get” it. Had I truly slowed down all the way, and used my SENSES, the wisdom, i.e. the literal “home of the trails,” in that saying would have been apparent in very short order. But I was enthralled with the “pithiness” of this saying, its “indigenous ring,” bla-bla-bla…

None of that was why my friend told me that repeatedly. He was a True Friend. He was showing me how to find my way, not how to “be Cheyenne” or anything else that I was not. He always encouraged me to discover who, where, and how I was, and what I was related and connected to.

It took me a few decades to get why my Cheyenne friend always had a laughing smile when he said it to me, because of how fast I wanted to get it. HAHAHAHAHAHA. I was in such a hurry it took me two decades to get it.

That kind of thrashing, lost, disoriented, accelerated, hurried, harried mind never even asks, “get where?”

If I had asked that of my oldest Cheyenne friend he would have just smiled at me and said, “yeah, get where?”   and then chuckled.  But early on, with indigenous friends, I learned not to ask them questions, but to ask them of myself and pay attention.

This is how real learning happens.  This is the Old School, literally.  The world “school” points to it directly.  It comes from the Greek skholé: “ease.”

We are acculturated to relying on descriptions, maps, and others to orient us from a mental model, not from our senses.

Part and parcel of being disoriented is always wanting to be somewhere ELSE. We never land where we ARE, and NOTICE.

In other words, we never get that “THERE” is HERE.

When we actually get HERE we very soon discover that HERE is connected to EVERY-HERE, which allows us to go EVERY-WHERE as soon as we allow ourselves to BE and to CONNECT HERE, to HERE, to HERE.

We remain disoriented in the measure that we are never anywhere,

and always nowhere,

on our way to somewhere else.

Don’t just read those words, look at the pointing until you SEE what it points to in your relationship to being “lost,” and getting “found.”

Who are you expecting to “find” you?

Read the question real slow, word by word, and you’ll discover something. I can tell you that those tourists up in the Rockies where expecting someone else to find them, they insisted on getting somewhere else, and they refused to BE lost.

Sometimes my Cheyenne friend would even add, for my benefit:

Go SLOWER and you’ll get there even FASTER!”

Then he’d laugh outright. I wasn’t sure what was so funny. I got it many years later, but that took getting lost so many times that I actually got GOOD at it.  Then I realized what he’d been pointing out.

WHERE is the “THERE” that you’ll “get” FASTER IF YOU SLOW DOWN?

How about if you go even SLOWER?

How SLOW could you go?

Alright, once you’ve figured where “THERE” is, here’s another question:

What’s the FASTEST, MOST DIRECT, and even INSTANTANEOUS way to get THERE?

Think of the tourist lost in the summer snowstorm in the Colorado Rockies: Where is the “there” that he refuses to get? What is the fastest way he could have gotten THERE”?

What does it take to actually GET “there”?

Getting found, when lost, is very simple. Let’s take it step by step:

When lost, we find ourselves nowhere.

Where? We don’t know where. Being HONEST in being LOST means acknowledging “I am LOST. I don’t know where I’m AT. All I know is that I am lost.”  There’s far more knowledge and wisdom and being honestly lost than we acknowledge.  Most people who are lost refuse that knowledge and wisdom in panicked pursuit of “not being lost.” It’s the same mentality underlying the ignorance of the statement “I don’t want to know about the problem, I want a SOLUTION!

My Cheyenne friend called that honesty “humbility,” the ability to humbly acknowledge the abilities you do and don’t have, and then use and grow the abilities you have, instead of pretending you can do something you can’t.

If you go to the reality of that real-eyes-ation, you’ll discover that you can got from being LOST to FINDING YOUR WAY almost instantaneously. What’s required is not getting somewhere ELSE but, rather, getting where you are and how you are and who and what is there with you.

Most people stay stuck on “Where do I go?”


We’re lost. Being honestly lost means acknowledging that we don’t know where to GO.

That means we don’t have the answer to the question. Time for a new question, a question with humbility.

Being HONESTLY lost means acknowledging “I don’t know where I am. I don’t know where to go.”  Then asking “where am I?” and I mean in my immediate vicinity.

Great! The secrets to finding my way are all hidden in that honest acknowledgement:

Quit trying to go elsewhere. Find out where you ARE. Get WELL at being HERE, where you are. Then get to know, connectively and sense-ably Greater Dimensions of where you ARE.

You are already FOUND because you have started finding yourself WHERE YOU ARE. All you have to do is grow the connections and the dimensions of being where you are.

Most people will not STOP. They just keep on going anyways: here, there and everywhere.

They go up that hill, down that valley, over the next ridge, take the yoga class, the Buddhist chanting course, the Course in Miracles, and on and on, more lost at seventy than they were at thirty years of age.

The last thing they want to do is to be HONESTLY LOST; to be HONEST that they are LOST.

The fastest way to get oriented is to STOP!


In that stopping and noticing something almost miraculous happens immediately:

We go from no-where to now-here. “Oh! I’m HERE! Okay. What is HERE where I AM and HOW am I and what’s going on HERE?”

Noticing immediately take us from NOW-HERE to KNOWING-HERE.

Guess what? You are no longer lost. You are Now-Here and Knowing-Here.

This is a very, very rich and life-saving transition. It does not require going anywhere ELSE!

It simply requires embracing your condition HONESTLY, instead of keeping on trying to escape it.

Reread that and then read it in your relationship to reality.

To discover now-here we first start with the closest range of Knowing-Here possible: starting with “how am I, right here, right now? Who am I here with?”  “What is the first priority to getting better, in being right here right now.”

If my feet are in a foot of cold, running water, maybe I need to move slowly to where I’m not in a foot of cold water.

As soon as we discover the realities, the textures, the places that are a foot under water, the places that are dry, where there’s dry wood, dry shelter HERE, maybe some pine pitch to use to light some wet wood, maybe some big rocks to heat up in the fire, then we begin to discover that now-here very quickly loses all sense of terror, of disorientation, and of emergency. We become friends to now-here by knowing-here CONNECTIVELY, SENSE-ABLY.

Everything you need is where you are at.

This is how generous this Living Place you are a Shape of is. As soon as we’re willing to be here, we discover that we can get better and better at being here in very short, constructive, connective, life-affirming order.

We discover that we can actually plush out now-here and get comfortable and ORIENTED HERE.

Suddenly we’re going from nowhere, to now-here, to know-here.

Very, very LIFE-AFFIRMING. Life can only be affirmed and know HERE, FIRST, by making SENSE of HERE, WITH OUR SENSES.

That takes being willing to be here, even when we’re lost. It takes embracing our BEING-HERE, instead of resisting it or trying to change it or deny it, or getting all dramatic about it.

A critical component of being-lost is the refusal to be where we are, exactly how we are. It’s the insistence on being elsewhere and in a different way, even after proving to ourselves that we don’t know how to do that.

The only way to get somewhere else is to connect being here, to being here, then here, then here, until we learn that we can be HERE any-WHERE. But the first step is being here and discovering how being here connects to the rest of what here connects to.

As soon as I know here, I’m no longer lost.

I soon discover and develop the skills to BE here, and here, and here, and here. I’m still not “there,” but I am “here,” and here is connected to the entire universe; I just need to pay attention to the connections. Here is connected to every “where?”.

For those who read my article Tracking the Trackless Tao, we learned that “the first step is to stand.” In other words, the first step is to STOP.

Very quickly after embracing being-lost-here, I’m already finding myself HERE! As soon as I find myself here, I discover that I’m no longer lost: I’m HERE.

As I get comfortable being here, I get comfortable knowing-here, and knowing a “here” that is more spacious, comfortable and connected to everything that’s here and connected to here in the measure that I’m willing to BE here and to KNOW here. The spaciousness and the connectivity expand in the measure that I STOP trying to “be” somewhere ELSE and discover where I actually am.

Pretty soon I discover that I can leave here and come back here.

Once I get good at being-here I discover that the same skills I use to get comfortable at being-here can also be used here, here and here.

I may not yet know how to get back to where I was, but I do know how to BE WHERE I AM and, pretty soon, how to be WHEREVER I am. I have found my Way WHERE I AM. Finding my Way HERE, and KNOWING-HERE reveal the connections to anywhere I am or want to BE.

Learning only happens here, where you are.

Many people who say they want to “learn” something are looking for an exit from where they are, and are in deep refusal of where they are and how they are exactly where they are.

There’s a whole “spiritual marketplace” of people selling all kinds of ways to “get somewhere else.” And people spend a lifetime thrashing around going here, there, and everywhere because they know they are lost, but they refuse to KNOW where lost IS. They insist on going ELSEWHERE.

I can’t help you get elsewhere. I can only meet you where you ARE. If you are lost we can discover the Beauty available right-at-hand once we become HONESTLY lost. Then we find our way, connecting here, here, and here in very simple and interesting ways, starting with connecting with our refusal to honestly acknowledge that we are lost, as individuals and as a rapacious, globalizing way of masking ourselves from the obviousness of our situation. When you DO it, then you’ll discover that finding where “lost” IS is actually a pretty amazing adventure.

A friend who has been reading my articles for the last six years, and was sure he was getting it, told me “you should put a disclaimer on all of your articles and tell people that they won’t get what you are talking about until they spend some time with you on the land. If they are sure that they get it, they probably don’t.”

The first step is to stand. Finding our way, when lost, starts with getting honest about being lost, then getting curious, then getting connected, then getting comfortable, then connected HERE to what contains HERE, in a Living Reality that is far more generous than our panic at being lost, and the smallness of what we notice when we resist the condition we are honestly in.

Our very BEING is our Invitation to the House of Aliveness.

“Are we going to be able to save ourselves and our world?” many ask. The world is not “saving” itself. Behold where fossils from the ocean bottoms lay on the mountain tops and you’ll get that. Life does not “save” itself. Life Offers itself to Life, and invites us to the Ceremony of Bringing our Beauty, our Brilliance, our Joy and our Tears to the Ceremony of Making and Living the Offering. It is Shaping Aliveness in the Invitation to Know the Shaping of Aliveness, FULLY, so that we can be so Fully-Filled that we Re-Member Ourselves in the Invitation to Participate in Aliveness and the Offering of Aliveness to Aliveness.

When lost, dare to be HONESTLY lost, and discover that finding our Way in the Way of Real Aliveness is not so far away.

Gather Seeds – Of Wisdom,

Which is “the House where the Trails and Tracks are Made,”

That We May Find Our Way,

and Welcome Life’s Invitation,

To Make Our Offering.

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