We’re On the Road to Nowhere

One of the principal reasons that I meditate is to develop a lookout for the person who is meditating. My last yoga teacher, Rod Stryker called this “witness consciousness.” I expect my witness to be able to discern whether my querulous internal search is drifting away from self-awareness towards self-absorption. I trust it to tell me when to give it a rest. If there were no witness, I’d be subjecting myself to haphazard analysis with a risk of becoming too self-important.

When one is self-aware, it typically conveys a better effect on relationships. For a seeker, mental and emotional agility are paramount. In the words of singer Kenny Rogers, “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em…Every gambler knows the secret to survivin is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep.” Beyond being sage advice for poker players, these words are acutely applicable to communication. Knowing what not to say, when to punch the pause button, and when to change the subject are essential communication skills.

The effect that you have on others will vary widely if the line blurs between self-awareness and self-importance. Self-awareness fosters kindness towards yourself, In turn, you are more likely to behave kindly towards others. If you delude yourself into an impression that you have the answers, then your interactions with others will suffer. People won’t want to be in your company. No matter how much you know, what you don’t know is infinite.

Every circumstance and relationship we face requires its own, independent, sometimes unclear challenges. It’d be much easier if our circumstances were only a matter of following simple rules. For example, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor (don’t lie).” Most of our experiences fall outside of the simple rules, requiring a weighing of the risks and rewards from what gets expressed. Royal Air Force fighter Douglas Bader said, “Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.”

Singer songwriter Ben Lee may have been right when he said, “Awake is the New Sleep.” There isn’t proof that we’re going anywhere. If, as David Byrne sang, “We’re on the Road to Nowhere,” then I’m glad to know those whose ambition is just to have fun rather than diving too deeply into the morass of self-searching. While we’re so desperately looking for where we’re going, the joke may be that nowhere is the destination.


Published by jmlewisjr

Hello. This is Jimmy Lewis. I'm in Memphis, Tennessee. My golden doodle, Lola and I are leaving on a North American tour in May, 2021. We'll be traveling in a 2021 Jayco Melbourne 24L motorhome. We have neither time constraints nor exact destination specifications. We'll spend May in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and then head north through New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont. If Canadians resume the practice of putting out a welcome mat for Americans, then we'll cross the border.  The seed for this journey began after my wife, Sarla passed away in May, 2020. Sarla was a yogi. An early yoga teacher of hers implored her to "Have what you need, and use what you have." As I prepare to close on the sale of our home on April 30, 2021, I'm deciding what I need based on the likelihood of using what I have. I give some things away without a flicker of feeling. When more meaningful items like the piano I inherited from my parents leave the premises, I feel like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend for the last time. Sarla's death lessened my attachment to the home we had enjoyed for 15 years and life as I knew it. I didn't need and couldn't possibly use a house that could satisfy the needs of a family with four children. I'll no longer experience residence, a concept identified with staying in a specified place, as I've heretofore known it. Life will never be the same, nor do I want to attempt to shape my future into a likeness of what I once knew.   I've set my sights on adventure. I want to be challenged by not knowing who or what I'll meet on the road. The outdoors is one of my default antidotes for stress. Other than my rig, I won't have an indoors base. Whereas others might opt to downsize so that they have the stability of a landing spot, I won't be able to go "home" as I've known it. I'm jazzed about the prospect of being at the whim of the muse, to go where my finger lands on turning pages of the Rand McNally atlas. My dog, Lola is indifferent even though I've been talking to her about the journey every day. She looks quizzically at me when I enthusiastically say we're hitting the road together. I'm confident that she'll do well. We've previously driven together to and from a destination 12 hours from home. She curiously gazed out the window and occasionally snoozed in the passenger seat. She didn't express displeasure about the podcasts and music selection that I chose to entertain and inform me while driving. This trip isn't driven by personal goals. Will I learn more about myself? Will I take advantage of the opportunity to reflect? Will I be lonely? Will I be uneasy? I'm motivated by a curiosity to follow the questions.

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