..........After a while, I once more approached the garden, knocked, and entered. The Gardener walked beside me as once again I walked the familiar path away from the gazebo. I noted that there was something alien about the Gardener but this caused me no concern at all. I approached the point where the Nail was driven into the path, the Nail from which I had seemingly been released. Such symbols will arise from time to time, just like other memories or quotations perhaps, but they must not assume undue importance, dragging me towards a study of symbolic systems. They are not truth, only possible pointers to truth.
A little further along the path, maybe a step or two, I saw that the pathway was flooded with water. In each flower bed on either side of the path was a small pool. However, the water which was designed to flow down from the left-hand pool to the right-hand pool by means of an underground conduit, was seeping across the path. The conduit appeared to be blocked. I also saw a cleared channel cutting across the path, as if that is how the connection between the pools should or must appear. The channel is invisible under normal conditions just as the Nail is invisible and had [has] to loose the tie that binds my ankle. Thus there seems to be a link between the blocked conduit and the tie to the Nail..........
Finally, I am beginning to feel what is wrong, or at least what appears to be wrong. To begin with, the 'feel' of my surroundings is different; the Gardener is now somewhat alien, that is different from my normal apprehension of him. The future course of events must take me into stranger realms than I have yet visited. The presence of the Lion, not noted in this current pathworking description, is an indicator of my need for great strength of will, or courage, if I am to clear the blockage and move onwards.
It was through my contemplative exercises that I began to see that I often take recourse to safe measures that are not taking me where I need to go. Over the years, as I have said elsewhere, I have studied "The Twelve Steps", some Transpersonal Psychology, the Mystical Qabalah as well as some studies into Christianity. All this has been backed by the reading of what others have said in their writings about the psycho-spiritual life, and how their experiences have gelled with mine. And there is a great deal of safety in remaining 'in orbit', so to speak, about the wisdom, knowledge and understanding expressed by others. In other words I need to break free of the 'systems' as laid down by others. That work was all about their experiences, interpreted in ways which they felt led to do. Those experiences were not, and can never be, mine. How beguiling it would be to act the part of a sheep, and follow the shepherd.
Now it would be foolishness and hubris to discount what others have said, and that is not the way I intend to go. I have gained much from my studies, but they must be used only as stepping stones towards a greater goal, and one of which I am only now beginning to glimpse. To be candid, the thought of breaking free from my past is not one that rests easily and comfortably with me. Where once I might have attacked, now I must persuade; where once I might have used my spiritual weight to barge through obstacles, now I must tread delicately. The risk of pridefulness, and the consequent making of mistakes, is very real. Yet I cannot avoid the conclusion that useful though my past has been, it is no longer enough. There needs to be, yes a breakout, but also a refining of method and approach. The tools that have been used to good effect, must now be modified to deal with a subtler form of experience.
I may not succeed, but if I refuse to knock, the door will never be opened to me. If I refuse to seek, I will never find. Yet 'success' is not really part of this enterprise. It never has been. That is mere ego-speak. The concept of success is meaningless, and that I must always bear in mind. I must remove my spiritual shoes which block my sense of the holy, and walk barefoot.