The Path is Everywhere Foreword
The following is the Foreword to my book, The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You, by spiritual teacher and author, Jeff Foster. Jeff was voted #59 on Watkins Review’s 2014 list of the world’s 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People. His latest book is The Way of Rest: Finding the Courage to Hold Everything in Love. Jeff’s website can be found at: http://www.lifewithoutacentre.com/. To learn more about The Path Is Everywhere – read sample material from the book as well as reader reviews – please visit the book’s page here.
FOREWORD TO THE PATH IS EVERYWHERE
Can we, just for a moment, stop thinking about our lives, and instead, find the courage to actually inhabit them? Can we begin to feel our feet on the ground? Notice what’s happening in our thinking? Sense our bodies instead of running away from them into some addictive, distracting behavior? Hear all the sounds happening around us? A bird singing. The buzz of the refrigerator. An airplane in the distance. Feel a fluttery sensation in the belly, a tightness in the throat, a pressure between the eyes? This is true meditation – not trying to enter into some altered state, but finding the courage to live; to hear with fresh ears, see with unprejudiced eyes, taste the moment as if it were the first and only one in existence. And then, underneath the cacophony of our lives, perhaps we can begin to touch that sacred place that has remained unchanged since we were born. Being itself. Our own presence. This awesome, inexplicable sense of being alive.
In Matt’s beautiful book of love songs to the exquisite fragility of our humanness, you will learn to trust life again (because even your doubt is trustable). You will learn there is never anything wrong with you, and it’s not actually possible to be having the wrong experience, ever. That you were never meant to get there – the far-off Utopia, the enlightened self, the perfect bodymind – you were always meant to be here, in all your messy and glorious imperfection. Here, this moment as it is, is the Garden of Eden you’ve always been trying to find. And you – as you are, even with your human flaws and failings, longings and sorrows – are the Gift. Your humanness is not less than your divinity; your humanness is the divine expression itself. Your confusion, your pain, your fear, your anger, your sorrow, even your feelings of shame and guilt and unworthiness are all drenched with intelligence, saturated with wisdom, infused with the same power that makes the Sun shine and the grass grow in springtime. And however painful, however uncomfortable, however intense the present moment gets, you are always exactly where you need to be.
Your true path is everywhere. Your true path is not separate from the one who walks it. Your true path is right here, in the intimacy of your embodied human experience. Your true path is alive; it is every sound, every sensation, every feeling as it surges in your body, every throb, every flutter, every ache, every pulse, thump and tingle. No feeling is a mistake here, or “unspiritual” or a “low vibration” or a sign of your failure; each feeling is only looking for sanctuary, acceptance. No thought is an aberration either – even your most ‘sick’ or ‘shameful’ thoughts are beloved.
Matt’s invitation is exquisitely simple but shockingly powerful. Be profoundly what you are, as you are, where you are. Let go of all the images of how you “should” be, for there are no “shoulds” here in the Heart. Bow to whatever arises in your experience, and bow to your inability to bow to what arises sometimes! Yes, sometimes you have to begin by allowing the part of you that doesn’t know how to allow. The part that feels frightened. The part that doesn’t trust. The part that feels far from home. Yes, even these parts of you are your spiritual children, worthy of great kindness.
Matt’s rare gift is his ability to stay present, curious, and empathic no matter what you throw at him. I have found this to be true in my friendship with him as well as during the workshops and retreats we hold together around the world. Matt effortlessly creates a holding environment, a warm, safe space in which even our strangest thoughts, our deepest fears, longings, sorrows, pains and joys are given permission to be. I believe this is the greatest gift we can give each other as human beings, this sacred field of unconditional friendship, where we allow each other to be imperfect. It is the space in which we give up trying to fix each other, and instead listen with our entire being. It is the space in which true relaxation can happen, where the frazzled nervous system can breathe a sigh of relief.
I have witnessed countless people over the years relaxing deeply in Matt’s warm and loving presence. I have seen old narratives melting away, childhood wounds being flushed with love and understanding, seemingly unbearable feelings finally able to be borne. Matt does more by doing less. He heals by never pretending to be a healer. He awakens by treating us as though we are already awake. He teaches by not teaching, by simply sharing with the greatest integrity and sincerity from his vulnerable powerful human heart. Ironically, I consider him to be one of the clearest and most authentic teachers of our time.
The Path Is Everywhere is a friendly guide to unpacking, understanding and unraveling the shame that has been holding us back from feeling fully alive. When we were young we were judged, criticized, even punished for having our own unique thoughts, feelings, perceptions, desires. We were shamed for being ourselves, looking how we looked, walking how we walked, dancing how we danced. We were shamed for our urges and impulses or our lack of them. We were taught by those who had been taught to hate themselves and hadn’t yet learned to love themselves. Now is the time to reclaim the love that is rightfully ours, reclaim it from deep within.
You’ve been on such a long journey, friend, an ancient journey from the stars. The self-improvement project, while noble, has worn itself out. Today is the day to break once and for all the core belief that there is something wrong with the way you are. Dive now into Matt’s beautiful poetic prose that weaves together elements of psychology, non-duality, tantra and loving common sense into an intoxicating whole. Dissolve into his words and into the silences between and underneath them. Discover a paradoxical secret that has never for one moment been hidden from you. That the One you sought was always You. That there is beauty in your brokenness, grace in your sorrow, brilliant light in your shadow. That the true path can never leave you, because it is written in your very bones.
Jeff Foster, author of The Way of Rest
Brighton, England, January 2017