Track awareness is the ability to read the field of life with discernment and yet also know your inner landscape. Everything in the natural world knows how to be itself. Trees know how to greet the spring with buds, and bees are drawn naturally to flowers. Leopards from birth know they are keepers of solitude, while lions are made for the pride. We are a part of nature, and inside each of us is a wild self that knows deeply what it is meant to do. Inside each of us is a natural innate knowledge of why we are here. Tracking is a function of directing attention, bringing our awareness back to this subtle inner trail of the wild self, and learning to see its path.
Yet most of us have so much of the social conditioning of modern life that the track of the wild self has been lost. We live with our attention directed outward. We focus on the social cues of our culture. We look to others to define our path and value and purpose. We lose ourselves in shoulds.
Shoulds are full of traps—traps laid by society and your limited rules for yourself. No wild animal has ever participated in a should. What you know to do is deeper than that. No one can tell you what your track will be or how to know what calls you and brings you to life. That’s your work to do. But a great tracker can ask: How do you know you love something? How do you feel when you are fully expressing yourself? Learn that feeling and then start looking, not for the thing, but for the feeling. It’s there if you can tune yourself to it, if you can learn to see how the field of life is always speaking to you. Attention shapes the direction of the tracker’s life. We must turn our attention back to the wild self.
Losing the Track
To live in nature is to watch the genius of this living technology unfold on the tilt of earth called seasons and to ask yourself, If this intelligence runs through all things, why not me? Who would I be at my most natural? How does a body heal or a person fall in love or a soldier make a choice to give up his life to save another’s? In the moment with no social conditioning, who am I? If we are to become trackers, all of us need to ask ourselves: Trackers of what? New ways of living? A new set of metrics of what a successful life actually is? Can we, with the eyes of a tracker, see deeply into life and our own being and recognize a trail of intricately connected happenstance on which we know to move forward toward a new, more connected experience of life?
I don’t know where I’m going, but I know exactly how to get there, whispers the wild self. Learn to be natural.
Trails can be like life in that way. One minute you are clear on a path and the next instant, it is gone. You get fired, you lose a loved one, the company fails, you retire, she dumps you, you get divorced. Where you thought you were going vanishes. Who you thought you were is lost.
Accept that losing the track is part of tracking.
Go back to the last clear track. There is information there.
Walk up ahead checking any open terrain and bare ground.
Open your focus.
Any place you don’t find a track is not wasted, but part of refining where to look.
Flow for a while on your best guess, alert, listening, noticing.
You must become a tracker and set out on the trail of your wild life. If you track your authentic life and uncover its meaning, it will catalyze other possibilities for living, and what’s important to you will immediately change. Meaning doesn’t want more; when you’re in deep touch with your wild self, you know you have enough and are enough. From that place of enough, you act in service, because that’s what feeds you. It’s a lot of individuals going on that journey of discovery that will create transformation.
Remember to prepare for the call. Know the call when it comes by the fact that not doing it would feel profoundly wrong. Open yourself to the unknown. Develop your track awareness. Amidst all of the information that surrounds us, learn to see what is deeply important to you. Use the feelings in your body as a guide. Live on first tracks.
Anything that puts you into your essence, no matter how small, is valuable. Even if you don’t know where it’s going, play with it. Find friends to track with, lose the track, keep trying things, get feedback. Find your flow and remember to see how many unexpected things come into your life by living this way. It will be scary at times. Let the fear bring you to life.
if you give yourself the room to live each day as a tracker, a deep calling to serve will emerge.
as you read this, let this be a call to you. It’s time.