Ever Tracking

By | April 15, 2013

The topics of discussion on the Zen forum I participate in are typically consciousness related. It so happens that there are several trackers on the forum, and we sometimes use tracking metaphors. At first I thought we might befuddle the non-trackers; however, they not only hang with this but know just what we are talking about.

I realized why a few days ago when a forum member, who is an M.D., described the medical professionals’ workshop he was organizing. He wanted to show how doctors could improve their diagnostic skills by becoming better trackers. Participants would go out in the field and learn not how to read tracks per se, but how to pick up on the whole story—the song of the track—which is a metaphor for the symptom vs. whole-person approach. He said attuning to the song of the track is the same skill a doctor uses when he is “seeing patients and trying to hear [their] songs.”

In essence, the holistic healthcare practitioner and the intuitive tracker are doing the same thing: getting themselves—especially their analytical minds—out of the picture, being fully present, and listening.

However, the popular conception of tracking is that you go out and follow an animal trail. That’s like saying I am playing soccer when I go out and kick the ball from one end of a field to the other.

If I were limited to only one word to define tracking, it would be listening. In some way or form, I am always listening—always tracking. Right now I am tracking my thoughts with words across this page, and my thoughts are tracking my dreams and memories.

With you and I busy tracking all the time, and with us being at it since conception, it follows that we should be quite the accomplished trackers (or healers, or Zen practitioners) by now. So why then do some of us have trouble tracking, or reading our patients, or dwelling in an awakened state? When we don’t know that we have the innate ability, and that we have been practicing it all our lives, how can we believe that we are capable? How can we allow ourselves to tap into that ability when a mystery lays before us?

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