Tom Brown is one of America’s most acclaimed outdoorsmen. He explores and explains his deeply spiritual approach to tracking derived from the Apache Scouts. The following quote nicely crystalizes the philosophy:
“The Scouts were masters of the wilderness… They could glace at a track and read into the maker’s very soul. To them the track was not only a window to the past, an intimate knowledge of the animal, or man who made them, but also a means of keeping them and the tribe safe. Tracking was their doorway to the universe, where they could know all things through the tracks…”
– Tom Brown
This is a level of mastery I believe is a worthy pursuit, and after reading Tom’s books I try to have in mind this level as my ambition. Not in tracking even though I enjoy the outdoors, but in my own chosen paths. So now when I teach or coach I constantly try to ask how every little detail describes the whole. Maybe someone will come to me to learn a technique or to get a training program, and I will notice slight disharmonies in the persons movement, posture, mobility etc. These details all relate something about this person’s health, culture, lifestyle, beliefs etc, and am I to be truly a master of my craft I will need to explore the meaning of each and every one of them.
In that sense you can treat everything in your chosen path as tracks. In my case it may be bruises, tension, soreness, tightness, discomfort etc. For a teacher it might be specific questions, particular grades, facial expressions, body language, jargon etc. The point is that the minute you start treating your path as a path to mastery you will connect with yourself, your path and the universe in a sincerely more profound way. Not only will you soon be in a higher state of flow and being more focused, you will also start to enjoy yourself more as you immerse yourself in your path.
A wise mentor of mine recently told be that true spirituality isn’t to be found in isolated meditation. It is found when you immerse yourself in the world, thus making entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, business, science etc. among the most spiritual activities as long as you allow it be.
In the end it is all about awareness. Tom writes that he considers tracking to be the ultimate extension of awareness. As stated above I think tracking extends to nearly all activities in life, allowing us to connect yourselves with the tangible track and out towards everything surrounding it, the entire universe included. Thus nurturing a closer kinship with the earth and spirit.
Tom’s mentor, called Grandfather, would kneel before the first track and bow his head in prayer. I will finish this post by relating his words;
“Grandfather, Great Spirit,
Master of all things, you who are called by so many names,
and worshipped in so many way;
allow me to become the Earth,
teach me to surrender to the tracks,
so that I may become that which I follow,
and if i am worthy,
allow these tracks to lead me closer to You.”
Love and health