Who are you?
Have you any idea?
Where will you go?
Have you given it any thought?
Whatever the case, it all will come from within. I find as I grow older that this is something most people do not understand. They're under the illusion that knowledge, twists of fate, and life progression come from the outside world, the world we see, when in reality it should come from within.
So how does one purify themselves, straighten themselves out, from within? How does one initiate a life focus, or develop a drive and ambition for their existence, from within? In a world with billions of people, it all starts with being alone; solitude.
Take a three-hour block out of your day, and go for a walk, by yourself. If possible, try to steer yourself away from the roads and into rural settings, like farmland, woodland and near bodies of water. An important facet of this exercise is to NOT know where you're going, to construct your route as you go along. This will keep you in the now, and not in the future or the past.
Your attitude must change. The Art of Walking does not begin with counting your steps, or scanning through your cell phone, which should really stay at home. It begins with an open mind. The more you open up yourself to each and every one of your surroundings, the more you will learn and appreciate it. Any object, idea, or natural phenomena can leave a drastic impression on you if your mind is open to its influence.
What you're essentially practicing is a form of mobile-meditation of sorts. It's not a heavy meditation that involves a deep trance, but rather a mild form that keeps you focused and easily influenced by your surroundings. The important thing is to forget about yourself and your life, and return to man's natural need to walk, live, and learn. In order to do this you must open your mind.
Opening your mind may be hard for you to understand, let alone do. What I mean by this is to focus on the NOW and ONLY the now. You may find that when you leave your abode and set out for your walk, your mind is far from open; that is normal. After walking for about an hour or two, your mind should start to deter from what was occupying it before. Many individuals take walks just to clear their head. Once it is clear, you may begin to learn.
Time spent alone is more valuable than time spent with others. Some people are comfortable by themselves, and some people are not. Those that are uncomfortable with themselves must walk to clear their minds. Those that ARE somewhat comfortable being alone are one step ahead of those who aren't, and will be closer to learning.
I've found, though, that most people who are by themselves are surrounding themselves with "things to do by themselves", i.e. television, Blackberries, food, internet, video games, reading books, or even sleeping. Solitude usually involves much self-retrospect, an analyzing and organizing of the brain-files. With that said, it's important to not really do much of ANYTHING when you are alone. It causes you to think and analyze your current existence, which makes many people feel uncomfortable. The thought of being alone and not doing anything, the thought alone, makes people uncomfortable.
So with no destination, and no obvious distractions, become a walking observer, and nothing more. Notice everything, and I mean everything. Notice the hues and colors of the trees, the buildings, and the sky above. Notice human behavior. Watch wild animals scamper around. Go out of your way to notice everything. Don't just take the sunset for what it is. Sure, the sunset is beautiful. However, the best artist/painter/sculpter of all is the human eye, of which we all have, and which we must learn to see with in a more artistic light. Nothing will ever change for you if you continue to take the sunset, and things like it, for granted.
So, let's roll with the sunset concept for a minute. When you're driving down the road, headed somewhere, and you drive towards the sunset or catch a glimpse of the sunset, you'll silently remark at its beauty, and drive on. But when you're on foot, and you have the choice to stop and examine it in the elements, you should start to observe, and actually ALLOW it to have an impression on you. If you're having trouble, just imagine it being more beautiful than usually, and after a few minutes, it should become that beautiful.
Notice how as the sun gets lower, the hues and clouds in the sky become more vibrant and deep. Realize that two minutes ago, the colors were very different. Now, examine the structure of the clouds. Notice their softness, their grace. Now consider the creator, the designer of this wonderful art. We will never know who or what it is, so don't get religious on me and bother trying; it's no use. It's philosophy at that point.
But a common philosophy unfolds, one that the Greeks believed as well. The Greeks believed that the seer, as well as the thing seen, is One. Having been alone, you will have experienced it differently than if you have been with someone else. It would look the same to both of you, and would probably affect the both of you in similar ways. However each of you looking at the same sunset by yourself would yield very different results.
Therefore, it can be believed that in fact WE are the artists of sunsets. WE are the artists of rain and snow. WE are the creators of heaven and earth. Because without the brain, without our existence, nothing else is there. Everything is here because we are currently percieving it. When you are dead and gone, how do people remember you? The answer is that they remember you in their minds, and nothing more. No one knows where you actually "go", but they remember that you were once here, and that now you are not.
Confusing, indeed. But this strays from the individualist point-of-view we started this discussion with. When you die, the world shuts off. Again, we don't know where you "go", but it's safe to say everything you knew, saw, smelled, and touched, is no more. Why? Because it's all perception, conception, and deception; everything came from your mind. So it's led many philosophers to believe that without the mind, not only you but the whole world you perceive would cease to exist. Sure, you're friends and family are still alive....but are they? In your mind, ARE THEY?
These explanations only go so far, that's what philosophy is. But the purpose of this article was to illustrate the power of the individual mind, the power to shape your view of the world into anything you want. Your world is seen by you, and you only. It may seem like your contemporaries view the same world, but your contemporaries are also facets of your mind. The deeper you think about these concepts (and everything in this world may just be a concept), the more in touch with yourself you will become, and you will determine a path for yourself, either as you go along, or in advance when thinking deeply to yourself.
But the catch, for those of you who hate being alone, is solitude. You will never notice the shape of things when you are with others, you will only notice the things themselves. Being alone and discovering yourself is the key to discovering your life's purpose and the Art of Walking is an exercise for beginning and master thinkers alike.
When you walk, do not return home until you've taken something from the experience. It may not seem like it, but you've got all the time in the world. All knowledge to be known is right out in the air, you don't even need to be taught; all you need to do is reach out for it, from within. From my experience (and, upon reading, many others'), this may very well be the truth. You need not be a scholar to become suddenly affected by yourself. You will know.