Three Tools You’ll Need for Going Back to Walden

Chapter 1, Part 3

As you will soon see, for much of my life I was a deeply troubled human being, one who came to the practices in Walden the hard way: through painful trial and error. My own quickening, after a lifetime of bad decisions and even worse consequences, has come about through three extremely simple awareness practices. These are the tools I found I needed for going Back to Walden. I use them like the axe, the saw, and the hammer borrowed by Thoreau to build his cabin.

Walden Pond at Sunset
Thoreau went down to Walden Pond with the purposefulness of a mission

In Walden, Thoreau basically asked a very fundamental question: What if we each had our own simplified method to raise our consciousness? That is what I offer here with these three mental tools, which I will explain much more fully in chapters 4, 5, and 6. These put the philosophy behind Walden to work:

By training yourself to think healthy thoughts, cherish the spiritual energy in everyday life, and spark your own intuition through daily meditation, you quickly develop a foolproof method for maintaining simple well-being. And simple well-being in the context of our complex, confusing, madding culture is simply a miracle.

What makes these three awareness techniques so transforming is the same inspired mindset that characterized Walden. Thoreau went down to Walden Pond with the purposefulness of a mission, a calling, a vocation. His was much the same mindset that elevated Gandhi’s peaceful freedom movement, Mother Teresa’s saintly deeds, Martin Luther King’s dream, Einstein’s science, or Emily Dickinson’s poetry to the level of holy vocations. Perhaps the one most significant revelation expressed by Thoreau in Walden is that we are all capable of turning our own lives into very personal quests.

By living with the kind of integrity, courage, simplicity, goodness, spirituality, kindness, curiosity, and awareness practiced by Thoreau at Walden Pond, each of us can make his or her own life into a noble experiment much like Walden.

The concluding chapter of Walden was Thoreau’s trumpet call to everyone: “I learned this much, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours…He will live with the license of a higher order of things. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

The question is: How can you go Back to Walden and simultaneously advance in the direction of your own dreams? Read the following section for the answer.