Friday, May 14, 2010
Perhaps the main cause of every problem I’ve ever encountered in life is my belief in limits. Since my earliest days, I have been conditioned by my culture to believe that reality is basically a limited phenomenon. Life, I’ve been told, is basically made of perimeters, boundaries, and edges, all of them serving to separate. It’s been impressed upon me, over and over, that, though it has its hints and intimations of spaciousness and freedom, reality is fundamentally a matter of countless separate, limited objects trying to maintain and protect themselves. Reality, therefore, has more smallness than largeness, more constraint than openness. Life, in this common way of thinking, is much more like a small, closed box than a vast, wide open space. I began thinking about this today because I was faced with what seemed to be a threat to my personal comfort and security. When I sensed this apparent threat, I began feeling closed off, alone, and vulnerable, as if my life was little and locked up tight, like a small box surrounded by innumerable enemies. I felt the opposite of free and unobstructed; I felt confined, puny, and powerless. Luckily, I found a few moments to think quietly about it, and I slowly began to see my mistake. (I’ve slowly seen this mistake countless times over the years.) I began to see that the universe is not a place of limits, but of boundlessness. I began to see, again, that life is not small and restricted, but vast and without walls of any sort. I saw my “self” as it really was – as a part of an inexpressibly spacious universe that can hold any so-called threat with comfort and peacefulness. I realized, thankfully, that I am in no way small and vulnerable, and that, in fact, I am not even a separate “I”. I am the universe and the universe is me, and therefore, truly, I am at liberty and illimitable. In a universe of such generous roominess, any apparent threat suddenly seems like nothing more than a silly and harmless charade.