It is a gorgeous fall day outside. I’ve spent most of the morning breathing in the essence of the forest that surrounds me, listening to their whispers. It is here that there is no conditioning, no status quo to be found. The forest evolves without grasping. The beauty of the inherent respect of existence is immense. There old support the new, and they all remain connected through the magic of mycelium. There is not need for words, for understanding, for desire to control. There is no grasping for “rightness”… in fact, there is no grasping, at all. There is only the flow of the seasons, co-existence, between the old and the new, the living and the dying. Sheila Winter Wallace said in a recent email exchange “I think of the ancient, mother trees that support new, intermediate and long-term growth in forests; that ancient wisdom cultivates life and mentors living in the process of dying. There is beauty to be honoured in it all.” Indeed, the beauty is immense.
Leading with the intellect keeps us small and fragile
If human beings lived as it is modelled to us in nature, we would discover we are profoundly powerful in our existence. We have capacities far beyond that the modern mind has allowed itself to experience, and therefore comprehend. In the modern world, we lead with the intellect, not lived experience. And so, we complicate everything. When the intellect leads, it is easy to get caught lost in the details, and it is easy to need to be “in control” of the narrative that we adopt as true/real.
For most of us, we adopt that narrative at a very early age, and we spend our lives replicating it. If you’re curious about the process in which this unfolds, I encourage you to read Louise LeBruns spectacular piece on “Storytellers, Trust and Reality“. One of my favourite pieces. In it, she says:
“Beyond our stories… on the other side of their telling… are the storytellers. My life… your life… is full of storytellers that move through and weave themselves into and through our daily lives. With authority (i.e. parents and their myriad surrogates; older siblings and bigger children; representatives of whatever god we are told is in charge of our lives, etc.) comes the great leverage to accelerate our willingness to comply… to accept, fully embrace and ultimately own the story as our own…. and to surrender any other inclination to ‘know’ differently. At some point, we forget that we retain the innate capacity to separate the story from both the storyteller and from our unique experience that is our unique truth. We also forget that we can create stories of our own.
As I’ve shared here several times before: the Jesuits knew that were they to have a child until the age of 7, they would own the adult for the rest of their lives. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.
Stories form our frameworks for making choices – and those choices become the entry into a reality sustained or denied; a reality applauded or attacked; a reality to which we swear allegiance or one which we seek to deconstruct.”
Essentially, we either model for or against what we have been conditioned. It’s either “I’m going to raise my children exactly how my parents raised me” or “My parents did all this wrong and I’m going to do it differently”. Either way, we are not parenting from the truth of our own experience, but instead from allegiance or trauma. Both responses, paradoxically, end up reproducing the status quo.
The function of a closed mind: No room for curiosity or adventure
A friend recently said to me that there is “no point” in engaging in conversation because “I won’t convince you and you won’t convince me”. What does that tell you about this persons profound commitment to their version of the story (as told to them by the storytellers)?
To me, it is highly indicative of a closed mind. A mind already made up, status quo, while the body vibrates despair and blame for the ‘dangerous other’. There is no curiosity there, no willingness to discover what else is possible? There is no adventure and no exploring. There is only a desire to make the past and the future represent the search for safety in the predictably familiar. There is only acceptance of the ONE status quo narrative, and no room for another potential reality.
Because everything is a metaphor for everything else (everything!), this interaction got me thinking about the great irritation in my body from this exchange.
I have always been a deeply curious person. I was an irritant to my parents yet they indulged me because they realised the significance of fuelling my curiosity. While I am very definite in my knowing and my decision making, I am perpetually seeking to discover what else is it that I don’t know that I don’t know about my world and about my Self. I am deeply committed to discovering the blind spots within my society and most importantly, within myself. To do this requires that I acknowledge that what I already know is not representative of all that remains unknown to me, or available when I decide to let go. Let go of knowing, let go of demanding, let go of the notion of control. In embracing the next layer of my own discovery, I evolve. That is my greatest reward to mySelf: accept my unknowingness and willingness to discover.
There is no joy in the predictably familiar outcome. There is no adventure in the story I have repeated to myself about myself or society at nauseum. There is no discovery in predictability. There is no curiosity in knowing “the” answer. There is no playfulness in accepting status quo. There is no exploration in repetition. There is no expansion in talking to a brick wall.
Truth is, we need not remain brick walls. And that is the undercurrent of my fury and rage with the replication of the status quo. Whether it is individuals who make up their mind about a story and defend it till death or whether it’s institutions that persist in pushing the same traditional narrative infinitely.
I always thought that “adults” (and the authority they represented) would shift their behaviours once they were presented with new information. I had this realisation at a very young age, maybe four or five. I believed that the construct of mind would change once people had better knowledge / understanding.
As it turns out, that is a myth that cultures perpetuate in hopes that it is true. I don’t think many have stopped to notice that, in fact, it isn’t. We do this one step forward two steps back thing (yes, you read that correctly) hoping we can control the outcome (ultimately, death…but that’s a story for another day). All of us deeply desire change, and at the same time we are deeply committed to tradition (aka, status quo). So, we keep replicating the same thought structures, beliefs, values, attitudes, systems and behaviours that our parents did and the ones before them.
How differently do you vote from your family of origin? How many are devoutly committed to the sports team of the town they were born in? How different, really, is your life from that of your parents?
Status quo is habit, and our habits are killing us
Ultimately, we are creatures of habit. The most detrimental habit is the habit is that of our thoughts. Most of us don’t question our thoughts, never mind the process of thinking itself. We repeat the internalised mantras without curiosity or a sense of adventure; deviating from the status quo feels unsafe. This is why when an alternative perspective is presented that cannot be readily dismissed or ignored the internalised fear of and rage at the demonised other comes through in sentences that reek of internalised privilege (race, status, class, gender, sexual orientation… all play a factor).
It isn’t easy to examine one’s privilege. And it isn’t easy because most people would rather die to be right (and convince you that they are right, too) than consider an alternative possibility. Simply put, they are both unwilling and unable and because their privilege has afforded them a certain kind of lifestyle until now, they are comfortable enough in what they already know. No need to discover anything else. No need to be curious. No need to go on an adventure when the comfort of the predictable “makes sense”.
So, it isn’t that “when you know better, do better”…it’s that people are generally unwilling to allow a slither of possibility that another reality could co-exist with their own…that their reality could be expanded, should they choose to make slight room for an alternative. That’s when the blinders come off; that’s when tunnel vision turns into peripheral sight; that’s when we can see the blatant contradictions, and eventually the double binds that keep us stagnated in the smallness that we accept as our fate in life.
Self-discovery and evolution: the name of the game I’m interested in
That interaction was powerful for my own self-discovery. I have long been aware that there is no point in trying to change another’s mind; yet I kept persisting, to my own detriment. I have long known that the people who are curious will seek, and those who are comfortable will settle.
Question is: Will I choose to be okay with that?
Will I choose to trust, fully, that consciousness evolves in mysterious ways? And that the unknown is magic of life?
The unknown is the space for possibility and potential. It is what I AM. In each breath, at the top of the inhale, there is a moment of neutrality. At the top of each exhale, there is that same opportunity for pause. The unknown exists in the space between the inhaling and exhaling. Possibility and potential live in that moment of neutrality. That moment of neutrality is bliss. That moment of bliss is an opportunity to know the essence of the god-Force / god-Self that we each already are.
Have you ever given yourself permission to have a deep, conscious, luxurious breath today?
There is nothing to know about breathing. Nothing to control. The flow of breath happens. There is choice, however, in whether we inhale and exhale through habit, or mindful intention. The difference between the two is felt in the body, and more importantly, in the state of mind.
Although our collective habits are killing us, most are profoundly committed to sustaining them. My intention for being here, at this time, is not to change a brick walls mind. My intention is to create the world I want to live in. I am not committed to any particular ideology, party, country, religion, group of people, or habit. I am committed to living a full, meaningful, expansive life from the essence of WHAT I am. Ultimately, I am only committed to evolution by intention for my Self.
And I’m looking to play with those who are interested in the parameters of the infinite games — passing the ball around, for it’s own sake. Evolution of consciousness for it’s own sake.
If this peace moved something in you and you are curious to explore and discover more about your own self, listen to your Self and reach out. I’m always happy to hear from you.