Creative Commons License photo credit: Jordi Cucurull

I like to think of my consciousness as a circle drawn on a piece of paper. Within the circle is all my knowledge, understanding about life and existence and everything that I have experienced and come to accept as possible, real and normal within my daily life. A few years ago the circle of my consciousness was smaller than it is today. This is as it should be.

The line that defines the circle is a border of sorts. This is an interesting place in my consciousness because the boarder touches both what is within my consciousness and at the same time it is in tentative contact with a finite amount of space currently outside my regular state of consciousness. What is beyond the circle exists and is possible, yet not just yet for me. I haven’t grown enough so as to be ready. When I have the boarder of the circle will be touching them and so these new things (experiences or understanding for example) will gradually and occasionally break through.

The interesting part about this circle analogy is that the bigger the circle, the more expanded our consciousness is or becomes, the greater the area is that the boarder of consciousness is touching that is currently just beyond the accepted boundary of consciousness. Thus the greater the chance is that one will have regular contact with things (for example ideas, perspectives or experiences) beyond what we currently accept as the truth of our world view.

The bigger the circle the more expanded the consciousness. And the more one’s consciousness expands the more one realizes that there is a dazzling, often confounding and truly bizarre array of possibilities out there beyond what we know and take for certain. The more my consciousness expands the more I realize that what is out there is not stranger than we suppose. It is stranger than we CAN suppose.

Far too often I see those who need something the most reject completely out of hand that which they truly need. It may be some bit of information or advice perhaps, which if integrated by them will help them grow or help them improve their health and their quality of life. Most often this type of information comes from someone that genuinely cares about them. I say this because in most cases the people who need a certain piece of information the most somehow seem incapable of coming across it on their own.

It’s like they are blind to the possibility of its existence. The boarder of their consciousness is not expanded enough to be brushing up against it. It’s too far outside their sphere. They are not active seekers of consciousness expansion and for whatever reason they don’t want to contemplate change, improvement, or growth. It can be a very frustrating state of affairs mostly because it is so inexplicable. All of which must cause us each to wonder – what is it that I am rejecting out of hand?

“We can’t learn anything we weren’t already ready to learn – if it’s just too much out of our sphere, we won’t see/hear/understand it. We must be ready to entertain the slightest and most unexpected phenomena and information.”

– Rick Strassman, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine

In my experience expansion comes in fits and starts. I was sitting outside one day enjoying a daily dose of sunshine when a small bug landed on my leg. Without thinking I flicked it off my leg and snuffed out its life. That moment I thought of the Buddhist idea that with an infinite time frame of unending cyclic existence that bug was a being that was once my loving mother.

I suddenly perceived this point in a new light. It was not so much a literal interpretation that that individual bug had been my specific mother. Rather, given the perception of existence as being a whole the point was the bug and I were both intimately entangled by the simple fact that we both exist. When I die my physical body will be broken down into its more basic constituents. These will feed plants that will grow and in turn feed little bugs.

More and more I have eventually come to see many Buddhist teachings as methods. Things that will help a person come to perceive the world in a certain way and so live in a certain manner of living. Not rigid dogmatic pronouncements of truth. Rather this way such teachings are seen as something to practice and then when the benefits (the point of the exercise) are achieved they can be let go of. Not argued over as an insidious means for the ego to gain ascension by defining itself through being right and others being wrong. This is spiritual materialism and a serious trap.

On A Similar Celebratory Note
It has now been just over a year since I fist launched Balanced Existence. It’s interesting to me that I started Balanced Existence a day after my birthday. I seem to take up and get excited about new things around my birthday. This year it was rock climbing. Bouldering to be exact. Which involved getting out and exploring bushland within 20 minutes of my home that I previously did not know existed right here in the middle of a big city like Sydney, Australia.

It always fascinates me how simply looking into something new suddenly gives birth to an explosion of new experiences, possibilities and life paths. Take rock climbing for example. Suddenly I’m meeting new people who I would never have met otherwise. I’m having new experiences in a way that opens up and broadens what is available to me in my experience of life. Through climbing I’m going and plan to go to places I would not otherwise have seen or experienced and at those places no doubt I’ll meet more people which will open my world and its possibilities up even further.

This leads me to the conclusion that if you want to enjoy a full life you need to get out there and try new things. Otherwise your life may be nothing more than a TV show repeat that you’ve already watched 100 times before. Yes you probably will suck at whatever new experience or activity you may think of trying. It’ll probably be difficult, uncomfortable and yes probably more than a little scary. You will be stepping out into the unknown. You won’t have any data with which to project probable outcomes. Welcome to freedom.

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