Updated: Oct 4, 2022
When you Run Out of Moves
“Happiness is a garden walled with glass: there's no way in or out. ” - Margaret Atwood
What do we do when we have run out of moves?
When all the doors and windows are blocked?
When every attempt has ended in failure?
What do we do?
Nobody likes that feeling. Nobody wants that circumstance to befall them. And yet, it does happen. Not only for us as individuals but as families, communities, and even our whole world.
We humans are quite capable of creating difficulties that are beyond our ability to fix.
Meet the pitcher plant.
This strange looking variety that looks like it is an old pitcher hanging on a strap is actually the terror of many insects.
It eats them.
Like the Venus Fly Trap it has an appetite for the 6 legged delicacies. And its method of catching them is quite ingenious.
Notice that it has a nice open mouth but then it narrows before opening up again like a big bulb. The inside is coated with this sweet, delicious nectar that bugs just love! And it gives off this wonderful, yummy smell. The hapless buggies fly into the open mouth and start enjoying the sweet treat. As they do they start sliding slowly down the slope.
No problem they have wings. As they get more toward the narrow opening they jump up to fly off. But... oops... so much of the tasty delicacy has accumulated on their feet and legs and wings they can no longer lift themselves into the air. And the gentle yet relentless slide continues. Gradually they slip down the ever steepening slope to meet their fate and become the next meal of the hungry plant.
Yes, we can get ourselves into predicaments that we cannot get out of.
Well this is a cheerful blog isn't it?
Well that is NOT the end of the story. For the fly, yes it is. But for us there is more.
The fly cannot transcend its fly nature. It cannot go beyond itself. It is limited by that nature. We humans are not. But at times like this, sliding down the slope of our own pitcher plant, we find that we do not have what it takes to extricate ourselves.
We too are limited.
But... unlike the hapless fly, our limits are of our own making. We are limited in energy and resources by who we have come to believe we are. This self-image or sense of identity is what is referred to by the word "ego." When I use that word I am not referring to arrogance of conceit, only to whoever it is you think you are.
That sense of self, believed to be my self, limits our natural abilities and makes it inevitable that we will run into events and circumstances in life that we simply cannot get out of.
The only way out of those circumstances is to find the way out of who you think you are. You are limited, not in reality but in your belief. That belief must be challenged.
When in life we are pushed into a corner (or have painted ourselves into it) we come face to face with the limits of our own mind and self image.
We never, ever actually are limited by events, circumstances or conditions. We are not limited by the past, by conditioning, even by karma. We are only limited by our minds, that is, the beliefs we hold about ourselves that have remained unscrutinized, perhaps for lifetimes.
The way out is, paradoxically, IN, which is why I put so much emphasis on self-inquiry.
We don't question the beliefs we hold about ourselves. And, if we do, we only go deep enough to experience some sense of relief or revive some hope that things might get better. We don't go any further until once again we find ourselves slipping down the sides of some hungry veggie.
Self-inquiry is not abstract. It is simply the means by which we discover what IS me and what ISN'T me.
Try this very simple exercise. Imagine you had perfect parents who did everything right, loved and appreciated you and did a perfect job of raising you. No hang ups, no traumas, no limiting beliefs... who would you be?
Try to image who you were before any conditioning took place. Pure you where every thought, feeling, impulse, desire was completely natural and innocent. Who would you be?
Now notice that everything beyond that natural, original state was an add-on! It was not original equipment. Which means. IT'S NOT YOU! You believed that it was. You assumed that it was. You embodied it and lived it every day of your life. So it sure seemed as if it was you. But it wasn't. It was imposed on you.
Simply coming to see this and recognize that it is true, even a little is an awakening. The process of breaking down those walls of the mind, the limits of our beliefs does take time and practice and guidance. But know that on the other side of those walls is the real you. And that you is not limited. That you can't ever acquire so much baggage that it can't fly out of any predicament and turn even a pending disaster in an auspices event.
You are already that. You are already free. You are already limitless. Only the belief that you are not has limited you. And since it is a false belief that limited you, something a wise man said a long time ago can ring true in the moment
"You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." And the truth is you are free, now and forever.
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