You’re probably familiar with the concept of getting “outside the box”, a way of living that frees one from the seduction of familiarity, limitation of unquestioned conditioning, and mechanical repetition of habit, but “beyond the box”?
I’ve lived a greater portion of my life outside a lot of boxes, an often lonely and misunderstood existence, but one I wouldn’t trade to get back in the boxes from which I’ve been freed. But lately, I’ve been thinking all I really ever did was adopt a different set of boxes, perhaps a little more spacious but still bordered by perceived limits.
Now that we’ve entered and passed through the Lion’s Gate of 2023, I am more curious now about learning to live beyond boxes entirely. This excites me greatly, not just as an idea but as a cellular sense that human beings are capable of so much more than we realize.
The Book Group Catalyst
I am a member of a book group that studies wisdom texts. For the past few months, we’ve been reading I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj. It’s been great. But during our last meeting, someone mentioned feeling like nothing changes.
The irony of our book group is that week after week, we read chapters that basically say the same thing in different ways over and over again, and the overriding message is, “You have to go within and look, silently.” (and yet what is within when you realize it’s all within?)
And yet, week after week, we all happily show up to talk and talk. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with doing so. It has its benefits.
But the irony doesn’t escape me. I can only assume we either 1) are really there just for the commradery or 2) are really there to assert and confirm our own matrices despite declaring we want freedom, or 3) simply don’t know how to get beyond our current structure and enter freedom. Maybe there’s another possibility or maybe the three are by degrees. I tend to think, for myself, that 3 is the truer.
And as for myself, I keep showing up because I love the reflections of these people, and I’m so grateful for the depth of conversation. But it is, if I am honest, not an application of what we read and not a means to awaken. Am I wanting sangha in a book group? That’s an unrealistic expectation.
Beyond the Box
How could we move beyond our current structure? And is doing so even desired by anyone else? For now, I’ll assume yes so I can continue to ponder the possibilities.
Maybe what is needed, in addition to meditation, is to have some kind of ritual that signifies we are “talking”, just making more noise. I’ve tried to do that with the opening meditations to some extent…to unify our energy and elevate our field. But is it enough? I feel like our conversations are really very much like the chapters…saying the same thing in different ways.
People might need to share opinion or personal meaning, confusion or insights. I sometimes do. So, I’m not saying we can’t or shouldn’t engage in this way. We’ve also started sharing music, poems, and artwork towards the end of group, though, and this strikes me as closer to source. I just wonder how we can keep moving upward? How do we keep evolving and not just “creaming butter”?
How do we serve as healers? How do we create, move, and send energy? How do we clean and transform it? Not as egos. Not as individuals, but as one body??? How do we perform miracles? We know there are all these horrible situations in the world. Maybe they are perfect. But maybe we can do something. Maybe we can generate fields of love and purify the crap.
Why else are we alive if we can’t affect change? Why if everything is within us do we assume there’s nothing we can or should do to heal that…that it isn’t our business? And why do the words “inner work” preclude that? I’m not interested in activism. I’m interested in shiftism. Is that just a different matrix…a bigger box?
We talk about inside and outside but isn’t it all inside, a reflection of the One? Or am I just confused?
Something So Big
The book group is a microcosm of our greater world and at least my own recognition that what once worked is no longer working and without adapting rather abruptly to massive change without losing our values such as truth, beauty, and human compassion, the world as we know it is going down.
Ramana’s very field, Yogananda’s very field, Jesus’s very field was healing. What if they had worked together? Historically, awakened ones have awakened alone, then taught alone. Why? Is that the only way? Can a community awaken? And why not? The paradigm is always teacher at the front, disciples to the back. What if there was no hierarchy? I don’t know why I’m so full of questions. I just sense something so big just around the corner…something so outside of anything ever conceived of.
“We come alone. We go alone.” That is said by many a saint and of course, relatively true for the separate self. But if we share the source, what is “alone”? Is it not just another meaningless concept? Or am I just spinning my own wheels here?
Is a different book the answer or is an entirely different paradigm in order or an additional group for those of us wanting to explore these potentials? Or is this all borne of my frustrated longing to serve and be useful?
I walk knowing I am in a dream. I walk and tell myself, “You’re dreaming. Wake up.” But some little switch in my brain hasn’t yet ripened or something.