The Edges of Practice

I am being moved. I cannot tell you when the shift happened, or really– I cannot tell whether it happened, is happening, or will happen very soon. But I can sense this opportunity for unprecedented spiritual growth just as easily as I can feel the chair beneath me. And I am not the only one. All over the world, people are being moved. People are rioting, protesting, speaking out. They are going beyond the limits of their accustomed behaviors in an attempt to be — what? Free? Happy? Satisfied? People are breaking out of shells, healing old wounds, learning to love themselves for the first time again. People are quitting their jobs to run across the country for a year, they are turning their backs on traditional, separatist, and condemning religious thought. They are quoting Eckhart in the grocery store, staging compassionate meditation protests in front of Wall Street Banks, and sharing their gifts for free.  I know I am not the only one because whenever I talk about this energy that moves us, heads nod, and people begin to tell the story of how they are being moved. 

Is your head nodding? 

It is likely that this energy has taken you as far as it can and now you are up against an edge.  An edge is present when you feel your natural resistance bubbling up to the surface. You’re at an edge when you don’t want to, but you know you must. You’re at an edge when you don’t know what’s next, but you have to keep going. You’re at an edge when you cannot rely on momentum to move you forward, you have to come out of your routine and do something to get going again. 

cliff

Today I met with a couple of friends to talk about our edges. Here are a few ways to investigate this movement within your life, hoping it will help you move forward with awareness and purpose. 

Edges of Practice: 

1) The degree of sharpness (a blade’s edge)

In what ways do you feel cut, sliced open or apart, by your practice?

I feel cut most often when I recognize when my outer persona is not congruent with my true self. This happens most often in social situations when it seems easier to go along with meaningless niceties than it is to stand out. I know it cuts because each time I feign agreement, or pretend to be interested in someone’s hurtful story, there is a sharp tug inside of my chest. 

2) The brink or rim of something (edge of a cliff) 

In what ways do you feel as like you must take a leap of faith in order to move forward in your life? 

My friend used this illustration: “Think of that scene from Indian Jones where he’s standing over a large chasm and needs to move forward, but there is no visible bridge in front of him. He has to step out on faith, hoping not to fall over.” 

Sometimes our practices takes us to an unknown precipice — if we continue to move forward, there’s no telling what will happen. Today I see myself standing on the cliff, looking at the fulfillment of promise awaiting on the other side, but hesitant to step forward because I feel unworthy and unprepared. 

3) At the border of something (edge of infinity) 

What behaviors/beliefs/ideas/relationships, etc., do you need to leave behind? 

Our practice eventually leads us to an understanding of how things that we enjoyed in the past, or even protected and served us in the past, no longer serve our continued growth. This is the edge of leaving things behind. 

One of my favorite quotes sums up how this edge is showing up in my life today:

“Put away your distractions and love everything in every direction.” 

I am at a place where I recognize how many of the things I take for granted as normal aspects of life (entertainment, food, non-essential relationships, politics, sports, etc.) serve more to distract me from Life’s Purpose than they fulfill any need or desire within me. So now I am on the border of leaving these things behind and being more focused on engaging in activities that serve a higher good. 

4) A precarious or exciting state of existence (living on the edge) 

In what ways does your practice surprise you? How does it scare you? 

Our spiritual practice reminds us that anything is possible, miracles are the rule not the exception, we are not alone on this journey, and the reward for our diligence is beyond understanding and meager imagination. This is the edge of excitement. 

Personally, I live more on that precarious edge though. Over on this edge we are reminded that the mind and ego are embedded in this process, and because of that, we can easily get caught up in selfishness at any time. A lot of people with the best of intentions often end up merely defending something they’ve built.  #StayWoke

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Related Article: At The Edge of Things

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One comment on “The Edges of Practice

  1. Penny L Howe says:

    Excellent post! Thank you for sharing! Penny 🙂

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