So what would our society look like if everyone wholeheartedly explored their personal limits, found their edges, played with them, gracefully forgave themselves for inevitable shortcomings and learned to remain steadfast in that shaky, uncertain, sometimes excruciating inner territory? My guess is that the resulting paradigm shift would have vastly positive effects on both the collective and personal levels…
Individuals ready to take on challenges rather than shun their own edges and forfeit responsibility can produce a social and cultural environment of vast possibilities. Naturally, this collective effort would reciprocate back to the individual level by providing an environment continually supportive of mentally healthy behavior. This is once again the metaphor of the expanding circle, applied on a mass scale.
And for every tightrope walk along a razor’s edge that ended prematurely in recklessness, injury or disaster—as is bound to happen in any challenge-focused program—there’d be dozens more who made it to the other side, beyond expectations, into triumph and true transcendence. Perhaps you’ve experienced the magnetizing presence of these individuals: fully self-actualized, always willing, aware and compassionate in the face of any insult, chaos, or tragedy around them, inspiring others into action with their weighty words and deeds. There are always a few in any large group, and these are the much-needed leaders who will surely be ready to soften the landing for others suffering through premature falls and disasters.
The world could use more such leaders, but it stands little chance of seeing that happen until more of us begin the necessary work in our own lives, in small daily increments, whenever and wherever we see opportunity. Thus begins the process of moving towards fear rather than away from it, of reorienting ourselves along the path of resistance, inviting challenge and learning from struggle. Living against the grain by questioning socially reinforced meanings and cultural norms. Thinking of the self as an ever-expanding circle and striving towards holistic growth. A life fully lived, exploring the outer reaches of experience as well as the inner depths of consciousness. Barriers transcended, goals reached and dreams fulfilled.
(Nick can be found here: www.nickbaxter.com)