Knowing 1’s limits

Yes, this post follows on from yesterday’s, and no, I have not turned into some sort of calculus wizard. I had trouble with geometry in high school, let alone anything tougher. But I like the idea I was working on yesterday, and more came to me in the night, so here we are.

Those of you following my blog know I have been filling out tons of paperwork this last month or so. This past week was no exception; however, the intake forms for two of the clinics were entirely online. Trying to complete them took me to a whole new level of hatred for bureaucracy. I’ll take writer’s cramp over the frustration of online forms any day.

The frustration, I believe, stems from the limits imposed by these online forms. I want to answer fully and truthfully, but my answers are rarely listed as options. If a little box is provided in which to explain incomplete or missing replies, I soon find that there, too, I am character delimited. Let’s be honest: Have I ever answered in ten words if I could get away with a hundred (whether oral or written)? I am the progeny of a bardic people, remember.

People are so used to giving short, incomplete replies to short, vague questions that it has carried over into verbal workday conversations. Recently, I was ordered by someone at PSU to state what I wanted from him in one sentence. Whaaaaaat??? He didn’t know me well, but he certainly knew me better than that! He also insisted at one point that I choose an answer from two options given to me by him, even though the correct answer included both options. When I stalled, unable to answer because he was trying to make me choose one or the other, he assumed I was an idiot and began talking to me as if I were a fourth-grader. (I cried from frustration, and he relented; later, I sent him the email containing the two options he had refused to believe could co-exist. Vindication!)

Verbal and written language has its limits, of course. In fact, I believe 97% of language is actually non-verbal. (I read that somewhere — my ESL training, I think.) The expansion of technology, however, has resulted in the constriction of language. (Don’t start me on things like “LOL.” We could be here a long time.) One small example: I was a WordPerfect whiz years ago. I loved it because it was like driving a manual-shift car; I could make the program do all sorts of things because I knew its ins and outs. I didn’t use a mouse — it was all done with keystrokes. I had a t-shirt with “Alt-F3” printed on the front, and “Reveal Your Codes” on the back, just to let you know what a geek I was. Along comes MS Word, and its “user-friendliness.” Ugh! And don’t get me started on Word 2007, either. I need Valium to make it through writing even a short essay. As technology becomes ever more specialized, personal options decrease. Car buffs who long for the pre-electronic engines know exactly what I’m talking about here. I’m sure you can think of your own examples as well.

Western society is full of limits, on credit, speed (I remember what it was like before the 55 mph speed limits!), alcohol, food, education, healthcare — you name it. Even religion (but I’ll get to that later). Regular folks are forced to limit themselves left and right, because those with power have not limited themselves, and pay-up time has arrived. The Universe has only a few laws, but one of them is cause-and-effect. While this might be cause for alarm, I also find it cause for rejoicing.

Rejoice? Are you kidding? Have you seen my bank balance? Ha! With all the talk of lack around, it is hard sometimes to remember there is abundance, too. How many times have you said, even today, “I don’t have time for […]”? “If I had more money, I would […].” “I wish I had more time to spend with the [wife/husband/kids/folks].” How about, “I’ll never get this done!” “There’s not enough time!” “Hurry up!” “We have to go NOW!” “I can’t do this/ I can’t do that.” “My boss needs me to […] so I can’t go right now.” Can’t, can’t, can’t. Don’t, don’t, don’t. Lack, lack, lack.

The funny thing is, all we’ve got is time. We truly have “all the time in the world.” I think it was the comedian Steve Wright who wondered why people say ‘Life is Short.’ “It’s the longest thing you’ll ever do!” he says. “Name one thing you’ll do longer while you’re alive.” What wisdom!

And it’s not just Time. Hope has no limits. Love has no limits, either; same with Joy. They are just as available in that Zero Sphere as any other point of view. What we fail to see is that it is our choice. Being joyful is just as valid as any other emotion you want to pull out of the 0-Zone.

They’re found, however, in the gaps and silences of life; this is why meditation is so powerful. I truly believe this is why the cancer has healed: I tapped into the timelessness of the Universe, the universality of Hope, the healing power of Silence. Working, I could not do this. My son and Adrienne have given me the gift of time (small ‘t’), which has allowed me to revel in the abundance of Time, an abundance that is ever-present. The limits we impose on it are strictly manmade.

And here’s the part about religion. Believers in the world’s religions, their great founders and teachers recognizing the eternal nature of limitless abundance, nevertheless have tried to limit its transcendence by describing it, by applying feeble words, formed into rules, regulations, and restrictions. Life isn’t meant to be understood. God is best enjoyed un-codified. Religions (and their attendant art) are meant as metaphor, attempts to describe limitlessness in humankind’s limited terms. Christ, Buddha, Mohammed  — would they recognize what we have done to their beautiful legacies? Clinging to a religion’s limited tenets at the expense of its inherent abundance is, as was mentioned yesterday, like settling for a map — or even a picture of a map! — instead of living in the territory itself.

God, I believe, is a Zero. As Zero, he/she/it provides unlimited choices. We can close our eyes, spin the globe, stop it with our finger and say, “This is where I want to be!” It is as valid as any other place on that globe. Likewise, we can choose to feel rich when there’s nothing in our bank account; we can choose to be happy, even when in pain.

The frightening thing to me is that I nearly limited my own healing. I forgot, momentarily, that there was Life in them thar’ hills, a Life full of love, friendship, and laughter. You are my wealth and my abundance. I struck it rich when I met you.

So, my advice is, go for the Zero. Life for the 0-ment. There’s plenty of everything in the 0-Zone, and it’s for every-1.

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