Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Frontier

Whether we are new or seasoned practitioners, our objective in practice is always the same: to step up to the the comfortable relationship with our edge. That invitation to step to our edge is so provocative! It suggests leaving the comfort of what we know and move toward our yet unknown greatness.

I like the word "frontier." In my mind, it conjures images of rugged people working with the land and wrestling with the unknown, growing and learning and being present with a life that is bigger than them but in which they play a part. The word "frontier" suggests perhaps our edge, our limit of experience or ability. It is the place which we have never been.

I think that whether you are working at a frontier of mindfulness, spirituality, or physicality, to place yourself at that edge of your experience is to truly live. Being at the edge isn't always easy but it is always real.

Simply being at our edge, we become stronger, literally in the case of asanas, but in every aspect of living, we find ourselves more and more able to sit in the heat of our own growth and the inevitable unfolding of the unknown. Because we have to be observant at that edge, we will notice the miracle of what we've created by being there. It's the miracle of watching our frontier, limitations we thought were so fixed and immovable, recede away from us. So that where we find ourselves is no longer the limit of our experience or ability. I could only touch my knees when I began practice, now I can touch my toes. I could only focus for a few seconds when I started, now I can stay in rapt attention for several moments. I barely understood myself before, now I see a divine creature unfolding.

As this edge recedes, we are again provoked by our own potential to take another step closer toward that edge. And again we find ourselves at the familiar relationship and distance with our frontier. Periodically, we may look back to see all the ground we've covered. That growth is a nice reminder that we're moving in the direction of our intention but ultimately secondary to what's real and present and constant--our commitment to be at the frontier. Our commitment to growth.

Until one day we realize that this is where we've set down our roots, in the paradox of constant movement as we chase our frontier, the eternal growth toward our highest self. We have arrived as we witness our own evolution.



carl said...

Jim Whitaker, the first American to scale Mt Everest said: "If you aren't living on the edge, you are taking up too much space. It has nothing to do with thrill seeking. It's about making the most of every moment, stretching your own boundaries, about being willing to learn constantly. "

Scottro said...

I love this quote.

Anonymous said...

Being on the edge in my spiritual practice is my goal. But in phenomenality there cannot be any unchanging condition. Knowing there are going to be ups and downs gives me more space without losing sight of my destination.

Anonymous said...

Being on the edge: Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. "What is supremely important is to be free from contradictions: the goal and the way must not be on different levels; life and light must not quarrel; behaviour must not betray belief. Call it honesty, integrity, wholeness; you must not go back, undo, uproot, or abandon the conquered ground. Tenacity of purpose and honesty in pursuit will bring you to your goal."