What happens within seems to move outward and to also happen “out there,” with other people, with one’s surroundings. The more inner allowing occurs — feeling what’s there to be felt, letting the light of awareness freely penetrate the whole of the interior, without walling off, without recoiling or timidity or the attempt to change anything — the more readily the heart extends itself, without judgment or self-protection, toward others.
If I wall off one part of myself because I find it ugly or scary or vulnerable, either denying it or using mental talk to “make it okay,” it’s inevitable I’ll wall myself off from others. Inevitably I’ll find others threatening or offensive, or I’ll be jealous or dismissive of them.
There’s a lot of talk about boundaries — somebody having lousy boundaries, or cultivating healthy ones. It looks like there are good reasons for the focus on them. There is the trouble caused by the absence of boundaries, the self-protection enabled by unambiguous ones.
Sometimes a person will wonder why they don’t seem to have the experience of being “one with all that is,” notwithstanding their apparently conscious existence, the mind mostly settled down. Or at least they recognize mental entrapment when it is under way.
If there’s separation inside, if you don’t feel one with your self, how could you possibly experience a bodied continuity with the world?
Yet they long for the bigger something, the fabled perfect stillness of losing all track of themselves. They hunger for the release of that subtle but unmistakable pain that’s kept alive by the experience of enduring separateness.
The first place to turn the gaze is within. If there’s separation inside — the feelings having one life, the attempt to control or deny them having another, amounting to separate forces doing quiet battle with one another — if, that is, you don’t feel whole, one with self (in effect), how could you possibly experience a bodied continuity with the world and people beyond your physical self?
When you come to fully know yourself, as you really are, and rest from the labor to change any of it, there is a flood of tenderness — not only toward yourself, but inevitably toward all others. For how can you willingly see into your own frail humanity without automatically seeing into theirs?
But if you live your life in judgment or avoidance of yourself, one part of you scrutinizing, managing, or disregarding the other, it’s inevitable you’ll be that way toward others. Strangers, acquaintances, co-workers, and (oh, the irony) “loved” ones.
We’re all on the same bus here. We do not have time to live as though it’s otherwise.
It turns out that while boundaries can have their usefulness within a certain narrow zone of human commerce, that whole thing is based upon a cramped, tortured reduction of human life. We weren’t born to dwell within our “protective” prison cells. We were born to lose all track of our apparently precious, separate, personal selves. We’re here to swim and revel in something vast, to know the world as we know ourselves, without the illusion of separation from any of it.