Beyond the Norm – January 10 2018

At times, and with increasing frequency now, I experience a kind of clarity that I’ve never seen adequately described in a football story. Sometimes, for example, time seems to slow way down, in an uncanny way, as if everyone were moving in slow motion. It’s beautiful.
Quarterback John Brodie in the Esalen Catalog, 1974,   
quoted in An Actual Man: Michael Murphy   
and the Human Potential Movement
 
There are people in the world who look askance at the very idea of meditation or of spirituality; and there are others, like John Brodie, quoted above, know that there is a way to experience “reality” other than what is our norm, and recognize the value of this other way of experiencing. Michael Murphy, co-founder of the Esalen Institute and author of, among other works, the seminal Golf in the Kingdom, has devoted his life to the study of how we, as humans, can go beyond the mundane in our experience of life.
 
It’s as if there is this amazing frontier calling out to be explored, but much of the world practically refuses to recognize it is even there. Though the call is answered by some, it goes unheard by the many.
 
This is one of the difficulties encountered by some after they have learned a practice like Vedic meditation–a lack of support in their family and/or community to continue their practice, and at times even an active animosity, as if to sit in silence for 20 minutes is a threat to someone’s world view or sense of propriety.
 
If we are sensitive to the opinions of others, this can be disconcerting, even upsetting. The good news is that the meditation itself helps us to find that place within that does not need the approval or support of others, so a little bit of willpower exerted to continue to find the chair twice a day goes a long way.
 
It also helps, though, to remind ourselves of what is available to us in the realm of consciousness. Though very few of us will play any sport at the level enjoyed by John Brodie, there are things each of us love as much as he loved football; and each of us can find our own version of his time-slowing-down experience no matter what our vocation or avocation. We just need to remind ourselves that there is so much more available to us than the norm. So much more to be seen, to be experienced, to be known, to be discovered. There is an infinity of adventures to be had, in meditation and without, in our own inner sense of self and in the world. There is an infinite universe to be explored. At best we may be able to scratch the surface of that infinity in any given lifetime, but how better could we spend our time?
 
This is the most worthwhile study: asking ourselves the questions that men and women have been asking for thousands of years, seeking the answers within ourselves and finding support and guidance in that seeking wherever we can.
 
Today I will seek evidence–in conversation, in books, in articles–of people who have had adventures in consciousness and who have seen their lives expanded and improved by those adventures. I will look for reasons to continue my exploration of Self, rather than reasons to stop.
Sunrise, Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW, Australia
All original material copyright © 2018 Jeff Kober

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