Escaping the anthill mentality

There are different ways to look at life, so many different perspectives we can take. But we so often get trapped into just one – we focus all our attention on the content of our life, re-visiting our memories or living imagined future events over and over. It can become a constant treadmill of inner dialogue that leaves us feeling flat and empty, exhausted with the one dimensionality of it all.

I’ve already said something about the great importance of taking time throughout the day to bring yourself into the moment. But don’t think you’re aiming for a life where you just live constantly in the moment, that’s not ideal in our world where we have to plan the future at times and we have to remember the past too.

Being able to empty yourself in present moment awareness will bring you jewels of happiness and freedom, if I can speak about that poetically, but in one sense it’s really just the start of seeing reality the way it is. I know, by the way you probably think you see reality just fine, but trust me you only see a fraction of it and poorly distorted through the sense of personal self at that.

So I thought it might be useful to share some other thoughts with you. Just a few simple tips or exercises to try. You might see these as trivial, unimportant games but actually in time you’ll see, I hope, they’re more than that.

What I’d like you to try is to take some time, following on from bringing yourself into the present moment to see the world beyond the human sphere. What do I mean by that? Well, basically all you see or sense of life is aproximately ground level up to around six feet in one two dimensional layer on the surface of the planet. It’s obvious why, that’s the bit we tend to inhabit, so that’s the bit we focus on.

The infinite and vastly conscious universe is all around us and we experience only a fraction so here’s a starter on how to expand that – no drugs or other substances needed (best avoided on this path). Here we go:

1) Open space. Take a moment next time you’re outside to look up. What can you see? Now think about it – there’s space above your head,  a mile above your head, and a hundred miles, and millions of miles and even light years.

What’s it like in that space? Imagine how it seems empty. Complete emptiness. See the emptiness approaching back down to our own planet. We encounter the first particles of the thin atmosphere but the space doesn’t stop. The particles are in the space but the space goes on. Now on down back to us, the space goes on. The particles are closer together but actually the particles are mostly just space. Even when we reach our very skin the space goes on, right inside us.

The same space a hundred miles ablove our head is right inside us in one unbroken continuum going on forever. Remember this, remember the matrix of space. Are we all just phenomena coming and going in it? Popping in and out of reality like virtual particles?

2) Adust your scale. The next time you get a few minutes near to some natural form – a patch of grass, a plant – take the time to look closely. Now really look. How much detail can you see? What different colours are there, and what different shades? Some surfaces are solid looking, others transluscent. Get right into this tiny scale, give yourself to it.

For a small animal or an insect we’re giants. Huge lumbering beasts that cover vast distances with one stride. Imagine looking up at us like that. I bet you used to see the world this way somethimes when you were a child, playing with small toys. Don’t think you can’t or shouldn’t do it now, take the time to do it and enjoy it.

At times you’ll find your thoughts might drop to silence. This is a great gift. Be in that silence, just be in it for as long as you can. Trust it. See what that does to the rest of your day.

3) The free runner. Next time you’re in a moving vehicle as a passenger look out the window at the scenery as it passes by. Now picture yourself in a shimmering body, running, jumping, flying alongside the vehicle. See yourself leaping over the hedges and walls, racing across fields and open spaces. Imaging the wind in your hair and on your body.

Your body can do anything with boundless energy. Feel the joy of the movement and imagine the freedom and the fluidity of such speed. never tiring, never falling, leaping and sprinting, somersaulting and flying. Take the time to be free. Spend time outside the vehicle and outside yourself in this free body. It might take practice but give it a go.

In summary – we all spend time in traffic jams, waiting for trains and buses. Don’t just go into another narrative, a book, your music, social media. Take time to find silence, to find the space and the freedom all around you. Actually they’re not imagined, they’re real and you can access them when you need to.

When you’re forced, or you choose to come back to the content of your life, remember, it’s only ‘real’ from one perspective. From another, all our concerns and striving are only as real as the concerns and strivings of an ant in an anthill (you’ve seen them struggling with great big pieces of leaves). Yes, it actually is happening, but no, it’s not everything, unless you focus on it and make it everything. And trust me, the universe is much more infinitely vast and breathtaking than that. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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