This month’s theme is “extreme.” Think of extreme as a function of expansion, a sense of “more.” A direction that can be either inner or outer expansion to a level of experience or a place that is not our current norm.
Extreme, as a moving boundary of what is possible in our minds and imagination.
What is extreme is relative. For someone who has only been in an automobile, flying may be extreme in comparison. But to someone who has flown before, parachute jumping out of the plane may be extreme.
We normally think of expansion as an outer experience. Why do we want to experience this? Because we are meant to expand. It is natural to all existence. The universe physically expands and we are reflections of that universe in each of us and in all things. A tree grows and expands to the extreme limits of its “tree-ness,” as does a flower, to be all they can be.
To know more, to be more, to experience more and in some cases to have more; but having more, in terms of having more possessions, doesn’t quite cover our yearning. When we first have a new thing in our life, it feels good for a while, but because a possession is external, it doesn’t add to our sense of self, our character, our soul. Perhaps that is why there are so many unhappy people who try to be more by having more. Frankly, buying a new pair of shoes or a new frock or a new car does put a little kick in the step and a little smile on the face. But shoes get scuffed and worn, colors and fashion change and cars break down. Social status and the admiration of strangers becomes shallow and obsolete in our need for a truer destination. What was true for yesterday is no longer true today.
Even extreme sports can ultimately result in a lack of fulfillment. Perhaps you just did a triple summer-salt unicycle leap over the Grand Canyon during a snow storm. Back in your living room, you contemplate for a moment, with satisfaction, what you did. But because you are looking at outer extremes, you then begin to plan what is even more extreme. Eventually Mount Everest and the unicycle are brought into the picture somehow.
I’d like to suggest that outer expansion is a reflection our desire for inner expansion, a desire for core happiness and fulfillment.
So extreme can denote expansion into the opposite of what we usually think of: inner, not outer. Such as expanding consciousness and awareness of the present moment by not having the endless train of thoughts and judgments, through the practice of mindfulness and meditation. To know ourselves and then to imagine what is more. To learn what we are truly made of and what is really important to us. Ask those who meditate.
And at some point, usually a result of life-experience, age and practice, the desire for more comes down to be more stillness, peace, understanding, balance and love. The need for expansion is now directed inward to a greater sense of compassion. For then we have arrived at our extreme destination. Where there is no more ‘”more,” there only is.
If love is the basis for all consciousness, then we will know we are expanding when we experience love in everything, including ourselves, just the way we are, just the way everything is, unfolding. There is no taller mountain, no deeper ocean, no greater extreme than love. We have arrived at our extreme destination.
Best of health, Terry M. Cross