When I take a lunch break at massage school, I sometimes walk off campus to a nearby Jamaican restaurant. Often times Bob Marley music is playing inside; the servers give each customer a free scoop of sherbet as they wait for their meals; and the food is fresh, well-cooked, and reasonably priced. For these reasons, it's an attractive destination.
To get there, I choose to take a route that requires me to hop over a short, waist-high fence in the southeast corner of campus. My other option would be to pass through the open gate on the northwest side, but that's in the opposite direction of the restaurant. So instead, I transcend the man-made boundary by traversing vertically over its flat, iron bars, rather than staying stuck to the horizontal concrete and having to trek the extra distance through the gate.
A couple classmates have joined me in jumping over the boundary fence, and we help each other carry things when making the transition. It's good teamwork, albeit a little mischievous.
Taking a shortcut usually carries a risk. Will we be admonished for hopping the fence? Might we get injured if we are too reckless with our acrobatics? Could we possibly set off a trend and influence other students to bypass the proper gate?
All valid questions and concerns. As it is now, my conscience approves of the shortcut. That could change. But the reason I'm writing about this little vignette is not really to sort out a moral dilemma, but rather to explore the broader topics of throughness and navigating boundaries, which are ever-evolving aspects of consciousness on Earth.
When it comes to deep meditation, I've gone through plenty of scenery in my journey to stillness. Perhaps what is most prevalent is the inner, ego voice. Since I'm verbally inclined as a writer and speaker, it makes sense that the auditory version of my individuality would be commonplace. There are other layers that are often waded through, like images, feelings, memories, dream sequences, and even scenery I can't yet comprehend or contextualize in words.
All I know is: I go through what I go through based on the technique of easily favoring the mantra. I trust the route and the parameters within the scope of the simple practice, mainly because the practice yields good results. I am also inspired by other long-term practitioners who are exuding qualities of happiness, humor, and general well-being. It's been an easy program for my mind to buy into.
Sometimes there are walls and obstructions that I encounter internally, and getting past them is not as quick as hopping the fence at school. I have to surrender my awareness to what arises, without any pre-planned escape routes, micro-management, or shortcuts. I follow the mantra wherever it takes me, regardless of the distance to be traveled. Eventually, the obstacles dissolve in stillness, and the purification and opening continues.
Yogani wrote in Lesson 390: "While we are all going through essentially the same process of purification and opening, the application of practices, experiences, and rate of manifestation of results will vary. So, who can say when you will be enlightened? No one can. But you can see signs and milestones emerging along the way."
The milestones are marked by the rise of perpetual serenity, ecstatic conductivity, and ultimately, an outpouring of divine love that flows through the boundless, unified field of Being.
In our massage class, we're reading a book called The Educated Heart, which discusses the importance and necessity of setting professional boundaries. Massage therapy is an intimate modality that involves mutual trust and an exchange of energy. The responsibility falls first and foremost in the hands of the therapist, and that's why ethics and regulations are brought forth early in the curriculum. Delicate territory requires delicate protocol.
Boundaries are inevitable. Some need to be respected and kept in place. Others will be dissolved or treated with more transparency. Buoyed by the peaceful witness, the acts of creative discrimination and passionate dispassion can lead the way of navigation through all scenery, inside and out.
The higher power is in us.