(Image: A Student’s View of the Universe, Oil painting by Anthony Quesen)
The human mind has no limits. We can create anything. We can imagine unseen worlds. We can dream far beyond our knowledge. We can conceive responses to any challenge. We are dynamic players in an infinity of possibility.
The promise of this for all of humanity, no matter how haltingly realized, is the eternal hope for thriving beyond survival. At any moment, an insight might bubble up in anyone that provides a solution to vexing problems. Right now, someone is conceiving how to transcend discord between cultures and individuals. An answer is taking form in a doctor’s mind to cure a deadly disease. A child daydreaming by a fireside is playing unheard music in his mind. A scientist is stumbling into an unexpected development in a lab that sets her mind alight with a new direction for research. All over the planet, the power of creation is pulsing through all of life.
We are not the product of creation; we are creation both in formlessness, our powers to think and shape our thinking into reality, and in form, our very existence that allows us to interact and build and and dance and laugh, and, yes, to scream and cry. Because we are always thinking our own particular reality into form, we are living in the illusion that we are fixed in time and space, bound by our own limitations. Only when we step back to see the whole beautiful system in operation do we realize that we are fixed only by the limitations we make up in our own thoughts.
What are those limits? Simple things like, “If that was such a great idea, somebody would already have thought of it.” “I’m not smart enough to solve this problem.” “I can’t do math.” “That’s beyond my pay grade; don’t ask me that.” “I don’t understand art.” “My ideas aren’t that good; I can’t help you.” In the ordinary course of every day, we stop short, again and again, of allowing our own minds to work as they are designed to work. We turn our backs on the infinite possibilities of what we might see in this moment now, and travel backwards and forwards into fear and doubt about ourselves.
When my grandson (the artist of the illustration for this Blog) was little, it used to thrill me when he would open a box and dump a bunch of Lego pieces in a pile and, unfazed, look at the picture on the box and begin sorting the pieces to build it himself. The first time he did that, to be honest, I was momentarily concerned. I had the thought, “Oh, gosh. He’s so little. This is too complicated for him. I don’t think he can figure it out, and I hate to see him frustrated.” Fortunately, I didn’t express that thought. I just went about fixing dinner. A half-hour later, when I went to tell him it was time for dinner, he was fitting the last few pieces in place and smiling from ear to ear. “Look Grammie! I saw how to do it! I looked at the picture and I saw what to do!”
That’s the starter kit we’re born with, unlimited faith that we can see what to do if we just wonder and look. Little children who have not been told they can’t always start from “I can.” Limitations are acquired thinking; we come into the world with nothing on our minds. And then we fill our minds with whatever we borrow, observe, see or discover for ourselves.
I learned, watching my grandson grow up (he’s 18 now) that if you don’t ever discuss limitations with children, they don’t find them. He watched his mother running a half-marathon when he was 10. “That looks like fun,” he said. “Great,” she said, “you can run with me next time.” He did, starting with 5k’s, and six months later, he finished his first half-marathon, filled with joy. He watched his father, an artist, draw simple animals on butcher block paper in a restaurant when he was a little tyke, barely able to grasp a crayon. “I do it!” he exclaimed. “Sure,” his Dad said, “and guided him to creating his first orange bunny rabbit. Within a short time, he was drawing all kinds of things on his own. He watched me pulling weeds in the yard when he was five. “Can I pull some?” he asked. “Sure,” I said. “I’ll show you how to tell the weeds from the flowers.” By the next Saturday, he was out there working confidently by my side.
We come into life exuberant to live it. We throw ourselves into the freshness of it all and start thinking our own way through the color and light and sounds and adventures of seeing life anew. At every step along the way, our minds are optimally wired to make the most of it and generate rich experiences of it. But our minds belong to us, and we can think anything. The mind doesn’t care. Whatever images we put into our heads, our consciousness will bring into our reality. So the first time we think, “Oh, no, I can’t,” we have the experience of holding back, stepping away from opportunity, doubting ourselves. That’s not all bad; we have to learn not to put our hand down on a hot stove, not to go into freezing weather without protective clothing, not to do and think a lot of things. But we need to learn, from early on in life, that thinking is our gift, the way we create our precious life experience, the pathway to entering the unknown and finding new treasures.
No one can stop the flow of thought; it is the creative process moving through us. No one can keep new thoughts from coming to mind. But everyone can see that flow for what it is, an energetic movement of stuff, like detritus floating in a fast-flowing river. We can watch it pass, or we can grab something and look more closely. When we don’t know that we can watch it pass, we try to grab everything, and end up muddled. When we don’t know how to tell the good stuff from the junk, we make mistakes and hold onto to things we could have allowed to pass. When we know how it all works, we can enjoy it all — no harm done.
That’s the key, knowing we are not our thoughts. Our thoughts are the fleeting products of our own unlimited capacity to create images and ideas. Our experience of them allows us to know what to do with them, but none of them can hold us back. They don’t have the power.
We are Mind, Thought and Consciousness in motion. We are the power.
For more from Judy Sedgeman, visit three-principles.com.