Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mapping a New Reality Outside the Zone of Familiarity

The world is changing. That is a simple fact. Whether we choose to fight those changes or help to create them, change is the nature of our evolutionary path. We are moving away from everything that is familiar to us into an unknown territory that we may call "the New Reality." What does this mean? It means that our familiar behaviors and interactions with each other will not bring the same results. It means that familiar ways of survival in the world will no longer work. It means that our familiar methods of exchange (work for money, money for food, etc.) may no longer be effective. Many of us have lost jobs or changed jobs as we struggle to find our place in the changing world. It means that even our weather can no longer be trusted to follow familiar patterns.

It also means that what can be proved by Science is changing moment by moment, too fast for us to know what are solid "facts" and what are only beliefs upon which we have built our understanding. It means that what can be discovered through trust is unfolding with unprecedented opportunities for our own growth. What we once believed is no longer true, and we have to trust that truth will be revealed as we step away from we "believed in our minds" and into what we "know through our hearts." We must be courageous enough to let go of every old belief, allowing ourselves to form different, more holistic thoughts, and take actions from a different place, actions that are based on the highest good for all. For some of us, this may mean simply surrendering the idea that we know best, and learning how to listen to what others may know. For some of us this may mean that we learn to listen to our own inner wisdom and stop asking teachers, healers, and leaders to "fix us." We are accustomed to a certain hierarchical order, wherein we have given the power for change to others, rather than recognizing our own power to make changes. In our current reality, many of the changes we are experiencing are coming from outside of us: earth changes, political changes, financial changes. But the real power of change comes from within us, and when we take back that power by working on ourselves rather than simply accepting changes as they come to us, we gain the opportunity to co-create a new reality, one of our own choosing or design, rather than the familiar one in which we are now struggling. To do this we must step outside our comfort zone of familiarity. We must expand our hearts and minds to find other possible ways of being in the world, ways of being and doing that cause us to cooperate with one another rather than to compete with one another; ways of being and doing that are based on love, rather than fear. Before we can make those changes, however, we need to understand the basis of the familiar reality in which we are living. The first thing to understand is that everything that we think (and much of what we feel) is based on duality, on polar extremes of different opinions, different experiences, and different beliefs. Thought, by nature, is dualistic, and we typically adhere to polar positions of what we believe to be true. That is the familiarity that causes us to fight for a cause or that keeps us trapped in positions where we continually give our power to others to make decisions for us. Duality gives us the position of "us" and "them," and it is from this familiar position that most of us struggle through life.

To create the new reality, we must move away from our dualistic perspectives towards a focus of more unity with each other. There is a way, if we help to create it, that we can experience our lives from a more multi-dimensional perspective, one that allows both positions of any situation to be true. That multi-dimensional perspective incorporates duality within unity, and it is from a place of multi-dimensionality that we can find the blessings of everyone's position, bringing us closer to the real truth. In the new reality, duality and unity do not represent opposites concepts. When we let go of our familiar attachments to any polar position and expand our awareness, we can stretch ourselves to bring all positions into harmony. Think of a couple or a family or a country. Each can be seen as an individual energy that may offer different ways of interacting in the world. Yet each couple, each family, and each country can also be viewed as a unified energy, representing a greater whole. In mapping a new reality, we are being called to step beyond the individual pieces of who we are into a greater unified whole. If we choose, we can evolve from citizens of a country to citizens of the world to citizens of the universe. Familiarity keeps us loyal to old belief systems, trapping us in structures that prevent our growth. To live as citizens of the universe, we must step out of our limited zone of familiarity into the larger reality of unity consciousness. Let's explore how we can do that.

From the beginning of human awareness, the accepted perception of reality has been based on concepts of duality. Everything we experience has a polar opposite: dark and light, hot and cold, male and female, us and them, right and wrong. We have become conditioned to expecting that there is an opposing force to everything we think, believe, or do. That sense of opposition has caused us to compete with one another, believing that there is always only one "right" way to do something. That sense of duality and opposition has also caused us to fear that there is never enough for everyone, and from that position, we have learned to compete with one another rather than to cooperate.

It is easy to see how we came to cling to those beliefs when we look at the path we have taken for our survival as a species. Each belief has been based either upon our direct participation with life or upon things that we have been taught are true. In order to have some stability in our lives, we have chosen to hold on to certain beliefs as truth and allow our past participation (history) to direct our future experience. Yet if we look at what we have created through our beliefs and our actions, we see that much of what humanity has done has caused us to suffer the pain of separation and war. Each place we have defended as the only truth divides us from others who may hold another aspect of the truth. We often stop listening when we hear ideas that are unfamiliar, strange, or that do not align with our own beliefs. In order to grow, each of us must be willing to move beyond the zone of familiarity, letting go of our need to be right. Our planet is based on dualitisic perspectives, but that does not mean that the forces of duality are the only way that we can exist.

However, as long as we are living on a planet full of duality, we might as well use it, instead of suffering under the pull of its polarities. Being a woman who has experienced monthly cycles gave me the idea that we are more than the simple opposites represented in duality. Writing my first book helped me to understand the gifts inherent in duality- the opposites contained within me as a human being: conflicting thoughts, ideas, emotions, and beliefs. Co-authoring my second book taught me how to better move towards unity. What I wish to share with you now are ways that we can use duality to further our growth and to expand ourselves as human beings. Duality can actually be utilized to help us attain unity, oneness, or love, however you envision those ideas. To me, they are all the same thing.

There are some concepts we must examine in order to move from the zone of familiarity into the new reality. For purposes of this article, we can call these concepts map points, places of potential change in the direction of our journey. The concepts duality and polarity have already been addressed and will continue to weave their way throughout our journey. A deeper understanding of these terms show us that they are necessary experiences for our own growth. The experience of polar opposites pushes us to grow. When we work with the polarities of duality, it allows us to experience everything in a more balanced way.

Other concepts we need to examine are time, the Mayan Calendar, change, and fundamentalism. What exactly is time? I have been fascinated with the concept for as long as I can remember. I have always felt some kind of mystery about time. Only recently, through my experience of feeling that time seems to be speeding up, have I understood that time is a concept that we as collective consciousness have created. The universe does not operate under laws of time. The universe operates through laws of energy. We use time here on Earth to measure that energetic movement. On earth, we humans have agreed collectively to define our reality by a measurement called time. But even if I accept the collective agreement that time is a defining structure of our existence, I think we have collectively made a huge mistake in understanding how it works. All modern cultures who use clock and calendar to structure their reality view time as linear, stretching from past into future, one sequential event following another. This linear view of time has had a tremendous effect on modern thought, including our view of reality. Because we see time as linear, we are preoccupied with progress. Through the modern focus on linear progress, we have forgotten the greater principles of Nature: that energy (and life) move in spirals and cycles, not linearly! And with that misunderstanding, we have warped the true reality, creating the artificial one which we believe to be true: a reality where we attempt to control Nature’s cycles (and each other) rather than participating with the energetic cycles of life. In order to reach the new reality, we must release the familiar construct of linear time and change our understanding of how we are participating with the universe. We can map this journey by trying to see the whole picture, rather than just particular parts (our polar beliefs). By allowing that each part of duality is part of the greater whole of unity, we can begin to move away from a familiar reality based on linear time into the territory of the new reality--which is based on energy.

My study of the Mayan Calendar enhanced my knowledge that our current reality has an incorrect understanding of time. I have already said that time is not linear; it cycles. Actually, it spirals, up and up and up (or down and down and down) towards a central point where it does not exist at all, a point where everything converges (unity). There are cycles within cycles within cycles in the cosmos. The Maya represented these cycles in a calendar of energetic understanding. Their calendar is not a measure of time at all: it is a tool for guiding our own energetic cycles through the duality of earthly existence. When we look at our view of time from this vantage point, it is easy to see that, as quantum science points out, everything is energy-- even time! On our journey, we need to release our need to control time or to operate under it's limited but imaginary power; we must learn to navigate cycles of energy within our own lives. Learning how to do this leads us towards the new reality, where we can truly understand that all polarities (duality) are contained within each moment (unity.) It is this multidimensional perspective that will show us how to incorporate duality into unity. The Mayan Calendar is a map towards oneness, and we can use this map to guide us to the new reality. This map shows us the merging of duality, and when we reach the central point, duality will cease to exist. That is the meaning of the end of time.

To step out of our comfort zone of familiarity into the new reality, we need to examine and to absorb the principles and dynamics of the reality we are hurtling towards. The principles of unity include everything- every dualistic opposite, every polar viewpoint. Unity is large enough to contain it all in harmony! In fact, unity is infinite. Quantum physics says that everything exists at once. We must allow that truth to grow within us, and change accordingly, releasing our need to hold fast to polarized concepts we have previously regarded as the truth.

Life by definition is change. Everything on Earth is interwoven into a living system of cycles. Cycles of Life are systemic, and balance is maintained through the energetic exchange brought to us by each of these cycles. There is a rhythm to life that makes it work. Humans, as part of life, are also governed by rhythms. Every part of being human includes a cycle of some sort. More than one hundred functions and structural elements in humans oscillate between maximal and minimal values once a day, including our breathe, our blood, and our hormones. It is difficult to find any aspect of being human that does not include a cycle of some sort. However, humans have done their best to ignore natural cycles, abandoning natural human rhythms for the more controlled industrial, technological rhythms of life. Moreover, we have allowed our belief systems to fool us into thinking that we can control these energetic cycles. Right now, these rhythms are changing, and we must change with them. The simple truth is that in order to survive, we must change.

This article is intended to give some guidance into how we can proceed with the necessary changes. In order to make conscious change, we must first grasp the idea that we need to change. When we have a clear idea that what once worked is no longer working, then we can proceed. The second step to mapping the new reality is to let go of what we think we know and have the courage to imagine something different. When we keep trying the same old things and thinking the same old thoughts, we prevent the flow of better opportunities and we prevent ourselves from growing into better people. In other words, we are blocked from our own growth.

Have you ever watched a moving river? There are no problems as it flows along, until something blocks its flow. The river then either overflows to go around the blockage or it becomes a stagnant pool standing still. We need now to see ourselves as rivers (we are, after all, primarily made of water!) We cannot afford to allow blockages to cause us to stagnate; we must instead meet every challenge with trust in the overflowing of possible solutions. We must learn to view problems as opportunities for growth, or we may become stagnant too. But we are not accustomed to viewing problems as opportunities for growth; we are accustomed to seeing them as challenges we must overcome. Typically we resist them, hoping to remove them in order to settle back into our comfort zone of familiarity. To change this pattern of behavior, we must redefine "problem."

The dictionary defines "problem" as a difficult situation, matter, or person. Now what makes it difficult? Could it be the very idea that the situation, matter, or person is not conforming to what we want or what we believe to be right? Could it be that the problem is only apparent when we see it in opposition to our familiar beliefs of how things should be? Is there a problem when another person is simply going about her own business without our interference or judgment? As long as the other is considering how her actions affect others, there is no problem. We move into "problem" status, when the energy of one person or situation conflicts with the energy of another. So the first step is to become aware that every thought and every action we have affects all others and take responsibility for everything we think or do. That moves us from the familiar dualistic position of "individual rights" to the more unified position of "highest good for all." If we can re-train ourselves to consider our every thought, emotion, and action before we release them into the world, then the energy we present will hold less conflict, and less problems will occur. There will be more flow, because we are aware of and responsible for everything we do.

I have noticed that most "problems" stem from fundamental differences in our opinions or beliefs. We want whatever "the difference" that is creating the "problem" to move over to our end of the polar spectrum, to join us where we are. And if that doesn't work, we seek a "compromise," not a "blending" of both polarities. The fundamental difference still exists, because we live in a world of duality, and so we seek over and over again to "correct the problem" by moving it to our polar position.

The second thing we must do to re-define problem is to accept that the dualistic concept of "right" and "wrong" is no longer serving us. We must stop our attempts to convince others that we are right or to prove that they are wrong. The only ones we can ever change are ourselves, and the first step towards change is taking responsibility for our own thoughts and actions. We cannot shape a person to match our design of what we think is right or what we need. Nor can we always manipulate every situation or every circumstance around our desires. The next time we feel a situation is not to our liking or that someone is not behaving as we wish they would, we can notice how quickly a "problem" arises. In our current reality, the minute something blocks us from getting what we want, it becomes a problem. In the new reality, the minute we feel something different, we will explore what opportunities for growth it may be offering.

I would now like to look at the remaining concept serving as a map point towards the new reality: fundamentalism. The dictionary gives several definitions for the word fundamental:

(1) relating to or affecting the underlying principle or structure of something; (2) the lowest frequency in a vibration or periodic wave.Both of these definitions strike at the heart of the points I am about to make, for I am about to discuss fundamental beliefs and fundamental attitudes.

The dictionary definition of fundamentalism is: "the belief that a doctrine should be implemented literally, not interpreted or adapted."

I have a "problem" with both meanings of fundamental and fundamentalism, but beyond that I have a problem with the concept. If I follow my premise that problems are opportunities for growth, I would abandon the concept of fundamentalism altogether, as it seems only to serve allegiance to duality. The ideas represented by fundamentalism seem to create stagnation, not growth. A literal (fundamental) interpretation of any belief or principal does not allow for interpretation or adaptation. Doesn't holding on to something literally by the letter of the law block the flow of creativity and adaptation to specific circumstances?

Now let's look at definition #2: fundamentalism as the lowest frequency in a vibration or periodic wave. The lowest frequency indicates the one with the least amount of movement. Again we are bumping up against stagnation, something that does not allow for creativity. People who hold on to fundamental beliefs and ideas about the world are, according to the dictionary, structuring their world on the lowest frequency vibration available to humans. Not only are they holding that out as the essential truth for all humanity, they want to convert anyone who does not see the "truth" of their beliefs. I find that quite constricting. In fact, the river called Rebecca (for I too am water) does not feel good when it is blocked by such structures of belief. I do not want to be damned up, confined, into such a limited position as a human. I want to be interpreted according to the context in which I live. Don't you? I do not want to be boxed in to something that I was yesterday when I am still evolving into what I will be tomorrow.

Fundamentalism is not only about the lowest frequency of being. It is also about polarity. The practice of fundamentalism in religion is a prime example of fundamentalism's great cost to humanity. Fundamental Christians and Fundamental Muslims have latched on to opposite polarities, and are willing to kill others who cannot live by their rules. In my humble opinion, that is the lowest vibratory frequency possible: to be willing to take a life because a person does not hold your beliefs. Most fundamental religions, if not actively engage in killing as their religions have done in the past, they are busy trying to convert others to their polar belief system. This is a battle of ideas, if not physical battle. Unable to see that anything else could exist as "truth", they turn blind eyes and ears to ideas that could promote world harmony, sticking to the fundamental polarity that they are "right." Some even believe that they are the chosen of God and that everyone else is doomed for a Hell (however they define that term.) In any fundamental belief system, people see their own truth as the only truth. As already discussed, in unity, truth can hold many dualistic perspectives. In fact, the flow of the universe produces only truth and beauty when allowed to flow unimpeded.

I have noticed that whenever I am locked into a polarity of belief, I constrict the opportunities that might be possible. When I detach from what I think must be right, I also detach from the thought that anything different from that will cause a problem. Conversely, when I am feeling joyful and spacious inside myself, when I am accepting of who I am as well as my outer circumstance, I have a more expanded view. I flow more, allowing everything that is possible to arrive when and as it should. At those moments, I trust the universe and I have no fear. I am not afraid of being judged or rejected. I am not trying to control things out of fear that I won't get what I want or what I need. I am not afraid that I will lose myself by honoring someone else. There is no polar attachment to anything, but I exist somewhere in the middle, just being. In short, there is nothing to be afraid of because I am experiencing so much joy that I trust everything is as it should be. And things usually work out quite well when I can manage to live this way. This is living from the place of love, the position of unity where duality is incorporated as part of the whole. We have all experienced spaces in our lives where we are living from the place of love. When we are in those moments, food tastes better, sunsets are more glorious, our mates look more handsome (or beautiful) and more attractive to us, and whatever is happening seems just right.

When we are not operating from the place of love, we must struggle to remember that whoever or whatever has created the perceived "problem," disharmony, or difference is acceptable, too. It is nobody's fault. Others are just being who they are, living their lives, and hopefully, doing it with responsibility for how they affect others. (That is the place most of us need to work: in realizing that everything we think and do individually affects everyone else as part of the unified whole.) If I fall out of resonance with someone, I don't have to blame them or change them, or even tell them what I am feeling about the "problem" (although open communication without judgment or blame is always a plus.) I don't have to focus on fundamental differences or latch on to my desire to correct the situation. I can simply move out of the energy that is not supportive of me at that particular moment, remembering that there is room for us all, the only thing I can change is myself, that I must take responsibility for my thoughts and actions, and that as I learn to do it differently, my individual efforts for greater harmony within myself will affect the harmony of the greater whole. Or perhaps, if the lack of resonance is increasing, I glean an understanding that I must leave the person or situation permanently to support myself. Each of us has a choice, and we make it by asking this question: "Do I want to participate in a battle of polarities that is causing difficulty, or do I want to let it go, moving back towards my own sense of flow?"

There is no point in repeating disharmonious situations over and over again, hoping that it they will have a different outcome next time. (In fact, that is a very good definition of mental illness!) The thing that needs to change is within me. It is here, on the inside, where I can examine my insecurities and my fears, that I can take responsibility for my emotions and learn to understand what is called for. It is here inside of me that I also learn to take responsibility for how my thoughts and actions affect others. It is only a belief that what we are wanting or needing or experiencing is more important than what the other person is wanting or needing or experiencing that causes conflict. In the moment, there is a clash of expectations, and like a cold front hitting a warm front in the weather, lightening can occur. How we choose to deal with the clash of polarities is what gives us the potential to grow. We must want to get back to the state of love and unity. And to do so, we must follow the new map, making choices that are not based on any fundamental belief. We are not fundamentally right while others are fundamentally wrong. Likewise, situations are neither right or wrong; they simply move into and out of energetic harmony. To restore energetic harmony to the whole, our best choice is to either correct our own abilities to accept others' experience, or vacate the space for a while, allowing them the right and the space to be exactly where they are. When we can learn as humans to do this, "problems" will be over. There will be no fundamental differences.

Leaving the zone of familiarity and following the map to the new reality is about thinking differently and acting differently, unwinding those patterns that have kept our familiar comforts and discomforts in their polar places. The old familiar ways are not working, and I, for one, do not want to continue living life from the viewpoint that suggests that life is hard, life is a struggle, or that I have to fight to get my share. There is enough for all of us. Everyone owns a piece of the truth, and each polar perspective offers us another vantage point of the whole. There is no right way, (although some ways certainly flow more easily because they are more connected to the benefit of the whole.)

Our world is changing. We must now evolve or die. We need to learn to • detach from belief systems, • surrender fundamental polar positions of extremes in favor of unified concepts, • accept the gifts inherent in the viewpoints of others, • have gratitude for every opportunity to grow and change, • cooperate rather than compete (including mind games and competitive sports), • live from love rather than from fear, and • accept energy rather than time as the basis of our existence.

In the new reality, these ways of interacting with life may become more necessary than air. Without air, we die. Possibly as new humans, without a new attitude and a new perspective that is loving and non-judgmental, we will also die. It is possible that an atmosphere created by beliefs that contain judgment and fear can be just as toxic as an atmosphere that contains only carbon dioxide. We cannot live without oxygen. Can we live without love?

The concepts I have offered on my map to the new reality are limited by the use of human language, another aspect of duality and our current reality. I share as best I can, my hopes, my dreams, my questions, and my understanding. But all of these words come from the shared familiarity of the English language. To step out of familiarity into the new reality, I must share from the core of my being, from the place within me that is love.

Communication occurs on more levels than mindful speech. Communication comes through the expressions on our faces and the energy we hold in our hearts. If I were able to truly communicate and connect with each of you reading this article, in the new reality I would step out of the zone of the familiar use of language, and I would simply give you a hug.

With love and light,Rebecca Smith Orleane, Ph.D.

Copyright by Rebecca Smith Orleane, Ph.D.

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