This book consists of narratives about finding my way to a better place. It’s a journey that came through the discovery of ideas I’d not been aware of before: ideas that are less constricting and more open; ideas that point to possibilities instead of limits and boundaries. For me, they are ideas that breathe deeply with the flow of life.
As I practice these new, more open ideas, I feel as though shackles are being lifted off my shoulders. As I sense more and more release, I see more clearly the negative effects of those self-created chains.
It turns out that my shackles came from taking ideas too seriously, as absolutes rather than as one type of tool that can contribute to living. I have begun to free myself from rigid, tension-filled functioning by keeping in mind the limited nature of ideas, and by reminding myself that words are only tools – symbols that we create, well suited for some purposes but not for others.
This book describes how my misuse of word-tools was part of a seduction that lured me into an unwarranted sense of certainty. But the false certainty actually led to its opposite, self-doubt. I find that using words as absolutes brings me less certainty and security, not more, and that my sense of confidence increases as I view and use words as the limited, symbolic tools they are.
What words leave out makes them inadequate for certain jobs. Like any other tool, they are limited. But until I learned to see them only as tools, I was unaware of their limitations.
I was immersed in word-tools, like a fish in water, unable to see that anything else existed. As I opened up to see beyond cognition, I was surprised to find a sense of grounding that feels much better than confidence. As I move away from conceptual (word-based) certainty, I find a solid, grounded certainty of a different type.
Gradually I came to feel a sense of light playfulness with joyful peace as a background. Gradually the dominance of the ominous darkness, to which I was so accustomed, became less and less a part of my daily reality.
People say there is a first time for everything. This is a first book for me. At times, I felt doubt because I didn’t know how it would turn out or even what section would come next. Yet with most sections, writing flowed out smoothly without struggle or thinking ahead.
What you see in this book is what came out of me when I was not constricted by taking my thoughts too seriously. It was written naturally, based on my experiences as I discovered what could happen when I placed my attention differently.