A Field Guide to Life – Framework

by Brad on August 21, 2012


A Framework for the Journey 

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I … I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”   – Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken 

We live in a complex, chaotic, uncertain world, pulled in many directions by competing pressures. Unconsciously, we’re following a map of life that offers a strong, compelling promise: If you want to make it, you have to play the game. The game says if you know more, try harder, stay busy, don’t rock the boat, and get it right, you’ll make a lot of money, so you can buy a lot of stuff; then you’ll be happy. We even have a name for this game – the American Dream. The original American Dream promised “freedom of spirit;” seems we’ve replaced that with an empty promise.

There’s another way. It requires (1) revealing the thinking behind the dream as unconscious and life-limiting, (2) exposing the pursuit of the dream as futile, (3) a new model within which we could create the life experience we truly desire, and (4) practices, or recurring exercises, that help to integrate that model into everyday behavior, thus transforming your ways of seeing and thinking.

As you interpret my story, you’ll find that you create an opening in your life, an opening to find your own story. For when you know your own story and then choose its next chapter consciously with passion and pride, you, too, will no doubt experience the meaning and joy that have become such a gift to me. Although you may not always encounter smooth trails or find much company along the path to your authentic self, you will discover your own unique truth. As you do, you’ll find that it offers more authenticity and joy than you could have ever imagined having from the external world. As the unique fire burning inside you begins to fuel your journey and light your way, you’ll wonder, as do I, why you ever listened so intently to the outrageous yammering of a discontented world for so damned long.

Because I see the world of nature a near-perfect model for how we might live, I want to summarize up-front the premises around which my message is built. Think of this as a framework within which the rest of the story unfolds:

  • the universe, animate and inanimate, is defined by remarkable and natural order: “all is one”
  • how nature works is the expression of that order here on Earth; it’s just below the surface chaos we experience as life: “as above, so below”
  • we are part of that order; only unconsciously held assumptions and beliefs give us the illusion of separateness, when in fact, none exists
  • life isn’t the problem we believe it to be; the way we see life has gotten us lost … following a map that exists only as an artifact of the mind.  It’s the only map we know, so we question neither its existence nor validity
  • we’re constrained by a map of the past, not the future, a map designed to protect us from our limitations, not to inspire us toward our potential
  • the periphery of our map is the western worldview, rooted in classical science, telling us life needs to be objective, predictable and proven
  • science is not the world, but a process to help us understand the world
  • life doesn’t work the way science works; it works the way nature works
  • each of us is an ecosystem; the energy fueling our ecosystem is thinking; life-constraining thinking inhibits the sustainability of our ecosystem
  • we need a worldview/map that accurately describes the territory of our lives, that encompasses the full breadth and depth of subjective human experience
    • this map is personal; we need to create it consciously and individually, based on what’s true for us: this demands commitment and awareness
    • life is practice; we become what we practice; if we are to become our authentic truth, we must live the practice of that truth, getting to know the territory of our own ways of seeing, thinking and speaking. 

It may seem a bit strange, but if we ever stopped long enough to consciously examine the process we call thinking, we’d discover every one of these premises first-hand. Realizing we’re lost, we’d then stop trying to get un-lost using a map to somewhere else, and start instead with the truth of our own personal experience.


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