A Field Guide to Life – Bridges to Possibility

by Brad on September 27, 2012


Building Bridges to Possibility 

Our continued dissociation from direct experience of ourselves and of our lives has left us feeling fragmented, confused and often afraid. So we try harder and harder, believing that only by saying yes to everything can we win the war of competing pressures, thereby bringing us meaning and peace. But life keeps conspiring to ensure we don’t, mainly because the struggle is made up in our heads. Invariably finding we can’t do it all, we respond to our over-commitment and struggle by blaming others or ourselves as the culprits. 

I don’t accept this. We’re not overcommitted and there is no one to blame. We’re just lost. If we stopped and examined the unconscious process we call “thinking,” we would expose how it has led us astray. Mark Twain’s words return: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” And much of what we “know for sure” … “just ain’t so.” 

We want to believe life can be certain. It is not. We want to believe we’re in control. We are not. We want to believe we’re above fear. We are not. Deep inside, we know this. Through our unwillingness to admit the truth, however, we give untruths complete power over us. Life feels hostile because we made it that way, by how we’ve learned to believe, see and think. And we wonder why we’re stressed and dissatisfied. It’s time to delve more deeply, and make the underlying thinking more conscious. If we did that, we’d see that:

  • We lack intention. The reason we don’t have what we want is that we don’t know what we want. We’ve got “intention deficit disorder.” We’re always committed to something, but rarely know what that something is. As a result, what really motivates us is not getting things done, but what happens to us if we don’t. That’s not intention; it’s fear. 
  • We lack awareness. Even if we knew what mattered, we’re not aware enough of what we’re doing or if it’s getting us where we want to go. So we get sidetracked a lot. Example: We don’t know how we really use our time, yet blame time for our problems. Time is not a culprit; all we have is time. It’s energy that’s in limited supply, and we’re unconsciously choosing to expend it on things that don’t take us where we want to go. 
  • We lack courage. We say we’re doing things to get ahead, but we’re too busy making someone else’s life work to take action needed to make our own work. We’re giving away our life power. If you don’t take charge of your life, society offers plenty who will … take charge of your life. 

The clarity, awareness and courage to create a life you love are uncommon in a society that prefers you stay distracted, numbed out, and owned by life’s drama rather than its truth. You don’t need a new life, only a new way to think about the one you’ve got. I choose to depict the new way of thinking as a map, one that actually matches the territory in which we live and work. It’s about creating a new framework, or context for your life.

Creating a new context is not as difficult as it may seem. If we could use our precious energy not to fight with life, but rather simply to notice life, we’d discover the natural order and unity in everything, just below the surface chaos we experience as everyday struggle today. If we could stop trying so damned hard to change the way things are, and instead see them as they are, we could join the natural flow of life as well. So then, what do life’s natural order and flow look like? 

The topics just considered – mental maps, how we listen, how we learn (or not), worldview, the role of context vs. content – are examples of how our unconscious minds have far more control over our lives than our conscious minds, and significantly more than we think. The major opening to change is that by making conscious that which today is unconscious, you reclaim the power to choose new thoughts, bigger thoughts, thoughts that not only serve your life well, but help you create the very future you’ve always longed for. You do that by shifting your perspective.


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