When Certainty Exists, Possibility Cannot
This article might seem extreme to you. It might even seem wacky. And it might just make sense.
Whatever you and I make of anything, we create each experience within our mind.
The efficacy of that claim will, I trust, become clearer if you read on.
What follows speaks to our primary states of mind: one of Possibility, the other of impossibility.
In summary, it says: To live life to the optimum, we need to experience and understand our state of Possibility.
It explains: When not directed by our state of Possibility (or re-conditioned by past experiences of Possibility), we are too often ill-directed by our ingrained beliefs, opinions, judgements and knowledge; i.e., by our lifelong conditioning, the imagined reality we perceive and experience our life through. This imagined reality is the realm of impossibility, a state of mind that exists in all of us.
SO, WHAT’S THE ESSENTIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE STATES OF MIND?
In seeing Possibility, we come to understand impossibility.
The distinction between the two, the realms of Possibility and impossibility, are as profound as they are all-powerful in our lives in each moment – day in, day out.
The state of experiencing Possibility means living from kindness, understanding, wisdom and common sense, and being in service to the common good in what we think, feel and do.
The other, experiencing impossibility, means being in service to no-one – especially our self. It means you and I living a squandered life at best, a destructive one at worst – our life imitating that infamous Aussie expression: ‘Bugger you, Jack, I’m all right!’ The implications of this state negatively impact our seven-plus billion co-travellers on planet Earth.
This concept can be hard to fathom. Please read on: the meaning will become clearer, hopefully to the point where you want to see through impossibility to Possibility – if you haven’t already done so.
WHERE DO WE DISCOVER THE EQUILIBRIUM BETWEEN THE POWER AND THE PEACE OF POSSIBILITY?
Life isn’t a matter of balance; it’s a matter of seeing Possibility
Seeing into and thus understanding our inner states creates the equilibrium we seek as humans.
Possibility, the wellspring of human decency that resides in each of us, is one state. That’s the place from which we see our conditioning (good, bad and indifferent) for what it is: illusory and misleading.
What we discover when seeing our conditioning for what it is takes us directly to the heart, the essence, of our innate kindness, understanding, wisdom and common sense – the core of who we are as human beings.
That place of Possibility exists within our mind.
It lies patiently in waiting, having existed before the illusions of time and memory – a time before we lost our innocence and started believing in who we think we are and who others are.
These illusions characterise the state of impossibility, which prevents us from seeing what is — our habitual thinking becomes our ball-and-chain reality. All we see are the erroneous manifestations of our beliefs, opinions, judgements: meanings we have made up and continue to make up in every aspect of life.
WHY DO WE GET TRICKED BY OUR BELIEFS, OPINIONS, JUDGEMENTS AND KNOWLEDGE, AND LIVE OUR LIFE BLIGHTED BY IMPOSSIBILITY – INSTEAD OF REDISCOVERING OUR TRUE NATURE: POSSIBILITY?
Possibility, once seen and understood, leaves us with no choice but to keep looking in its direction.
Much of humanity, seeking how to live a decent life, doesn’t understand that our innate, natural world of Possibility holds the answers.
Looking within has given way to learning how to live life from external input: books, DVDs, YouTube, teachers, guides, gurus and (potentially) the words you’re reading now.
Such material, like this article, may give you hope, may even be helpful.
However, it will only be helpful if it’s pointing you in the direction of your inner state of Possibility — the sole purpose of this article.
I put to you that all external input, including this, is not true learning. It’s second-hand information, material that skirts around the edges of our true learning but never quite hits the button of our transformation.
Such recycled learning is important to many and may temporally be inspiring – even put salve on the disturbed psyche.
We may fleetingly feel more creative, fearless and at peace – but, as you know from your experience, it is short-lived. It has little stickability.
No external learning is our own discovery – at best, it’s the shadow cast from someone else’s discovery.
No matter how carefully crafted by the author, it’s flimsy. It will not strike a deep-enough chord within us to cause the transformation for which we yearn.
Ideas learned from without, because of the shallow understanding they give us, lack sustainability within our mind.
That lack becomes especially real when we are under duress. When finding ourselves in what we experience as challenging situations, we may imagine life as a fearful, difficult, hopeless place – rather than seeing that we create the fearful, difficult, hopeless place within our mind. We create our experience within our realm of impossibility – from our accumulated habits, our memory.
Without seeing that our moment-to-moment experience – good, bad or indifferent – is an inside-out creation, all external learning remains no more than a good idea.
The concept I’m putting to you of ‘our realm of Possibility’ is one such good idea, existing within ‘our realm of impossibility’. But if and when we rediscover it within us, it then truly becomes our new-found reality of Possibility. Just as the learning imparted by an external teacher may be true and real for him or her (if discovered within), the only learning that will really help us is our own discovery, seen within our psyche.
That teacher should be imploring you, as they impart their thoughts, to look within, to your inner realm of Possibility to find the answers you seek – not to look to them, or some book or deity.
Teachers worth their salt understand that they (or certain materials) can point you toward your inner answers, can present the theory and the ideas – but not the actuality of you gaining a direct experience and understanding of Possibility.
Looking within, not without, to discover the answer to what ails us is up to each of us. All we need is the intention to do so.
PUTTING THE ABOVE INTO THE CONTEXT OF LIVING IN POSSIBILITY OR IMPOSSIBILITY
Even the enlightened slip in and out of Possibility – the difference is that they see the distinctions.
On an extended retreat in the Amazon jungle in 2010, I had an experience within Possibility.
This, like earlier ones, enabled me to see with increasing clarity how we might live a life of kindness, understanding, wisdom and common sense irrespective of our past conditioning or our present or future circumstances.
I saw how we, you and I, can gain a brand-new vantage point on seeing our feelings of disconnection, worry and upset; and, from this new-found perspective, how we can contribute to resolving these and any other problems we face regarding:
- our relationships
- nations, and
All who do so may move toward living in Possibility and contribute to the common good of all sentient beings and the natural world.
I saw a fresh (non-sectarian) way to explain the inner good we all share, and how to tell when we are experiencing that universal voice – the unifying voice in service to the common good.
It occurred to me to call that place of kindness, understanding, wisdom and common sense the realm of Possibility. Others call it our true self. Jesus called it the kingdom of heaven within.
Equally, it occurred to me to call that place of our lifelong accumulation – our beliefs, opinions, judgements and knowledge; that ‘hard-baked-on’ conditioning that forms the often-destructive illusion we live in – the realm of impossibility . Others call it our false self.
These two descriptions might be puzzling to some of you who have not read the book Possibility … a state of mind. I’ll flesh out the distinctions between each.
To live in and therefore from the realm of Possibility is to see life afresh within the moving moment. That is what we describe as experiencing original Thought (with a capital T). In this state, uncontrolled by our conditioning, we see what is — not what we believe it to be. As a consequence, we see life more and more from that inherent, far less-habituated state – our innate state of Possibility.
Seeing life from that state, freed from the shackles of our memory and our conditioning, we are transformed. It’s as though we bypass all that we believe to be ‘the truth’ of any matter and move into undiscovered territory: territory beyond our conditioning, our beliefs, opinions, judgments and knowledge – beyond our prior-to-seeing-Possibility, hidebound state of impossibility.
We see life in an increasingly different way when experiencing Possibility. But there is more, much more.
LIVING OUR LIFE FROM POSSIBILITY
From a state of Possibility, our world, and consequently the world, is transformed.
The more we see our world from the realm of Possibility, the more we renovate and revise our existing beliefs, opinions and judgements. Our realm of Possibility becomes, over time, of higher and still higher quality, and our beliefs, opinions and judgements stand out in stark contrast as the illusions and, often, the falsehoods they are.
If seen as useful ideas, we keep them as part of our life for as long as they continue to be seen as such.
If not, they abandon us – quietly slipping away, often never to be experienced again.
As part of this ongoing renewal, we gain fresh perspectives on all our existing knowledge as well. All that data, stored in our memory, increasingly becomes our servant rather than our unseen master.
Our useful knowledge (in contrast to our beliefs, opinions and judgements) doesn’t abandon us – rather, it is now ‘on tap’, available to us when required. No longer is it ‘on top’, dominating our thinking – our previous more limited, rigid world view. We no longer peek out at the world through the cracks of our finite knowledge.
WHAT ARE THE DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN OUR KNOWLEDGE AND OUR BELIEFS, OPINIONS AND JUDGEMENTS?
Writing or talking about Possibility never represents the reality of the experience.
Knowledge, in this context, is evidence-based information. That evidence may be accurate or inaccurate, but it’s the best available at the time.
Beliefs, opinions and judgements are just that. There is no independent evidence – only our thinking makes them true to us.
When deeply within the realm of Possibility (and this is probably the most significant discovery I’ve experienced to date), we come to understand that no matter how powerful our creative moments, insights, revelations, epiphanies, born-again experiences may have been, they too become just a part of our renewed conditioning. We see in that moment of discovery that what we have yet to discover is infinite. Truly infinite. We no longer claim our discoveries as ‘the truth’, as some immutable, incontrovertible, ultimate knowing.
We recognise that our discoveries are but a small part of the renovation and renewal process of seeing our memory (all our accumulation) for the potential trickster, trap and impediment it can easily become, preventing us from seeing still more deeply into the realm of Possibility.
We see that: if we fail to stay open to and ever aware of seeing more deeply into the realm of Possibility – that never-ending, yet-to-be-seen reality, the ever-present potential of living in fresh, uncharted waters – we will once more be at the mercy of impossibility.
We also see that: if we fail to stay awake, even our most profound epiphanies will become simply another life-deadening, dogmatic element within our realm of impossibility – i.e. all that we believe to be true. We only need look at each of the world religions to see the evidence of that recurring time and again – to a lesser or greater degree.
If, after experiencing Possibility, we fall back to sleep, we become stuck at that certain point in our unfolding – in my terms, stuck back in the quicksand of impossibility, imagining we still see Possibility.
Yes, I put to you that we can and, in my experience, often do fall unconscious again, believing we have found ‘the truth’.
Believing in ‘the truth’ of anything is us simply falling unconscious. We have stopped seeing Possibility and have started seeing certainty – in lock-step with impossibility.
At that instant, we lose our connection with Possibility. We can, and many do, become an ideologue. A fundamentalist. A zealot, evangelist, dogmatist, extremist, fanatic, et al.
We have shifted back into belief, opinion and judgement – but at a more heavy-duty level – within the realm of impossibility.
Our newly created, rigid rules for engagement with life (which we are certain are good for ourselves – and everyone else) replace the feelings of kindness, understanding, wisdom and common sense we experience when in and when increasingly influenced from our inner realm of Possibility.
With our newly created ‘rules for living’, we are likely to be back in conflict with others who don’t share our views, rather than living in harmony with them.
As a dogmatist, we are not in service to the common good; we are again in service to no one – especially ourselves.
If that is the point at which we stop our journey, we may or may not live a good and decent life. Only others can tell – we have lost the perspective of Possibility. ‘There are none so blind as those who will not see’ sums up our fate.
If we’ve been sufficiently touched by what I describe as Possibility, we may, to some degree, live a life of kindness, understanding, wisdom and common sense. However, our kindness, understanding, wisdom and common sense will have conditions, and will be superior and paternalistic in nature.
We will have, at the very least, an arrogance about us, an underlying certainty that we have found ‘the truth’.
If not touched deeply enough to see that we need to keep looking towards the yet-to-be-seen, we may become a permanent, Class A pain in the neck – stuck in our beliefs as before, but this time with our new belief of, ‘I’ve found the truth’.
We will congregate with the like-minded – gathering in groups that exclude those who haven’t found our version of ‘the truth’. We will do our best to ‘heal and convert’ others.
We have ‘lost the plot’ and turned our back on the unconditional love and understanding, the abiding wisdom and common sense that lies within. We’ve become the self-appointed captain of the world.
Some extreme examples of this might come to your mind.
Dictators and despots of all hues fall into that category, alt-left and alt-right likewise. Certainty in the rightness of their beliefs is their driving force.
Or we may simply become like a reformed smoker who looks down on and can no longer tolerate smokers.
You may think that this is how I come across in this article. If you do, I accept that. That means I’ve either failed to communicate my intentions effectively, or I’ve fallen into the trap I’m describing. It’s the same trap for each of us.
Finally, there are no rules to follow for finding Possibility. There is only a direction in which to look – and to keep on looking. Rules are only helpful in the world of impossibility.
The path to seeing Possibility will remain clear if we have an irrevocable intention to keep pursuing the following:
- A total willingness to give up thinking we know ‘the truth’ of anything (including Possibility and impossibility)
- An ever-observant mind
- A quietened mind
- A softened heart, and
- Looking in the direction of the yet-to-be-discovered.
These five simple intentions are what can enable us to see into the realm of Possibility and to lead a decent life in service to the common good.
Love … John