Accessing the infinite line of possibility...

“In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few.” Shunryu Suzuki

There is an infinite line of possibility. Of course, it is not a line, but the concept of a line is fairly simple for the mind to visualize, so it works as well as words can. Each of us has access to this infinite line of possibility, although most of us unwittingly settle for a tiny space on the line, even though our hearts keep telling us there is more. When we feel caged, tied up in knots, irritable or just plain out of sorts, our heart is speaking to us saying, “Pay attention! Are you willing to listen yet; are you ready to step out of that tiny space you have staked out for yourself?”

We don’t always understand heart’s language. Our minds often interpret the signals as personal lack—if we would just try harder or get lucky and figure it out, everything would fall into place. We may also, sometimes even at the same time, project our discomfort out onto our world—if they would just act different, be more like we expected, see it our way, then we wouldn’t feel this way. We look for answers, trying desperately to find that illusive peace, that longed-for love that, if we are lucky, we haven’t given up on yet.

"No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see the possibilities - always see them, for they're always there." Norman Vincent Peale

If there is an infinite line of possibility why is it that it seems we keep finding that same inch over and over again? If we listen to our minds they will tell us it isn’t true, but when we are willing to listen more deeply, and open our hearts, setting our mind’s view aside, something within us already knows the line of infinite possibility exists.

Suzuki’s quote points the way. Beginner’s mind rather than expert’s mind is the clue. When we are in the dumps we don’t exactly see ourselves as an expert, even when that’s what we want the world to see, but we are fully enmeshed in expert’s mind. Beginner’s mind is pretty easy to understand. It is empty of the ideas that fill it up as it learns its way around. A beginner’s mind doesn’t yet know what it doesn’t yet know and has space available for new ideas, for a while at least, until it begins to fill up with expertise. Expert mind is full, full of its own ideas, beliefs and versions of how, what, why, when and where.

It is this stuffed and cramped rigidity that limits us and locks us into the small space on the line. It is fueled with every ‘no’ we say to life. “No, not this”...“No, this isn’t the way it should be”...“No, I don’t want that, I want this.” During meditation I recently saw a picture of the human form and it was made entirely of knots, not too unlike how we feel when we are out of sorts. It was instantly clear that every knot was created when we said, “not this”. These knots are constrictions that choke joy out of life. They are also a signal for us to investigate our pain.

This last couple of weeks I have been looking right into the heart of possibility. I have said for many years that anything is possible but I realized that I didn’t really believe it. Could I win the lottery without buying a ticket? No, not that. Did I believe that the planet could magically heal itself overnight? No, it couldn’t happen that way. Was it possible for the political polarities to come together for the good of the whole? No, didn’t think that was likely. So, in light of my bag of ‘knots’ I have been sitting and watching every belief, realizing that every one of them limited me and limited us as a whole. With my process there was an intense letting go at a new and profound level.

One scene in “The Narnia Chronicles: Prince Caspian” illustrates this beautifully. Lucy, the youngest of the four Pevensie children, was walking through the forest, being called forward by Aslan’s essence. Petals flowed through the air and formed into the shape of a woman, swirling and dancing above the forest floor. As I watched in awe, I was transported into possibility. Was that possible? Could the life force within the petals take shape and play with us? Could the trees sway or move and share their thoughts? Did they even have thoughts? Could a little animal sit on our shoulder and whisper into our ear in a language we both understood? What was truly possible? That question ricocheted through me.

I decided in that minute that I was no longer willing to believe in impossibility. I didn’t care anymore if others laughed at me or thought me insane. It no longer mattered, not a whit! The only thing I cared about was opening absolutely to God’s infinite possibility and gratefully lapping up all God offers. I didn’t want to miss anything, any possibility ever again.

With every belief we hold we tighten the box and prevent new creative solutions from emerging, from popping into view like the gift from God they are. There is a solution for every problem. There is an antidote for every poison we swallow. It is available to us when we drop our claim to our small piece of real estate. It is available to the adventurous, when we are willing to untie our knots and trade them in for infinite possibility.

Author's Bio: 

Ms. Gregory, a former senior manager with two Fortune 500 companies, left behind a successful corporate career in 1997, unfulfilled and searching for missing pieces. A year spent on a sailboat traveling in Mexico, provided her with insights for understanding what it takes to move through fears into our natural, unrestricted potential. She founded Pure Possibility, the home of The Fearlessness Project, a coaching and mentoring program that works with individuals and within the Oregon State Corrections system. Most recently, she co-founded Workplace Evolution (WE), a resource bank of leading edge consultants whose mission is to catalyze organizational potential and nurture innovative workplaces. Gayle is co-author of "The Grand Experiment, an Expedition of Self-Discovery" and soon to be released "Workplace Evolution: Common Sense for Uncommon Times".