"A breakthrough is always a break-with" - Eleanor Roosevelt
As we grow in spiritual awareness, there are times when we struggle to continue our growth. Our path seems blocked by conditions we are experiencing or ideas we are holding on to. Sometimes we feel stuck - we just can't find a way to move beyond our limits.
I've found the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt (above) to be helpful at such times. When I feel blocked, I ask myself, "what do I need to break with?" Or, "what do I need to let go of?" Most often, the answer to these questions lies in the realm of thought. I find that I'm holding on to a set of ideas, and to grow in awareness, I must break with these ideas.
In western culture, which now influences most of the planet, we live in thought-centered awareness. Science, medicine, education, economics and governance are all guided by ideas, paradigms, and thought structures. Even our religious institutions tend to be based on sets of ideas that are strongly held beliefs. We've come to believe that thought can solve all of our problems. This belief itself is a paradigm that we cling to tenaciously.
Of course, on reflection, we realize that our thinking creates as many problems as it solves. The economic challenges we face today are the result of rigid adherence to a set of economic ideas that are no longer serving us well. The crisis we face in health care - especially in the U.S. - is the result of our thinking, our clinging to a paradigm of health and economics that doesn't work any more. Congressional gridlock, climate crisis, the decline of education - all of these are the result of our thinking, and our clinging to thought patterns. And of course, we know we can "think" our way into war or even a nuclear conflagration.
It is time for a breakthrough. Culturally and globally, as a species, we need to become aware of the limits of our thinking and move beyond them. It is time that we break with the idea that thought can solve our problems by itself, and bring a new awareness to our experience. An awareness beyond the limits of thought.
Let me be clear: I'm not suggesting that we stop thinking. The gift of thought is given to us as a powerful tool, one that we can and should use. My point is that we need to remember - and most of us have forgotten this - that our awareness goes beyond thought. Thought is powerful, and, at the same time, limiting. The breakthrough we need is a recognition of the limits of thought, so we can grow into awareness that transcends these limits.
This can only happen, of course, if you and I are willing to expand beyond the limits of our thinking. We are part of an increasing number of individuals who are growing, experiencing the gift of awareness beyond the limits of thought. By working through our own limits, breaking with thought-centered awareness, we will bring about the shift in consciousness that humanity so badly needs.
As Gandhi once said: "we must be the change we wish to see in the world."