CLIMBING OUT OF THE SHOEBOX
by Scott Rabalais
What is the difference between “self” and “Self?”
The self is the perception of an individual, definable human being. It is who we are as a distinct identity, unique and apart from the rest. It is our physicality, mentality, affiliations, identifications, roles, possessions and personality acquired through living as a citizen on the planet. The self is the “I-me-my” that many have come to believe is their authentic nature.
This limited view of self can be compared to a shoebox, with its borders, boundaries, shape and structure. It is small and confining, yet safe and predictable. We can easily become accustomed to life in the shoebox, seeing through the eyes of our individuality and interpreting our sense of reality almost exclusively through our physical senses and the intellect.
Within the shoebox, our lives easily drift toward having and doing. We develop a strong sense of possession, whether of goods, money, people or status. We are busy as bees, scrambling around the face of the earth to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of our chaotic lifestyles. By having and doing more, we aim to enlarge our value of “I,” hopefully to the point where we will be completely fulfilled.
As our sense of the individual self is expanded, problems, issues, conflicts, difficulties and drama persist. Commonly, we believe that if we can just solve the few problems we face, we’ll finally be in the clear. We hope that with more money, the right mate or that perfect job, we’ll be on the “yellow brick road” to a peaceful and harmonious existence.
In our quest to find a personal paradise, we play games to boost our sense of individuality or our status in the box. We strive for the utmost of success, wealth, health, relationships and the idea of “having it all.” We practice strategies to make our dreams come true, using positive thoughts and expectations in efforts to attract to us a desired outcome. We use faith and strong belief in an effort to sway the powers of the universe in our favor.
As long as we call our home the shoebox of the self, we are destined to live in a reality of separation. When we sit in the shoebox with the lid tightly shut, we view existence through the confines of limitation. Life is short; it’s a struggle to survive, and we’re obligated to follow all the rules. There is no perception of what is outside of the box, as it’s the “forbidden zone,” or so we have been conditioned to believe.
But maybe…just maybe… in one moment, we begin to feel entrapped, desperate or just deeply curious. Or, maybe we have excellent health, abundant wealth, rich relationships and superb status – and we’re still unfulfilled. We recognize our yearning to know what lies beyond the shoebox, if anything at all. We want to experience “the great unknown.” However, we realize that if we are to take the trip out of the shoebox, we must cut loose the ties that have kept us bound to the box. It is only in releasing the false sense of self that we are able to climb beyond the borders of the box to experience a new reality, whatever that may be.
When we finally summon the courage and strength to release our foothold on the shoebox and move into the great unknown, we find that we are upheld by an invisible and benevolent force. We open our eyes to a vast existence without the borders, boundaries, limitations and restrictions of our previous existence. We feel a new sense of freedom, an openness so infinitely expansive that we can hardly imagine going back into the shoebox.
We begin to venture about, taking in this amazing world. Where before we were struggling for survival and personal fulfillment, here there are no such concerns. Outside the box, life is eternal and joy is our very existence. We no longer clamor to satisfy the personal self. Our perception of self has expanded a thousand fold and more to become this infinite perception of Self.
As the Self, we are aware of our co-existence and unification with all-that-is. Terms such as ownership, possessions and property no longer serve any purpose and are relegated to the limitations of life in the shoebox. We no longer need or use mental strategies to create a desired reality, as we exist beyond the realm of the thinking mind. Transcendent to the shoebox, we no longer “want” anything, as there is no desire to fulfill. Instead, we are fulfilled and complete as we are. We are no longer seekers; instead, we have arrived.
All of the associations with the sense of “I” have fallen by the wayside, or remain back in the shoebox of a former existence. There are no more problems, issues or difficulties, all of which were borne of the perception of separation. We are beyond time and space, and anything we had viewed as separate from us is now part of who we are in the here and now.
From our new infinite Self, we can look back at the shoebox and see its purpose. As beautiful as it is, the individual self affords us a unique experience, but the sense of self is not designed to experience the oneness and unity of existence. However, we can choose to step back in the shoebox to experience separation. But now, we do so with the knowledge of the Self, that we are far, far more than what the shoebox experience indicates. We are multi-dimensional beings, able to be in the box and beyond simultaneously.
In the shoebox we see others, as we did before, grapple with the experience of separation. They believe there is no other way, no life outside the box. There are a few who are trying earnestly to pry open the box, but the vast multitudes have accepted their tethered and restricted existence. How wonderful it would be for humanity to be thrust out of the box, yet we know each must climb out of the box for himself. Each person is personally responsible for his own climb and release from the shoebox of individuality.
We turn to those in the shoebox, those willing to listen, and beseech them to make the climb. We ensure them that all is well, very well, outside the box. We inform them that nothing of significance is lost by releasing from the box, and everything is gained. A few listen, but far more are too involved in the dramas and games of the shoebox to care for the message.
Even so, we look upon the choices of others with love and respect. We remember when we, too, stood chained to the box, never thinking to look upwards at the lid and what possibly existed on “the other side.” We feel great compassion for the journey of each soul and see them only through divine perception. We know there are others who have flown far, far beyond where we have and look at us with the same unconditional love.
Soaring beyond the limitations of the shoebox and the individualized identity of the self, we become aware of not only the grandness of ourselves, but also the grandness of existence. We come to realize that the grandness of ourselves and the grandness of existence are one and the same. By climbing out of the shoebox and by transcending the walls that are known as the self, we realize that we are far more than ever imagined. We are the infinite Self that extends from the shoebox, into the sky and throughout the cosmos.
Copyright © Scott Rabalais – Permission is granted to copy and redistribute this article freely on the condition that the author’s name, is included with the article. http://www.scottrabalais.com/