Living Life With an Open Window

I spend too much energy trying to curate my experience, as if I could choreograph my days to linger over the pleasures and hurry past the disappointments.

This is perfectly understandable. Our human tendency to shy away from discomfort and gravitate toward pleasure is universal. But blindly following this instinctual drive has a cost.

It lessens my contact with the world by building a shell between me and the throb and pulse of life. It decreases my sensitivity to the full reality of the objects, events and people that show up around me. It fosters a false belief that I can distance myself from what I don’t like and embrace only the sweetness of things.

Over time, it distorts my perception, stunting my perspective like a sapling bent by the wind. It programs my antennae to look for threats and predisposes me to judge each experience according to my preferences, directing me to approach or avoid.

There is a different way to be.

It is possible to train my inner ecosystem to be more open, less defended. This is a full-contact approach, where I allow life to present itself as it is, to experience things in their completeness, to feel and absorb what arises without obeying the compulsion to grasp at pleasure and contract from pain.

This full-contact approach to life is a stance, an orientation, a releveling of the foundation. It can counter years of conditioning and reverse the bend of the sapling because it works at a core level, at the level of being rather than behavior.

Spending time in this open-windows orientation puts me in direct, intimate contact with the world. It is an energetic approach, showing me the energy signatures of the people and experiences I encounter. Shielding myself from life’s energies is a strategy that pretends to offer protection, but the tradeoff shuts down other capacities.

Many wonderful things happen when I crack the shell and widen the window of what I can open to:  I embody more of the true nature of my higher self and my virtues of kindness, generosity and hope; my intuitive abilities increase; I am more creative; I see beauty and feel wonder more readily; I am more attuned and available in my relationships; I feel more connected to Source, the well-spring of all experience.

No one can live full-time in full contact with all experience (at least not me). We avoid full contact because greater sensitivity makes us aware of the contractions we are holding and the pains we are avoiding. We all have a self-protection system that is intelligent and well-intentioned but usually unconscious and reactive. It served us well when we were younger, but now holds us back. Becoming more aware of this overly protective tendency is the first step toward moving away from the shell and toward the window.

To use this principle, I try to view my encounters with life (events, people, headlines, social media posts, poor drivers, bureaucracies, sideways glimpses of my aging self in the mirror) as opportunities to gauge how open or closed I am to the experience of what is. I try to notice my initial reactions and examine them with curiosity. I look for the edge of my boundary and see if I can stay there or push it open another inch. When I am successful, I detect small gradations in my interior defensive posture, which starts to soften just from my noticing. I feel a comfort in my own skin, a self-acceptance and self-love for who I am, a sense of coming home.

I try to allow this shift using my body more than my intellect. When I remember to do this, it minimizes the inner critic of my mind and makes subtle energies more apparent. I sense beneath the surface of words and actions and touch a wider perspective. If the energy becomes too much, I try to allow it to pass through me without sticking. And sometimes, I feel I have to withdraw and put the shell back in place. But each time I open, I push the boundary edge another inch and take another step toward greater freedom.

Photo by Natalia Blauth on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *