Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pure Potential

As I’m sure you are aware, Spring has sprung forth and is giving life back to the plants and trees that have been dormant for the past few months.  Insects and birds are fluttering about on warm breezes that just beckon me outdoors.  Life’s potential to give birth to more life is in action, and I feel compelled to write about it.

If you believe in the Big Bang theory, then billions and billions of years ago there was nothing.  Just empty space.  In that space nothing existed except the potential for everything to exist.  From that perspective, you could say that everything that could ever be, already existed in its potential, but had not started to manifest yet.  Then, theoretically, something happened and manifestation began with a massive explosion.

The potential for everything we are today existed before manifestation began, and has continued to exist throughout time.  Even before we are born, the potential for our existence is present.  In fact, each individual’s potential to exist was present at the beginning of time.  Potential is the one thing that hasn’t changed since before the Universe was born, and it is still that same unchanged potential today.  Life is the substratum of pure potentiality.  Anything can happen.  Anything will happen.  Anything is constantly happening.  The possibilities are as infinite as the Universe and its billions of galaxies.

It’s amazing to think about just how possible everything is in our everyday lives.  Did you ever dream you would be here, where you are, doing what you are doing now?  Rather than get bogged down thinking about a less than satisfying life situation, just recognize that you could not have predicted this moment and all that it contains.  Who you know, where you work, where you live, what you like, etc., could not have been predicted with any level of certainty when you were younger.  All the unexpected twists and turns in your life have led you to this moment, and it’s impossible to know what future twists and turns there will be and where they will steer you.  You can’t know with absolute certainty where you will be 10 minutes from now, much less 10 years from now.  Imagine that!  But the potential for you to be anywhere, doing anything, is here now.

There are many enjoyable stories about how one little twist of fate caused a domino effect of events that led to some totally unpredictable outcome.  A movie called, “Sliding Doors” comes to mind, where we follow a woman as she runs to catch a train.  The story splits and we follow the story of the woman who caught the train, and the story of the same woman who missed the train.  The one little twist, which I believe was caused by bumping into someone and dropping something, caused that woman’s life to turn out totally differently than had she caught the train.  Not to give away too much, but the woman who caught the train discovered that her husband was having an affair and left him to start a new life.  The woman who missed the train did not catch her husband and ended up staying in the relationship.

The point of the matter is not to get caught up in the “what ifs” of how my life has turned out thus far and what it will be like in the future.  After all, what has already happened was unavoidable and completely necessary.  It can be fun to speculate on the endless number of scenarios that might lay in store for us in the future (or worrisome if you tend to have a more negative outlook on life).  But the point of the story is to serve as an example of how each moment of Life shapes the next, and how totally at the mercy of Life we truly are.

Right now, in this moment, the only thing that’s real is the pure potential for anything to happen.  Right now, Life is manifesting before your eyes, out of a sea of endless possibilities.  Each moment is created anew, ever changing, with the exception of potential.  Potential is permanent, but what it creates is always moving, always unpredictable, and always uncontrollable. 

This can be a bit frightening to consider because most people would prefer to maintain some level of control of their lives.  In a lot of cases we have some sense of security because we are able to make plans that seem to happen, which lulls us into a false sense of being in control.  Inevitably, something happens to remind us that we are not in control, and that the future is unknowable.  How could we foresee the future when the possibilities are limitless?

When we’re born, we are born as pure potential.  We are clean slates with no known future, with the potential to become anything.  Nothing can be known and everything is possible.  I’ve been contemplating this a bit lately now that we’re getting ready to have a baby.  I’m pushing 40, which could mean I’m about halfway through my journey on this Earth.  It’s been an interesting journey that I never could have predicted, and there’s no telling what the rest of my life has in store, much less the life of our daughter.  Though it can seem like I’m not really “going” anywhere, as in the life situation seems to be in a holding pattern and upward mobility is limited, all I have to do is look at how much changed in the first half of my life to realize how much potential for change there is in the last half of my life.

They say having a child naturally starts you thinking about your own mortality because you have basically created your replacement (I read that in a magazine somewhere).  It makes sense though, especially having waited until my mid-life to create a new life (so to speak).  My wife is getting ready to give birth to a bundle of Joy with endless potential.  Theoretically, I’ll get to witness how the first half of her life plays out.  It’s only natural to wonder what she’ll be like.  I don’t have any expectations, just wonder and curiosity.  She could end up President, or married to an ex-con.  She could end up never leaving her hometown, or travel the world and live in some far away land.  She could be a great musician, or a teacher.  It really doesn’t matter, and I don’t spend time thinking about all of the possibilities.  Instead, I get joy out of just recognizing and accepting that unknowable potential exists for her (and for everyone else).

I invite you to sit with the idea of infinite possibility, without getting sucked into the specific hopes, dreams, aspirations, regrets, etc.  Once you get that brief glimpse of that excitement over the “anything possibleness” nature of Life, let go of any desired outcomes and just know that from right now anything is possible.  Feel what it feels like to know that endless possibilities exist, and feel what it feels like to trust Life’s ability to take care of you and guide you where you need to be.  That may not be where you want to be right now, but where you want to be is constantly changing, while Life’s plan is unwavering.

Regardless of your age, you can end up anywhere, doing anything, at anytime, without you getting a say in the matter.  If you can’t control it, why not marvel at it as it unfolds.  Potential is constantly being realized and all you need to do to enjoy it is acknowledge it for the miracle that it truly is.  Be present to it and let it do its thing.

Anything is possible.
Anything is probable.
Anything is inevitable.

Potentially yours,