(image by Craig Weiler)
Let's start this article with a little exercise. Hopefully, you are in a place where a pencil or pen and a sheet of paper are handy. If this is true, then take pen and paper in hand. If not, take a second to get pen or pencil and paper.
To begin, draw a squiggly line down the page in any form or fashion that you please. Pretend that you're drawing a snake making all kinds of squiqqles in the sand. Compose your snaky pattern any way you wish. Have it make a u-turn and go up if going down or down if going up. Let it flow freely .
Once you are done, gaze upon the pattern. How does it move? What does the shape remind you of? Make a mental note of the pattern you drew.
Now, take your pencil or pen and begin drawing horizontal lines across your image. After doing this, draw some vertical lines so that you're making a grid on the paper and over top your drawing.
There are now two parts in completing the exercise.
(1) Pick a grid. Isolate that grid by covering up the grids above, below and to the sides of the grid you chose. Use sheets of paper, your hands, or whatever works to do the covering.
(2) Now, pretend the covered up grids don't exist;
The isolated grid with its shape reflects the current state of the human mind. We take a small portion of Reality and proclaim: "this is IT! This is the world! And, if you see the world differently from me, then I say, "You are seriously in error.'" So, we get into an argument about whose grid is right, while not realizing we are only seeing a small portion of the whole. Yet, we fight to the point of flying fists and knives and perhaps even drawing guns and the dropping of bombs! All this violent abuse simply because we live in different grids that ultimately comprise one pattern.
This is how most of us live, in a small box that contains our perception of the world and ourselves. How confining!
What you lose in this mindset is (a) a sense of wholeness about yourself which then leads to a sense of alienation and depression/anxiety; (b) a broader perception on reality which is now limited to what you claim as reality (which can then take form as arrogance); and (c) the realization of the wholeness of life which then causes you to experience alienation. In other words, you see your self as apart from Nature rather than taking part in and being a part of Her. In seeing yourself in your own little box, you limit yourself. Furthermore, you set yourself up for prejudicial encounters with the rest of the world. Thus, if you limit yourself to a strict reductionist scientific approach to the world (an approach that focuses on breaking reality into parts), then you will get a limited picture of what reality is about. You will also feel more alienated from Nature. The same is true if you are a dogmatic Christian or Jew or Pagan. By placing yourself in your little box (e.g., liberal or conservative) you trap yourself!
Ultimately the dogmatic scientist is of the same mindset as the dogmatic person that ascribes to a particular religious doctrine such as a born-again Christian, a dogmatic Jew, or a self-righteous Pagan. All of these are caught in seeing only within their little box.
Now, consider the following lines emanating from a Navaho chant as another way of viewing life:
The mountain, I become it
The tree, the stream, I become it"
The depths of space I become it.