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Walking the Line

There seems to be a line in the sand.

From far away, it is just part of the landscape. A line among lines. Something that creates texture and adds depth to the experience.

When I approach the line, suddenly it is utterly important. Life or death. Which side am I on? Which side are you on? My throat closes. My breath catches. My solar plexus burns. Which side of the line are you standing on?!?!

Are you right? Am I right? Who stands with you? Who stands with me?

I breathe. I feel my feet on the sand. I feel the warmth of the sun. Suddenly the line is far away again, and I can see that people on both sides of it are beautiful, creative, dignified. I am able to see a form moving in the periphery. It is the line-drawer. A wavy, transluscent being that moves quietly along, drawing lines.

We organize ourselves on either side of these arbitrary lines. We explore life on our side of the line. We use these lines to define our identity, to belong, to feel safe. Religions are lines. Political parties are lines. Genres of movies, sports teams, nationalities. These are lines that we can choose to identify with, or against.

Some of us will fortify our lines. Create bunkers and forts. We will entrench ourselves behind the line. Others will dance across lines from one to another, sampling many sides of many lines. None of this matters to the line-drawer. Or to the line.

From this distance, where I can breathe and see more clearly, I am aware that some people seem to be enjoying life quite a bit more than others. These people are paying more attention to the people around them, and less attention to the line. They may cross it briefly to help someone on the other side of the line carry their groceries. They may visit a whole town on the other side of the line because that town has something of interest to the person. The line is far less important than the experience of living. They may reference the line lightly in conversation, but they do not fear crossing it, and they don't fear the people who stand on the other side.

These people are like pollinators. They seem to carry ideas and hope with them, giving some people their first and sometimes only experience with someone from the other side of the line. They are not usually aware of the bridges they are building since they aren't too focused on the line. They are just living, and creating a more beautiful world almost by accident.

I enjoy watching them from here. They seem to have a slight glow about them. As I draw nearer to my line, I see that they make me angry. They aren't taking the line seriously enough. Don't they see how important the line is? How dare they cross it? Who do they think they are? If they don't care about the line, how can I defend my position? Are they mocking me with their irreverence?

Suddenly, I realize that the line is really within me. There is a line that I cross when I approach these divisions. I cross the line from wholeness to separateness. From everything belonging, to being afraid I don't belong. From the ocean to the puddle. I can see from these radiant few among us, that it is possible to move through the world as the ocean, as wholeness, to approach the line-drawer's lines without crossing the line that actually divides me inside myself.

This skill, of walking as wholeness among a world of divisions, is truly the razor's edge. I catch glimpses of the possibility, usually after periods of being very identified with my side of the line. I am learning practices that return me to wholeness, or at least give me the chance to zoom out and catch a glimpse of the bigger picture before diving back in.

Perhaps this is the true definition of right action? The ability to hold the integrity of wholeness while living among the lines that would divide us. For now, I am grateful for the glimpses.