Struggling with Structure


I’ve always rebelled against structure.

There’s so much of it. We’ve created endless structures that govern our lives. From our beliefs, social norms, traditions, governments, to fashions, taste and just about everything else.

And I’ve always struggled to accept the structures around me. I spent a large part of my young life trying to break free of life’s seemingly endless and inevitably debilitating structures.

And yet. Life cannot exist without structure.

The natural world relies upon a myriad of structures for its continued existence. From the interaction of electrons, atoms and molecules, through micro-organisms, plants and animals, to the orbits of planets, stars and galaxies. Structure is everywhere.

Structure is absolutely necessary for life to exist and yet some of us feel compelled to escape its confines.

How would plants absorb sunlight, convert it into energy and become food for animals if it weren’t for the structure of natural laws. It isn’t random. Whether by design or evolution, it’s a reliable pattern precisely because it’s structured.

And yet, how many humans have died fighting over lines on a map? How many humans have suffered under differing ways of worship? And how many humans have suffered in isolation, unable to fit in a box?

That’s because there’s a very important difference between the structures of nature and those created by humans.

Understanding that difference points toward the church of inner space. A step closer towards ending the madness consuming this planet.

In nature, structure exists to support life. New structures emerge from within older structures and expired structures give way to their replacement.

Whereas in human society structure inevitably always ends up working against life. We may create structures with lofty aspirations and ideals, but sooner or later all our structures supersede the importance of the life it was supposed to support, supersede the purpose of its creation, and inevitably life is sacrificed.

Because our structures do not allow for newer more relevant structures to emerge from within. Instead our structures fight against the emergence of new structures that would replace it as life grows and develops.

Take a forest as an example. Forests function as a structure. Structures within a structure. Certain birds nest in certain trees, etc., etc. Now, if the earth’s climate changes over the course of time, the structure of a forest will change along with the climate. And if the climate changes drastically perhaps the forest will disappear altogether, to be replaced by a completely different structure, such as grasslands or a desert.

Our structures don’t allow for that transition. Not without endless resistance and suffering.

There are countless examples of governments desperately clinging to power by any means necessary, going so far as murdering citizens to maintain their structure. Governments that, despite having been created to serve, end up sacrificing their people for the sake of its structural maintenance.

Or consider the ever changing landscape of social norms.

In most societies marriage can still only take place between a man and a woman. Gay people have had to struggle for decades to enjoy equal rights. And even in those few places where gay rights have been recognized social norms often still frown upon this attempted change of its structure, never fully allowing for that change to take place. The same can be said of women’s struggle against patriarchy or the struggle against colonialism and racism.

Our outdated structures are remarkably persistent.

Our structures resist change, even as it’s happening, and even long after it has become obvious that a change in structure is inevitable. Our structures resist change until the bitter end, often only ceding after a final, brutal and violent confrontation.

In this way all our structures, whether economic, financial, religious, etc.,  resist innovations and new understandings that could improve our lives by replacing an obsolete modus operandi.

This is why I struggled against structure. Because the structures I found myself surrounded by imposed themselves upon me, despite their existence being inappropriate.

Now, the world is a reflection of our collective thoughts and beliefs, we create the world as we think it ought to be. So the question of oppressive structures bring us right back to the only place that really matters: the space within.

It’s in our thinking that we have become attached to static structures instead of being comfortable with the fluidity of life.

Take parenthood as another example.

The greatest challenges all parents face is, first, raising children and then, second, letting go of their children when the time comes for independence.

Parenthood requires structure. No doubt about it. Without structure raising a child would be very difficult. Children raised without structure often struggle with numerous challenges. And we need food, shelter and stability to raise children.

However, parenthood  is a temporary role we play to support the life of another human being who cannot yet take care of themselves. But, as that human being grows, the natural (life supporting) thing to do is to take a step back and let the person take care of themselves.

At that point we are no longer parents as the need for parenting has ceased to exist. If we then continue parenting a grown-up, we’re suffocating life instead of supporting it.

Yet, this is exactly happens.

We become attached to structure because we confuse a temporary role with our permanent identity.

The problem is a pervasive ignorance of our true nature. Our true identity. We’re entirely unfamiliar with who and what we really are.

Our true identity is rooted in consciousness.

Our mentality (thoughts and beliefs) is a superficial layer, and represents only a small part of our consciousness. Consciousness exists within us far beyond thought.

And it isn’t mysterious at all. It’s very simple to experience our true identity. We simply need to close our eyes, preferably sitting comfortably, and focus on the awareness between our thoughts.

But instead, because we don’t practice thoughtless awareness, we grab onto anything else that might define us. And the structures around us are a tempting mirage. Always inviting, but never able to satisfy. Because structures are temporary, fleeting. Whereas thoughtless identity is permanent, for the duration of life.

Structure can support us. But it cannot define us.

Because our identity cannot be defined.

I can type until the end of times, to encourage the practice of thoughtless awareness. But nothing I say will shed light on the nature of the subject. It must be experienced to be understood.

The moment we notice the silent spaces between our thoughts that’s the moment we begin to experience our true identity as unfettered consciousness.

That’s the moment we begin to dissociate ourselves from the structures of false identification and start moving toward the source.

And until we do that, we will experience struggle, confrontation and destruction before new structures emerge.

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