When I was a child, I would stand and gaze at the starry firmament and contemplate infinity. As I stood there, the boundary that is time dissolved; I expanded my Spirit to fill the boundary that is space. My being stilled and all fear, anxiety, and anguish disappeared. Forgotten were the chores, the homework, the ordinary around me.
Transcending boundaries was fun in those days. But, as I reached adulthood, it became more difficult. More and more, the world was with me as I did chores and homework. More and more, my own fears were with me as I encountered others. More and more, I was aware of the boundaries of race, class, age, and sex. I felt myself cringe as the bantering youth in the street came nearer. I felt myself become tearful as I encountered a senior citizen living with pain or the limited choices of a fixed income. I felt myself become angry as I was subjected to the indignities of being rejected by others because I am Black, because I am a woman, or because of the blind person or the openly gay person I was with. I felt myself become unwilling to acknowledge my oneness with the addicted person who is my friend or the homeless people sleeping on the benches in the park.
Today, transcending boundaries is hard work. For one thing, I’ve created more of them since I was young, and I’ve built them higher and stronger than they once were. For another thing, I’m much more self-righteous and much less humble than I was then. Sometimes, when I am at my best, I remember that the “other” I distinguish myself from could be me in another time, another place, another circumstance. Then, I remember the words of a colleague who observed that it is “my racism, my sexism, my homophobia” that I am called upon to address. So, I take a few deep breaths and begin to release the fears that are the boundaries between me and my fellow humans.