Breaking the Chains
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | January 10, 2019
There are two kinds of limitations. Those that are part of the human conditions, and those we create ourselves. One we must accept and the other we must eliminate.
We are not an impenetrable force able to achieve anything our heart desires. We have many limitations that curtail what we want and who we will become. The reality of limitation depresses the soul when we prefer to ponder the human ability to soar. We should cry over our humanity. Despite the limitations, we our endowed with power. We can escape many of the binding chains that interfere with joys and successes. We can become a person of great aliveness and joy. We can break the chains that bind.
In positive thinking circles, the words ‘limited potential’ have a blasphemous ring. If we ignore the existence of human limitations, we are not free. Biology, experience, and culture have their claim, molding and manipulating the details of our life. While many elements strongly influence perception and behavior, we still maintain power to direct our lives, choosing to act in ways that benefit ourselves and the world. Adjusting our perception mitigates the strength of the impact that culture and biology plays in the creation of our being. In many ways, we can transcend the chains, breaking free of the determinants that bind.
"If we ignore the existence of human limitations, we are not free."
Because of the strength of limiting chains, many prefer to deny their existence, creating an alternate reality. Reshaping the vision of the world through deceptive constructions, perceiving a world where they are all powerful or completely helpless. The deceptions operate in the shadows of the mind, slyly bending realities to fit ego protecting doctrine, guiding and manipulating the meaning of experience. The attitude helps massage reality. The pretend control gives a sense of power; or conversely, the pretend helpless relieves from the weight of choice and guilt. Mindsets provide a felt sense of security, but over time views that deviate too far from reality create greater frustrations. The world doesn’t turn to our desires.
Limits to freedom isn’t the same as no freedom. We have power to choose within the givens. We are not doomed, hapless victims of fate. Our future is not already decided. An awareness of the influences—our ties to the past, culture, and imperfectness—empowers wiser reactions to the world. We can factor in the limiting chains and navigate a healthier, future-oriented response to life within the given boundaries.
Most people want to succeed. But success can be measured and slow, requiring painful trade-offs. High achievement at work and school can interfere with valuable time with companions and children. We can't expect to excel in every avenue of life without occasionally meeting the painful realities of limitations. Limited time, limited resources and limited control of outside forces all impact the final outcome.
Human intuition, empathy, logic and creativity combine to soften the seemingly unpredictable and ever-changing environment. We can act with greater flexibility, effectively using the givens to build a life of richness. We can respect limitations without delving forlorn into depression. Many, sadly, not only accept limitations but impose greater restraints than the givens of life already offer. They pitifully settle for less—much less. They complain about the circumstances largely invited by their own actions.
Living life to the fullest, flourishing in the face of the givens, is not something we accidentally stumble upon, but a purposeful path that we create—a continual process. Enlightenment is not achieved in a definable moment in time but a process that begins at birth and continues to death. We most diligently gather knowledge through science, religion, history, and personal observations, using wisdom to guide. By embracing the incompleteness of our existences, the limitations to our powers, we open doors with clearer perspectives, replacing the binding chains of total empowerment and deadening helplessness, freeing us to pursue a flourishing life of enlightenment.