Thinking Outside the Boxes in Our Heads

“I like to experience the Universe as one harmonious whole. Every cell has life. Matter, too, has life; it is energy solidified. The tree outside is life… The whole of nature is life… The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation.”      ~Albert Einstein


As Einstein expressed in equations, Whitman in poetry and Van Gogh in art, our Universe exists as a unified field or whole. Creative energy swirling as atoms, giving rise to molecules, forming galaxies, stars, planets, mountains, rivers and the bodies of all living beings. If this is so, why do we not “see” the world this way, experience our lives for the miracle it is?

The modern technologically “advanced” world that surrounds us today is an outgrowth of our society’s ways of thinking– what has been called Aristotelian logic, dualistic thinking or compartmentalization. For many centuries most modern cultures have taught their people to think about the Universe in terms of distinct categories and divisions.

As a result we have the complex systems and institutions that surround us- governments, corporations, schools, entertainment industries, economic systems, legal systems, prison systems. All of these based on methods of identifying, measuring, controlling and manipulating “things” – discrete objects and units.

c3406ace832d17ea963c3f757a6da540Many of the problems humans have created- from poverty, war and racism to global warming & environmental destruction- have their roots in these dualistic ways of thinking. As Alan Watts (and others) have pointed out, most of the “units” we observe around us (humans, trees, birds, forests, rivers) have existed for millions of years in the natural world, while others are very recent creations – products of “civilized” imaginations.

Money and property, for example- the idea of wealth accumulation and “ownership” are conceptions that our ancestors dreamed up fairly recently. Same for the concept of linear historical time, rather than seasonal cyclical time. Most of the social structures and institutions that surround us- school buildings, financial systems, corporate headquarters, military bases and such – move to the mechanistic beat of this structural matrix of time and money.

The architects of modern civilizations dreamed these institutions up and placed them in our world. Consequently, generations of humans have been raised within them, much as ants build colonies and bees create hives to hatch their young.

184302_272762719521337_527121972_n1 - Version 2Unfortunately, just as blinders limit the range of a horse’s vision, the conceptual boxes and physical walls of civilized people tend to screen out deeper understandings about the effects of our actions and our connection to nonhuman worlds.

In order for the human species to move forward successfully our ways of thinking and behaving need to be more aligned with the ways and patterns of Nature. As Einstein put it, “Humanity is going to require a substantially new way of thinking if it is going to survive.”

In reality, the whole Universe pulses with complex interconnections and a mysterious beauty far beyond our imaginations. There’s a deeper truth that our limited conceptions ignores- that the Universe is not something that exists outside of us. You and I are creative living expressions of ALL that is.

We are born of atoms forged in the heart of long gone stars, energized now by the photons of our local sun. Kept alive by the nutrients and air of our Mother World. We are Life manifesting as people, mountains, rivers and trees.

Seeing this deeper truth and experiencing our connection to the Universe is the beginning of wisdom. Sharing that wisdom with others- and using it as the foundation for redesigning the human systems that we build together- is how our world can be re-created and transformed.

~Christopher Chase


“Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

“You are not IN the universe, you ARE the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle.” ~Eckhart Tolle

“I seem, like everything else, to be a center, a sort of vortex, at which the whole energy of the universe realizes itself.. Each one of us, not only human beings but every leaf, every weed, exists in the way it does, only because everything else around it does. The individual and the universe are inseparable.” ~Alan Watts


“Love the earth and sun and the animals.
Despise riches, give alms to every one that asks.
Stand up for the stupid and crazy.
Devote your income and labor to others.
Hate tyrants, argue not concerning God. 
Have patience and indulgence toward the people.
Go freely with powerful uneducated persons
and with the young and with the mothers of families.
Read these leaves in the open air
every season of every year of your life.
Re-examine all you have been told
at school or church or in any book,
dismiss whatever insults your own soul,
and your very flesh shall be a great poem
and have the richest fluency
not only in its words but in
the silent lines of its lips and face
and between the lashes of your eyes and
in every motion and joint of your body.”
― Walt Whitman~

Related- “Once You Know” by Alan Watts

How Einstein Saw the World  * Every Child is an Artist by Nature * Glimpses of a Creative Universe  * Poetry Surrounds Us – Vincent Van Gogh  * Perpetual Curse of the Warrior Mindset *  * How Wisdom Awakens Us From Our Dreams *   *   * Systems Thinking: Seeing How Everything is Connected *  *  The Creative Matrix  *  You Are the Big Bang – Alan Watts  *  How We Participate in the Creative Life of the Universe  *


About Christopher Chase

Co-creator and Admin of the Facebook pages "Tao & Zen" "Art of Learning" & "Creative Systems Thinking." Majored in Studio Art at SUNY, Oneonta. Graduated in 1993 from the Child & Adolescent Development program at Stanford University's School of Education. Since 1994, have been teaching at Seinan Gakuin University, in Fukuoka, Japan.
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17 Responses to Thinking Outside the Boxes in Our Heads

  1. Pingback: Thinking Outside the Boxes in Our Heads | Tales from Genie and Lou

  2. Pingback: Love the earth and sun and the animals. Despise riches, give alms to every one that asks | Zen Flash

  3. Val Boyko says:

    So good Christopher. It’s a must share today 🙂 Thank you!

  4. Val Boyko says:

    Reblogged this on Find Your Middle Ground and commented:
    This is an other wonderful post from Christopher Chase. This time he explains what non duality is, and the need for human dualistic thinking to change for the future of us all.
    I also enjoyed the quotes at the end, reinforcing the message in a beautiful way.

  5. jmgoyder says:

    Thank you for this insight.

  6. Brilliant post Christopher and I agree.. We still follow many ways which are instilled within us via our upbringing and cultures we are brought up within.. Even Science still holds itself within its limits..
    More people are opening their minds and lets hope one day we will leave the box and really See we are One with the Universe.. 🙂

    I came via Val’s reblog.. Thank you

  7. Brilliant! So glad Val Boyko reblogged this.

  8. John Willemsens says:

    Reblogged this on Advayavada Buddhism.

  9. paiman says:

    Matur nuwun sedulur…

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