May 12, 2017

How I found My Edge Through Chronic Illness, & How You Can Too.

“The Edge…There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones that have gone over.“ ~ Hunter S. Thompson


We are all looking for the edge, that place where we feel the most alive.

People talk about the edge all too casually, whether in regards to a recent bungee jumping excursion or a skydiving expedition. It usually alludes to some kind of fun—a weekend getaway or a temporary vacation—but I feel that it goes much deeper than that. It seems to me that finding our edge is absolutely vital to our existence, and I’d like to delve into how it is that we ought to go about this most holy pursuit.

In order to find our edge, we must first understand what it actually is.

This is a space where intuition is the predominant force, where our more fundamental instincts come to take the reigns of our consciousness.

To be on the edge is to be grounded solely in the immediacy of felt experience, to be immersed in what is happening now.

It is a territory of tremendous creativity and strength, for to live on one’s edge is to be free of all inhibition, all hesitation, all doubt.

Living on the edge implies a full and total embodiment of the present moment, which doesn’t necessarily require us to go jet-skiing or dive off a cliff, for god’s sake. Sure, moments of extreme excitement do bring us into the present moment, but we don’t necessarily need to risk our lives to find the edge.

So, where is the edge?

It is here. It is always here, and that’s the trick. When we realize that our edge need not necessarily be sought in an external sense, then we can welcome it into our lives.

I was forced to find my edge through contending with a deeply rooted chronic illness, which pushed me far past the boundaries of my ego.

Perhaps that’s what the edge is, really. The dissolution of our egos, our misplaced sense of being an isolated individual that is intrinsically separate from everything else, the conditioned identity that we have come to take on. To be on the edge is to be without a self, in the sense that we feel completely connected with all that is “other.”

When I was sick, people would see me and not assume that there was anything wrong, when in reality I was fighting for my damn life—fighting to keep what was left of my soul. This brought me to my edge, which was ultimately the realization that everything in this world, including myself, was transient and subject to decay. If we can really see the transitory nature of life, how fleeting all of this is, then we become forced upon the sheer immediacy of the present moment.

It is not as simple as one massive cathartic experience—one single momentous existential realization—rather, it is more so a matter of constant practice and incessant work.

Here’s how I found my edge:

I began cultivating a meditative practice wherein I would utilize the movements of my breath as a doorway into my deeper nature.

First, we sink into our bodies, and really sense the aliveness that is always there. In tuning into the felt experience of living in a body and following the subtle oscillations of the breath, we come to detach from the ego self.

In other words, we cease to be wholly identified with our thoughts, and we can actually look at the movements of our minds impartially—as passive observers—which is quite funny really to see how absurd and meaningless most of our thoughts generally are.

In that, we feel a much deeper sense of connectivity and inner power, for we actually come to fully embrace the awareness that we are beneath the craziness of our monkey minds. We become who we are, in essence, and this is truly what it means to live on the edge.

The edge requires nothing. It asks nothing of us, other than to realize the stark simplicity and beauty of what we actually are fundamentally. To recognize our true nature as both self and other, which is achieved through becoming one with the now, is to move toward the actualization of our greatest potential.

If the edge can be found, if we can uncover this wonderful space within ourselves, then our lives can be made into beautiful works of art that can further attribute to the cultivation and progression of the human species.


Author: Samuel Kronen
Image: Pexels
Editor: Leah Sugerman

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