The Monday before Thanksgiving day, I ventured into a dark reality. It began that morning, after consulting with my insurance company on the coverage limitations for leaky roof repair costs and peaked a couple of hours later when I received an overdraft notice from my bank. Unsettled and discouraged, I suddenly realized so much of our lives are defined by limits. In a moment of desperation, I thought about transferring money from a credit card to cover the insufficient funds in my account, only to remember that the credit limit had been reached. So when I called my bank to speak with the financial officer, and the receptionist immediately put me on hold, I couldn't wait because 436 of my 450 cell phone minute limit had been used already. My next move was to jump in the car and hurry to the bank before it closed, and of course guess what I ran into? A 35 mph speed limit. That is of course within my city limit. The bank is located on a street in the neighboring city which has a 40 mph speed limit. By the time I reached the bank and spoke to the financial officer, he informed me that there was a limit to how much money I could transfer from another bank into my account. He also reminded me that there is a withdrawal limit at the ATM window if I needed funds right away. Lastly, I was assured that if my account fell below the minimum balance required to keep it active, the bank would assess additional fees. Wow, thanks.With thoughts careening from anguish to abandon, I slogged out of the bank, snatched open my car door, and, in final surrender, slumped into my seat. As I sat there, convincing myself that this situation was temporary and wondering how other limits play havoc with my life, I recalled an old television show called 'The Outer Limits'.
Broadcast during the 1960's, 'The Outer Limits' is essentially a science fiction anthology of horrific, thought provoking episodes full of action and suspense, most memorable for its opening narration. The television screen would suddenly blink and instead of seeing a normal broadcast scene, there appeared a black screen with an oscilloscope wave, as if the tv was malfunctioning. Then the eerie 'control voice' would say:
"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission.... You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to.... The Outer Limits."
The more I thought about this opening scene, the clearer it became how closely linked our life experience is to the outer limits.Each day of our lives can be seen as an episode, full of action and suspense. One day you're going along just fine, then suddenly, in a blink, things aren't normal anymore. Darkness descends and you think 'what went wrong?', so you try to fix it, to bring back the 'normal' picture of your life, but you have little to no control because you didn't set the limits... the world did. You were taught that you could do whatever your heart desired and that there was no limit to what you could accomplish. You set out to participate in life's great adventure, to experience the awe and mystery within your mind, not the awfulness and misery imposed by outer limitations. For a while, your life may appear futile and contradictory, but like the show, it only lasts for a limited period of time. And, in the same way that the tv show ends with a twist or sudden chance occurrence, so will each of your life episodes conclude with a quirk of fate for your ultimate good.
Consider one of the life episodes of basketball legend Michael Jordan. After being cut from his high school basketball team, enduring serious humiliation and criticism, he didn't accept failure and used the incident to motivate him beyond those restrictions to heroic heights. He is one of many who has conquered the outer limits with strength of mind. During his speech at his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he said: "Limits like fears, are often just an illusion."Clearly, the solution to overcoming the outer limits is to reach into the inner mind. Your mind can generate the power you need to move you past the boundaries established by the outside world. Your inner strength will take you 'one step beyond' the confines of real or imagined barriers into another realm. Trust your heart to give you the courage to continue through your fears and soon you will be on the other side of 'the outer limits'.