My in-law’s dog wore a path in the grass which exactly follows the line of the invisible fence around their yard. Whether he created the rut in an attempt to explore his escape options or because he sought to maximize his territory I cannot be sure, but the visual has always struck me as a perfect symbol for the way human beings tend to live their lives.
Man operates within an envelope of perceived possibility. The envelope is naturally quite unlimited, but cultural patterns, belief systems, past experiences and other psychological factors shrink the envelope considerably in the course of the individual’s life. These limiting factors are present at every level of human organization, ranging from the individual to the species as a whole.
One of the ways these limitations manifest is in relation to the way in which change is viewed. Comfort and predictability are two of the most worshipped gods in the human condition. There is a strong, typically subconscious tendency to stake out a territory and defend it to the death. Most of the defenses are arrayed against anything that would represent change. The individual thus functioning wears a rut in the flowing world around him, like my in-law’s dog, and countless billions of people have come and gone, living lives that did nothing more than deepen the ruts in consciousness for following generations.
With change comes the discomfort of unfamiliarity and the fear of the unknown limits us more than we might imagine, looking at it from inside the invisible fence. Change is the only constant in the temporal world. If you ground your function in a concern not to be right or to prove others wrong, but instead in a concern for righteousness, you will no longer see change as a threat to your existence. When you consecrate your life to righteousness, comfort is the very last thing on your mind and heart.
I remember hearing that at a certain point the battery in my in-law’s dog’s collar went dead, but the dog, being a creature of habit, never strayed beyond the borders of the self-worn track in the yard. Be careful that you do not do the same, now that you can see that the borders of your consciousness are simply a figment of your imagination.