Monday, November 22, 2010

Truth at the Edge

In the collective mind, the edge has an aura of romance. It's characterized by adrenaline-spiking special effects and a heart pounding soundtrack. The hero at the edge is portrayed as icy calm amidst a firestorm of destruction; or a radiant mind glows in the birth of an earth-shattering breakthrough. At the pop-culture edge, the hero finds the golden light and the golden statue. Its described calmly in the media Q&A and lovingly embraced by the teary-eyed family. This romantic fantasy couldn't be further from the truth of the edge.

If you've found yourself at the edge, you know there's no glamour there. Actually being at the edge is clinging to the lip of the known and staring in the unknowable. It's realizing that the beliefs, love, possessions, physical stamina and whatever else stabilizes the center no long applies to emerging circumstances; new energies and insights must be accessed. The edge doesn't glorify the ego; that is the work of the center.

The edge is not a vacation choice or a thrilling distraction from the tedium of living. No rational person willingly ventures there. Uncontrollable forces sweep you to edge where everything cherished by the rational mind is challenged. It rips away illusions, yanks the rug from beneath your feet and dissolves apart the world you inhabit. The edge is not the glowing horizon between heaven and earth. It's the faint border crossing between the wasteland and the unknown land.

At the edge, there's no turning back. Behind is the corpse of a life that no longer breathes. Ahead is the fear of annihilation in the abyss. Yet, the opportunity of being at the edge is dying to the known to discover revitalizing energies in the unknowable. To ego, mind and body, the edge is a place of dark nothingness. To the soul, the edge rims the well of life. At the edge hovers the elusive elixir of life. It the time/space moment/place where you encounter the no-thing that cannot be described or explained while it powers the steps of your life journey. The edge is not a dividing line separating hope from fear. It's the mixture of hope and fear that ignites the strange sparks of new creation.

You may be thrown to the edge by divorce, disease or debt. You may find yourself there staring that the blank page or the blank canvas. You may not know how the hell you got there. At the edge, your heart may pound, your knees may shake, your throat may be parched, your eyes may be blinded by tears, you legs may feel unable to take the next step. At the edge you may feel alone and confused. Yet, if you are lucky enough to be opened this far by life, please remember: the edge is a moment of fierce grace; you are at a vital threshold on your life journey; as you passed through birth into this world, you are being birthed into important new dimensions of this world; though its seems like you are losing your life you are in the process of gaining; hang in there.

The truth of the edge is described in an old Zen story: A man, being chased by a tiger, ran to the edge of a cliff. As the tiger bore down on him, the man spotted a vine growing down the side of the precipice and climbed down it. At the bottom of the cliff, another tiger roared and licked his lips. Clinging to the vine, the man saw two mice, one black and one white, gnawing the vine at the point it sprung from the rock face. Two feet to his left grew a single strawberry. The man plucked the red fruit and popped it into his mouth, how sweet and fresh it tasted.


  1. Do true. The edge is not glamorous, but it does give new opportunities for things never imagined before.

  2. Very excellently written. I am familiar with that edge you are writing has changed me and y whole perception of existence. It has catapulted me to another edge..the edge of NOW. The place of presence, where all is emerging from the source..where the cliff is full of strawberries and I have wings.:)

  3. Very beautifully written. Thank you, Tony.

  4. I absolutely loved and needed this, Anthony. The edge is glamorized by those watching-not those experiencing it! Happy day of Thanksgiving to you!

  5. Thanks for all your comments and interest in the edge. It seems the edge is an intersection where Life sweeps us together, a place and time to connect through our humanity unhindered by masks and other false divisions.

  6. "fierce grace" Exactly. Beautifully said and deeply truthful. Thank you!

  7. Love us EDGE lovers coming together!
    Thanks Tony for a beautiful piece!