reflections on the liminal

I stood gazing out at the place where saltwater meets the land. The shoreline, what a fitting metaphor it seemed for those uncertain in-between spaces within. It was twilight now and the falling dark imbued the scene with a quieting sense of mystery. Gone was the frenzied activity of the day just past, its churning waves of thought, emotion, stimulus. In the cycle’s waning moments, all external commotion dimmed while the internal landscape emerged smooth and unbroken under the gathering shadows. Here consciousness found itself standing, as it were, amid bare silences where harder contours had been softened by time’s passing tide. What subtle hand shaped these shores within, polished rough edges, deposited the stones of insight that litter the liminal mind? Life’s experiences, ever-fluid yet purposeful, worked upon us unseen, grain by grain, to weather fixedness and leave us smoothed. Not stranded but made porous, open to each new meeting where inner sea intermingles with outer sky’s vast depths. Tonight the sands were strewn with such remnants – half-formed fragments of reflection, questions that refused clear answers. I turned them,felt their rounded heft, watched intervening pools gather and thin as ephemeral answers dissipated with departing light. To know by not-knowing, yield to shifting currents rather than pin them fast…perhaps herein wisdom lay, in detaching from fixed outcomes and floating free upon deepening tides of being. Darkness fell fully as my focus slackened, thoughts drawn gently outward – beyond where water meets the land, beyond shores both seen and unseen, towards mystery’s solace. Another rhythm rolled and receded; the threshold state gave way to night. But its quiet whispers lingered yet, as traces left by waves that shape continually what shapes them in return.

fluid boundaries

The border between our minds and reality is often more permeable than we realize. None of us have full awareness of the forces that guide our thoughts down certain paths each day. Like travelers through a lush forest, we see only what is immediately before us and have little sense of the vast network of roots and canopy that unite all things nearby and far off. Our thought patterns are shaped by so many interlocking factors – our biology, environment, experiences, and beliefs all leave traces we perceive as our own intentions and free will. Yet how much do any of us truly dictate the course of our musings at any moment? Much lies beyond conscious control, governed by mechanisms as unfathomable as the growth of trees. Our minds wander as surely as clouds drift on unseen winds. Perhaps it is healthier to embrace this lack of complete dominion over our mental states. When worries or regrets emerge, one need not battle for authority, but gently guide attention elsewhere. Dark paths hold no power if not continually reinforced by resistance or obsession. Even unpleasant thoughts serve purposes beyond what meets the eye. Through acceptance of ambiguity in ourselves comes freedom from falsely perceived failings. With soft breath we release assumed responsibility over that which we do not truly lead. The frontiers of mind and world are more fluid than boundaries imply; all flows as one vast current nourishing unseen parts of a whole too magnificent to comprehend alone. In surrender lies unexpected peace.

chasing your internal compass

This is an illustration from a vague memory of a night at Zanzibar.

There’s a persistent whisper in the wind, telling us that success glitters under the spotlight, wrapped in dollar bills and woven with public adoration. But what if true fulfillment lies not on some predetermined pedestal, but within the unique landscape of your own heart? Forget the extrinsic markers of achievement. Imagine success not as a glittering trophy on a distant shelf, but as a warm hearth fire crackling within. It’s the comforting glow that radiates from doing what sets your soul alight, from using your unique talents to make a ripple of positive change, even if it’s just a smile on a stranger’s face. Forget the cold, external pressures that define achievement solely by outward measures. They’re like fleeting shadows compared to the enduring warmth of intrinsic joy.. It’s the spark of joy ignited by using your skills to make a positive difference in the world, no matter how seemingly small. This isn’t to say external rewards are meaningless. Financial security and recognition can bring comfort and validation. But when they become the sole measures of success, they risk eclipsing the intrinsic joys that bring true meaning. Think of them as sprinkles on a delicious cake, not the cake itself. The beauty of defining success on your own terms lies in its boundless possibilities. For one, it’s deeply personal. The artist might find fulfillment in capturing fleeting emotions on canvas, while the scientist might chase the thrill of unlocking the universe’s secrets. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula. Secondly, it’s dynamic. Your passions and goals might evolve, and your definition of success should dance along. The baker who once dreamt of Michelin stars might find equal joy in teaching children the magic of homemade bread. Finally, it liberates you from the shackles of comparison. When you chase an internal compass, you’re no longer competing in a never-ending race against others. You’re celebrating your own unique journey, reveling in the small victories and learning from the inevitable stumbles. So, silence the external noise and turn inward. What ignites your soul? What impact do you long to make? Let those be your guiding stars, and you’ll find the path to a success that resonates deep within your being, a success that shines brighter than any external validation could ever hope to achieve.

edge of awareness

I gazed out at the rippling fields, their emerald hues stretching far beneath the steady summer sun. Yet something felt amiss within my thoughts, as if there were unseen forces at work just beyond my perception. Questions had begun to emerge unbidden in my mind of late. Where did this world truly end and the next begin? What separated our experiences in this life from whatever followed? Were we merely subject to circumstance, or did some deeper design unfold moment to moment? As the gentle breeze carried whispers through the grass, I felt surrounded yet distant – present in the landscape yet apart from it in spirit. My thoughts wandered as if in a dreamscape, peering through veils I could not lift. There, just at the edges of awareness, shapes seemed to take form that defied understanding. A sense of liminality settled over me, of existing in a borderland between what is and what may come. Though the solid earth remained under my feet, within my mind’s eye another scenery revealed itself, one governed by rules beyond knowing. Try as I might to grasp the design at work, some greater Wisdom kept its counsel. All at once, the implications stirred unease within my heart. Yet beneath it surfaced too a strange consolation, as if in that very uncertainty there lay a kind of freedom. The future held its secrets still, and life proceeded as it would; for the present, it was enough to simply be.

hidden depths

Have you considered all that lies within the scope of a single human mind? We possess a capacity for thought seemingly without limits, yet most go through life exploring but a fraction of its potential. Our minds are akin to vast, uncharted landscapes hiding wonders just beyond the next rise. All it takes is for us to set forth and discover what lies in our power to uncover.

Take a moment to observe the world around you with open awareness rather than half-formed preoccupations. Look closely at a simple fruit – a banana, perhaps. Note the ingenious wrapper nature provided in its peel, protecting the nutritious flesh within while allowing seeds to disperse. Consider how from a drop of water and flecks of minerals, flowers emerge in a riot of color and fragrance.

Gaze upward at the sky. Consider the trees lining the streets. Science tells us they grew from tiny seeds, pulling carbon from the air through photosynthesis into mighty forms that support entire ecosystems. Yet how many walk by without thought for this quiet miracle? Or the birds that alight among their branches – how their wings beat faster than our eyes can follow yet grant them flight. Look closer and you see life animating even a single leaf in myriad small ways.

Mosquitoes flitting there move almost too rapidly for the eye to follow, yet the intricate motion of wings grants flight. Such observations need not stop at nature. We might reflect on where we came from – sprung from nothingness, shaped through eons, and carrying on lineages stretching back to the dawn of life. On what may come, and on seeing with new eyes what always surrounded us. When was the last time you truly pondered another person you passed, and the inner worlds they inhabit?

When was the last time you truly contemplated your own impermanence and mortality? How rapidly time passes, and the changes it brings with age. One day, you will have to leave this world of forms. Where will your thoughts have brought you by that point?

Yet in this fleeting life spins on, filled with purpose if only we have the insight to see it. Most are too engrossed in trivial distractions and egoism to reflect on life’s deeper questions. Why do we cling to temporary things when our true need lies in preparing for what’s to come? By thinking, however, we lift our gazes and perspectives.

Each new insight reminds us that within our minds exist endless unexplored lands. Imagine setting forth on that journey in full earnestness – pondering one’s very existence, nature’s ingenious designs, and life’s brief yet consequential moments. We might find greater awe, wisdom and connection. The more deeply we think, the vaster the vistas that emerge within. Truly, the possibility for knowledge and betterment contained in a single mind seems infinite – if only we make the choice to embark upon its exploration.

the nature of perception

Our perception of reality is shaped by more than what meets the eye. The world we experience is constructed within our minds based on sensory inputs and built upon frameworks developed over a lifetime.

Our perception of reality is shaped by more than what meets the eye. The world we experience is constructed within our minds based on sensory inputs and built upon frameworks developed over a lifetime. However, advancements in science continue to reveal how flawed these frameworks can be when held as absolute truths. Consider our perception of time. We assume it marches steadily forward in fixed increments, yet Einstein showed it is relative to one’s frame of reference. The passage of time progresses more slowly for those in rapid motion. Even more bewildering, experiments prove two observers in different states of motion will disagree on the measurements of time between shared events. Our intuition proves wrong on this fundamental aspect of reality.

Similarly counterintuitive is the nature of matter revealed by quantum mechanics. At the subatomic level, particles behave as probabilities rather than definite objects. Their properties seem to exist in a blurry superposition awaiting observation to take on discrete values. Even the very concept of “particles” may be a misnomer – the underlying nature of reality defies visualization. If matter can only be known through its effects on conscious observers, does it have an independent existence? Perhaps most striking is that space itself appears firmly set in our minds yet, as Einstein showed, is interwoven with time into the fabric of spacetime. Far from an immutable container, it is dynamically molded by the distribution of mass and energy. Two individuals in differing motions will measure disparate distances between the same events. Space proves as perception dependent as time. Could it be that our whole conception of an objective, observer-independent reality is mistaken? If the foundations of physics continually overturn our instinctive models, might a deeper truth be that existence is fundamentally of a mental character? That the seemingly solid world is but an intricate framing within consciousness itself? Such ideas run counter to ingrained assumptions yet gain credence when we open our perception beyond surface appearances and consider all nature points to something beyond—a Creator whose wisdom fashioned it all. Perhaps the borders of reality lie not without, but within the infinite depths of a single Mind.

the eternal touch of Veluppa

In this nostalgic illustration by The Border of a Mind Studios, we see my grandfather immortalized in a quiet moment from decades ago. Captured here in serene reflection, he sits on the sit out of our ancestral family home in Varandarapilly, gazing peacefully into the rain. Transporting us back to a simpler, more leisurely afternoon, this artwork is a portal into the calming atmosphere of days when life moved at a slower pace. It was in such instances of gentle inward-looking that the seeds were sown for the stories he would one day share, fueling curiosity in the generations to come. Though now only represented in lines and colors on the page, this image preserves an instant that nurtured the bonds linking past to present and promises to nourish those yet to be formed.

As the sun dipped low on the horizon, painting vibrant shades of orange across the sky, I sat on the balcony watching it set with my son Ehan by my side. His small hand gripped mine tightly as we took in the beauty of the fading daylight together. Later, when sharing this moment with my father, it sparked a memory from his own childhood. He recalled walking hand-in-hand with his father, my grandfather, exploring the world around them.  As a young boy, he used to explore the outdoors holding his Uppa’s finger, feeling the roughness of his thumbnail beneath small fingers. Gripping his fingers brought him comfort and security. His early discoveries of the world happened through that simple, grounding point of contact.

When his father passed away, my dad was overcome with grief as he held those same hands one final time. When the day came to perform Veluppa’s last rites, a profound grief overcame him. Though lifeless, those fingers represented the connection and guidance his father had provided. It was through him that my dad’s horizons had been expanded and his curiosity for knowledge kindled. As he held those lifeless fingers one last time, he was transported back to being a child exploring by his Uppa’s side. An uncontrollable sorrow welled within at losing the figure who had expanded his mind. Though the physical being was no more, the impact of that guidance lived on.

While my father acknowledges having his own limitations in life, he feels immense gratitude for the curiosity and thirst for knowledge Veluppa kindled in him from a young age with the limited means available to them at that time. That spark is what continues to propel him forward even today. I have never known my father to place importance on lavish possessions or material wealth in all my years and he values his connections above everything and has always chased his passions that are predominantly nonmaterialistic and working towards uplifting and helping people behind the scenes and not vocal about it. He finds meaning and joy in simpler pleasures, a quality no doubt shaped by cherishing moments spent with Veluppa all those years ago and going through difficult conditions during his childhood and overcoming them with resilience. And it is what he hopes will also light Ehan’s path, passing that flame from one generation to the next. Now, my father finds solace knowing a piece of his father lives on through him and will be passed down to the next generation. As Ehan grows, I hope he too will fondly recall our sunset moments together from the balcony, just as my dad remembers his time with his father. Though my grandfather never met Ehan, an element of his spirit remains within our family and will be carried forward. Memories have a unique power to bridge the gaps created by time and distance between generations. In recalling experiences of our past, we preserve the legacy of those who came before us and maintain a sense of connection even after they are gone. My father’s remembrance of his father reminds me to cherish the moments I have now creating memories with my own son that will last a lifetime.

When Ehan grows older, I believe he too will fondly recall our shared sunset moments, just as my father still sees his Uppa’s face when reminiscing their walks long ago. Though my son never knew his great-grandfather, an element of his essence is preserved within our family and will live on through the bonds and memories that connect us across time. Life is shorter than we think.

ripples of possibility

Within each of us lies incredible power just beyond the reach of conditioned thinking, if only we dare dissolve the illusions that separate our inner worlds from the magical unknown.

We often find ourselves in a routine, traversing the same paths each day without truly experiencing the present moment. Our minds become cluttered with thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow, rarely grasping the opportunities that exist right now. But if we peel back the layers of conditioned thinking, there lies an incredible power just beneath the surface. Many never unlock this power, too afraid or unwilling to step beyond the boundaries they have created. But true change only emerges when we abandon what is familiar and embrace uncertainty. Deep within each of us lies a dormant magic, waiting to be awakened when we take that leap into the unknown. It is in these moments, when we challenge the limits of our perception, that transformation takes shape.

We all have those pivotal instants that break us free, if only we allow ourselves to be present for their arrival. They come unplanned, shattering expectations and predefined roles. It is only in leaving behind preconceived walls that we discover our innate power to change lives, including our own. Each small act of courage to transcend ordinary reality branches out in ripples of possibility. The boundaries of our minds are but an illusion if we have the courage to see beyond them. In each moment lies hidden magic when we open our eyes to the miraculous right before us.

closing cycles

As one cycle concludes, the landscape transforms, leaving space for new memories to emerge, whispering tales of resilience and growth.

In the journey of life, there comes a pivotal moment when we must recognize the end of a “stage”. Holding on beyond its natural course deprives us of the joy and significance that await us in the chapters yet to unfold. Whether we label it closing cycles, shutting doors, or ending chapters, what truly matters is our ability to bid farewell to the moments that have reached their conclusion. Have you recently lost your job, experienced the dissolution of a loving relationship, or ventured into the world beyond your parents’ abode? Perhaps a cherished friendship has abruptly ceased to exist? In the face of such transitions, it is natural to dwell on the reasons behind them. We may find ourselves immobilized, refusing to take another step until we unravel the mysteries of how something so imperative and solid in our lives could crumble to dust in an instant. However, this approach exacts an excruciating toll not only on ourselves but also on those entwined in our lives – our parents, partners, friends, children, siblings – all of whom are eager to turn the page and embrace the next chapter. Witnessing our stagnation burdens them with a sense of helplessness. One of us can exist simultaneously in the present and the past, even when we strive to comprehend the circumstances that befall us.

The bygone days shall not return; we cannot forever remain as children, angsty adolescents, or resentful offspring. We must relinquish the lovers who have departed without the slightest intention of returning, ceaselessly reliving our romantic liaison day and night. Life is a procession of moments that ebb away, and our task is to bid them farewell, allowing them to find their rightful place in the recesses of the past. Painful as it may be, it is crucial to purge our lives of mementos, to relocate, to donate our possessions to orphanages, to sell or give away the books that line our shelves. Every tangible aspect of this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible realm that resides within our hearts. By freeing ourselves from certain memories, we create space for new ones to flourish. Let go. Release. Detach. This existence is not a game with predetermined outcomes; we win some, we lose some. Refrain from harboring expectations, from yearning for appreciation of your efforts, from anticipating the discovery of your genius or the comprehension of your love. Cease tuning in to the emotional television that incessantly replays the program of your suffering after a loss. This relentless replay serves only to poison your spirit. Nothing is more treacherous than refusing to accept the conclusion of a fractured love affair, a promised but indefinitely postponed job, or decisions perpetually deferred in anticipation of an elusive “perfect moment.” Before we embark on a new chapter, we must conclude the old one. Remind yourself that what has passed shall never return. Recall that there was a time when you thrived without that person or thing, for nothing is truly irreplaceable. A habit does not signify a necessity. Though evident and arduous, this realization holds immense significance. Closing cycles is not an act of pride, incapacity, or arrogance. Rather, it is an acknowledgement that the previous phase no longer aligns with the rhythm of your life. Close the door. Change the tune. Cleanse your abode. Shake off the dust. Cease being who you once were and metamorphose into the person you are destined to become.

bordered by possibility

As we release what holds us back, new possibilities break through the barriers of our minds, carried on the winds of change into the open expanses of the future.

We all carry pieces of our past with us wherever we go. Memories, relationships, ideas, regrets – they cling to our minds and hearts, weighing us down. But how freeing it would feel to release those anchors and float unrestrained into the future. To cut away what no longer fits and make space for what is to come. It is a difficult process, dropping the familiar for the unknown. But staying stuck prevents growth. We must accept that we cannot control how others see or appreciate our efforts. Comparison and expectation breed only disappointment. Our talent and purpose may remain hidden for now – or change entirely as we change. And clinging to what was can obscure what could be. So examine closely what still serves you and what has outlived its purpose. Do not hold on out of pride or habit alone. Sweep away the clutter to find clarity once more. Close one chapter fully before beginning anew. It is not a rejection of the past, but an embrace of reinvention. From the ashes of what we release rises the phoenix of who we are becoming. Change is the only constant. We must learn to flow freely with its currents rather than fight futilely against the tides. In clearing out stale leaves, new blossoms find sunlight and room to unfold. The border of a mind expands with each liberation we grant ourselves. Freedom requires leaving some things behind; the reward is an open path ahead, bordered only by possibility.