Necessary Boundaries, Enabling Constraints, Episode 171

Boundaries seem to be the only way that human beings can find a place to stand, a place to begin, a place from which to move out” writes Richard Rohr, and at the same time we need to be able to fight and engage with boundaries before we discover what we really need or want. So what does it take to be one who makes ‘enabling constraints’ for ourselves so that the full possibility of our lives can be focussed enough to come into the world? And what does it take to be one who extends trust, ground and freedom to others as they make their own boundaries and declarations?This episode of Turning Towards Life is a conversation about our capacity to limit ourselves as a path to freedom, and to allow others to do the same, hosted as always by Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

This is Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify. You can find videos of every episode, and more about the project on the Turning Towards Life website.

Here’s our source for this week, from Richard Rohr:

Necessary Boundaries, Enabling Constraints

Law, tradition, and boundaries—what I call /Order/—seem to be necessary both to reveal and to limit our basic egocentricity. Such containers make at least some community, family, and marriage possible. Boundaries seem to be the only way that human beings can find a place to stand, a place to begin, a place from which to move out. Even those who think they don’t have any boundaries usually do. We discover them when we trespass against them. 

The human soul flourishes on solid ground, especially in the first years of life. Human beings seem to need to fight and engage with something before they can take it seriously—and before they can discover what they really need or want. The people who never fight religion, guilt, parents, injustice, friends, marriage partners, and laws usually don’t respect their own power, importance, and freedom. They remain content with the external values of the first “lawful” container, instead of working to discover their own.

I am trying to hold us inside a very creative tension, because both law and freedom are necessary for spiritual growth.The psyche cannot live with everything changing every day, everything a matter of opinion, everything relative. There must be a sound container holding us long enough so we can move beyond survival mode. There has to be solid ground, trust, and shared security, or we cannot move outward.

Photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash