Whenever we travel outside of our habitual or cultural environment, we cross borders – mostly in the confines of an airport. In spite of our ability to instantly travel between countries and continents on the internet, where we call this digital ‘nearness’ the global village, the physical reality reflects the reverse situation. The core of physical border crossing is identity control. The individual crossing the border must obtain permission to do so. Since the beginning of recorded history, the acquiring of territory and maintaining of borders has been the primary source of war, conflict and abuse, and this situation has not changed up until today. Yet, there is no reality to the idea of borders and border-crossing because it is a conceptualisation of the mind that is imposed in a top-down manner onto physical space. Borders are an accepted illusion, there is no tangible equivalent from which borders spring forth and manifest in the world. In other words, borders are not real, they shift and change depending on who is in charge and has the power to rule over others in form of states, nations, and countries.
When travelling between claimed territory by plane, airport border controls are laced with a thick procedure of security checks that encompass the inspection of luggage and physical bodies with the aim to minimise potential security risks for the country that is opening its gates for us. In my experience, all border crossing check points look the same with only one changing variable, which is the language spoken because it changes from border to border. The agents in charge of checking travellers wear uniforms, they sit behind computers, scanning devices, and other machines which process information about each person who crosses the border. Fascinatingly enough, the border-crossing personnel assesses each person not as the physical person that stands right in front of them. No, the assessment is done based on a proxy, the conceptualised idea about a person which is displayed in form of an image on a computer screen. We, the travellers, are not privy to this information, we can assume that a part of it contains our personal details such as name and address, yet the remainder, of what lurks on these screens and refers to us, is shrouded in mystery.
There is a sense of togetherness when going through the long haul of border-crossing and security check points. Frequently a conversation pops up between fellow passengers. At the end of the conversation everyone participating is reassured that we are united in this ‘humiliating situation’, when we are stripped of shoes, belts, jackets and hats because our potential is perceived as threat to the world. Even when queuing with a more reserved crowd that not easily engages conversationally, the sight of a little child or an elderly person having to submit to the procedures will prompt us to verbally point out the ridiculousness of these controls. But how ridiculous are they really when we bring the point home to self and see what it is that we don’t want to see about who we are? We unite in complaining about check-point procedures because we don’t want to see beyond, what underlies this situation and how it unanimously implicates each one of us.
When we realise that what is happening in real-time is equal to the inner reality that we carry around in our minds, we can start to investigate and step beyond the accepted self-victimisation. We stop to believe that submitting to a ‘humiliating situation’ is engineered by an evil government that blindly enforces its laws and we realise that the powerlessness we experience is the perception of the mind as we allow and accept it. We are the borders, the territory, the security checks, and we victimise ourselves daily. Our own borders are just as imaginary as the borders we create in physical space to divide the world into countries and nations. Our claim to territory is to prevent us from self-change. What we defend are our limitations and how we have programmed ourselves in separation and division from others at every opportunity where our self-interest is threatened. We use self-talk to validate the behaviors we enact to keep our borders intact. But here it is not about others being admitted inside, it is about us preventing ourselves from stepping outside our habitual territory so that we move ourselves into a new space where we can decide freely who we want to be in this moment, in this context, with these people.
This self-talk is our security check point, it is powerful beyond recognition. It contains every justification we launch in our minds to remain where we are – trapped and limited. On an individual level, we deploy a personal arsenal of justifications that we can tailor to each situation. These mental security measures are extremely well-placed and they make so much sense that when we are in a given situation, where we have the opportunity to trespass our limitations, we are unable to recognise what we are doing to ourselves. We may have a glimpse in hindsight of what could have been, who we could have been, but the situation is gone and we will have to wait until next time…
In the meantime, there are reassuring conversation with fellow minds to be had – somewhere – on the internet, in the streets, at the airport, where we reassure ourselves that change seems so impossible with the ultimate justification: because we are a victim of human nature.
Don’t wait till next time, dismantle your mental security check-point and walk out of your justifications.
Join us, and set yourself free