Stepping into Peaceful Relating: Challenging Old Paradigms

Awhile back, I received a blog about Paradigms that has stayed with me. Today I want to share my reflections on this topic.

I was struck by the power of paradigms under which we are still controlled even when the old paradigms no longer make sense or cost too much to keep. Yet, these paradigms in our lives remain unexamined, unchallenged and often remain on autopilot without any awareness on our part.

As an example, in the following story, you’ll see that the present criteria for building rails in 2015 is still rooted in the activity of war. It is perhaps an obscure reference for how we shape our reality around ‘warring’ stories of the past, but these warring stories are embedded in our personal and collective unconscious in ways we rarely can imagine.

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Why We Should Often Challenge the “Way It’s Always Been Done”

The U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. This is not only an odd number, but it has meant massive re-tooling for the rail manufacturers and substantial wasted raw materials.

So why is that figure used? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and the U.S. railroads were laid out by English expatriates.

Why did the English people build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

Why did the tramway builders use that gauge then? Because those builders used the same jigs and tools they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? If they tried to use any other spacing, the wagons would break on some of the old, long-distance roads. Why? That is the spacing of the old wheel ruts.

So why are those ruts at that spacing? Because the first long-distance roads in Europe were built by the Roman army for their legions, and the ruts were first made by the war chariots.

Thus, we have the answer to the original question. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman army war chariot. This is the distance just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.

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When we step into intimate relationships, into dreams of our careers, or personal goals of accomplishment to spiritual practices of higher consciousness, these hidden paradigms and patterns of ‘war’ come to light. As we begin to explore these patterns of control, of dominance, of power-over, and their opposites – of identified ‘victimhood’, of voicelessness, of ineffective connecting, we begin to encounter our inner thresholds of choice.

We make choices to become aware and REALLY see what is as it is.

When we see ‘what is as it is’, we can choose to acknowledge it.

In acknowledging this ‘war’, with compassion, we open ourselves for transformation of a better potential.

We awaken to the dawning of a new possible reality which we now need to act upon.

Breathe into and breathe in this new reality. Ground into it. Find the posture of this new reality. Open to the ideas of this new reality.

As it starts to live in our body, we will be guided to know what to do, differently.

Breathe; Be; Listen. The dance will start to move you in a new way.

Open to Love. Open to Light. Let go of the war chariots and horses. Be here, now, in the moment … that is, here in 2015!

Then respond to what is now, here, in front of you, with the knowledge and skills, and gracious unfolding of Spirit who moved us into this place and space and opportunity of consciousness!


Shirley Lynn