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In the movie The 13th Floor (one of my favorite movies), one of the secrets to figuring something out was to go somewhere that you would never, ever go. Somewhere you would never have the slightest reason or desire to go.

(Critics hated the movie; sci-fi buffs, especially those who like a plot that requires brain cells, loved it.)

I had no desire to meditate on my most ‘serious’ life-issue (obesity) but after a couple of promptings from my friend went ahead and did so, and it kicked my butt–very powerful. When I thought about this recently, I realized that many of my most powerful experiences have been in response to things that I did not expect to have any impact on me at all. Like my fear of psi meditations, holy cats.

I thought of all the times I did meditations with my friend from way-back who taught me this stuff. How often the stuff that sounded simple, innocuous, quite boring frankly and even a little stupid, ended up rocking my world.

It reminded me of a college ‘creative writing’ class I once had. Now I grant I was almost guaranteed an A in that one, because I brought my guitar and sang some of my work, and teachers love that stuff (so did me and the class, it was fun). But the thing I found was that the ‘structured exercises’ often pulled great stuff out of me, stuff that I never-I-mean-never would have come up with on my own.

It’s the same with music. Put a crazy-heavy structure on what you’re going to write, a whole list of rules, and you may end up with something cool which sounds nothing at all like your ordinary stuff. (Or, for that matter, like what you expected it to when making the specs.)

I was thinking about The 13th Floor┬ámovie recently after watching it for probably the 20th time. (That has nothing on how many times I’ve watched other movies I like. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing!) I was thinking of it as an analogy.

Where are my boundaries?

Is there some place outside the reality I define?

Could it be that I am not fully challenged until I stumble onto the border-zones of self?

Maybe the big question is, what takes me there?

What things can I do to send my attention in directions I would normally never send it to on purpose?