“The Way has never known boundaries…But because of the recognition of a “this,” there came to be boundaries” (Chuang Tzu, quoted by McFarlane 2002: 117).
"Tomorrow, I will continue to be. But you will have to be very attentive to see me. I will be a flower, or a leaf. I will be in these forms... and you may greet me" (Thich Nhat Hanh 1988: 29).
Contents: Plants - The Soil-Plant-Air-Continuum - The Soil-Plant-Air-Animal-Continuum - Prana and Qi - Are there Western Correlates of Qi? - The Web of Life - A Joke - The Interior of the Web of Life - The Development and Evolution of Consciousness - The Big Three – Levels and Dimensions of Consciousness in the Mandala of this Book - A Meditation: From Witnessing to Unity Consciousness (the Nondual) – Summary – References - Quotes
The continuum and discontinuum are closely related to wholeness and fragmentation that I discussed in Chapter 1 of this book. As I pointed out in that chapter, because of language we tend to see the world as a discontinuum. We have words for this and that, for a river and the ocean, red and yellow, spring and summer, light and darkness, good and evil, pleasure and pain, true and false, etc. And thus, using words, we divide a continuum into discontinuous fragments, into this and that. Often we even become oblivious of the underlying continuity and take it for granted that the fragments referred to by words actually exist independently of our thinking mind that divides and fragments and reinforces this fragmentation through the use of words.
In this chapter I shall illustrate this process of fragmentation first by the way we often view plants (my research specialty), and then I shall point out the underlying continuum that besides plants also includes animals, human beings and the rest of the world in may ways. I shall emphasize the importance and significance of an awareness of the continuum.
Plants, such as flowering plants, are usually said to consist of three fundamental categories of organs: root, stem, and leaf. These categories are often considered mutually exclusive, but since they are linked through intermediate forms, a continuum between these organ categories can be recognized (Sattler 1996, Sattler and Jeune 1992, Rutishauser and Isler 2001). Morphology that acknowledges this continuum is referred to as continuum morphology (see also Chapter 3 of this book: fuzziness in science).
Besides the continuum between organ categories (a conceptual continuum), continuum morphology also acknowledges a spatio-temporal continuum within individual plants: the root is continuous with the stem and the stem with the leaves (see, for example, Sattler 1986, Chapter 5). Thus, the plant can be seen as a root-stem-leaf continuum. There is no natural break or discontinuity between these three organs. The internal tissues of the root gradually change their arrangement in the root-stem transition region. Therefore, it is impossible to say where exactly the root ends and the stem begins. The same is the case for the stem and the leaf: the tissues of the stem gradually enter into the leaf and for this reason we cannot find a boundary between stem and leaf.
Now, because we can perceive the plant as a continuum does not mean that therefore the notions of root, stem and leaf are totally arbitrary or fictitious. These notions appear relatively adequate because they are based on observable differences in three areas that we call root, stem and leaf. But these areas are not disjointed. They flow into each other as a river flows into the ocean, thus creating a continuum between the river and the ocean. As it would be artificial to draw a boundary between the river and the ocean, so it seems artificial to delimit root and stem or stem and leaf. Nonetheless, it can be useful to refer to roots, stems and leaves. A problem arises only when we assume or take it for granted that these organs (as entities) exist independently of us drawing boundaries around them. When we fail to recognize that we created a discontinuum by drawing boundaries, then we become unconscious prisoners of the fragmented world that we created. And worse: we have endless futile discussions - that we have had for centuries - about where one organ ends and the other one begins.
Not only can we perceive the plant as a continuum, we can also see it as an integral part of a much more inclusive continuum, the Soil-Plant-Air-Continuum (SPAC) (see, for example, Sattler 1986, Chapter 5). As the root and the stem are continuous with each other, so the soil is continuous with the root. Microscopically, there is no boundary that clearly separates the soil from the root. The water and the minerals of the soil gradually enter the root and thus become part of the root and the whole plant as they move up to the stem and into the leaves. The leaves have microscopic openings, called stomata, which create a continuum between the air outside and inside the plant.
More poetically, we could say that the sky and the earth are in the plant. There is an interpenetration of earth, plant, and sky, a continuum, a wholeness. For example, look at trees:
Trees are creatures of heaven and earth.
They have their feet deep in the earth,
And their crowns reach high up into the sky.
Trees belong to both heaven and earth.
The earth runs through their veins,
And the sky mingles with their cells.
Norman H. Russell composed the above poem. Many other poets have also referred to the continuum. Furthermore, the continuum also plays an important role in music and the visual arts. For example, Claude Monet's paintings of waterlilies give us an impression of the continuum.
Returning now to the soil-plant-air-continuum, we can extend this continuum to include also animals and humans. With regard to humans, we may refer to this continuum to the soil-plant-air-people-continuum. Since humans belong to the animal kingdom, we can refer to this continuum simply as the soil-plant-air-animal-continuum (SPAAC), a term that, as far as I know, has not yet been used in the literature. However, it is well known, that the oxygen produced in the leaves of plants exits through the microscopic openings, the stomata, into the environment and from there enters into our lungs, the blood stream and partakes in the metabolism that creates the energy necessary for the sustenance of life. Thus we can see a continuum spanning the soil, plants, air, people and other creatures.
A simplified depiction of the soil-plant-air-people continuum. The earth (brown colour) enters the plant through the roots in the form of minerals. Water (blue colour) in the earth also moves through the plant and transpires into the air (white colour) that is also within the plant. Animals, including humans, breathe in air, water (vapour) and ingest minerals when they eat plants and after their death and decomposition provide nutrients for plants.
Within the animal and human body everything appears interconnected. The fascia as part of the connective tissue form a continuum throughout the body and envelop all organs. There is evidence that the meridians of Chinese medicine within which qi (chi) circulates are located within the fascia (Oschman 2015: 169, 195-196, 221-228).
Prana and Qi (Chi)
According Yoga philosophy and experience, air is more than just oxygen and other chemical components. Air is infused with prana, which is considered a life force or energy. Therefore, when we breathe in, the air energizes us in more than a chemical way, especially if we are able to practice pranayama, yogic breath control that intensifies prana and may lead to a radical transformation of consciousness.
Instead of prana, the Chinese refer to qi (chi). Like prana, chi is considered all-pervasive in the universe and can be cultivated and transformed through special breathing techniques and movements such as Qigong (Chi Kung) and Taiji (Tai Chi). Jahnke (2002: VII) and others emphasize that qi “is not only energy but also the quintessential foundation of the universe”. Thus, through qi (or prana) everything appears interconnected. However, qi (or prana) is not uniformly present in us and our environment. Yogis, Qigong and Taiji Masters have very strong prana or qi and are able to direct and transform it in many ways. Other people partake in prana or qi to various degrees. One question that arises is how prana or qi are related to Western concepts. Let me try to comment briefly with regard to qi.
Are there Western Correlates of Qi?
How qi or prana relate to concepts of Western science appears controversial (see, for example, Tiller 1997, 2007, Oschman 2015). Electrical circuitry in the body appears somewhat related to qi (see Cohen 1997, Chapter 4, Jahnke 2002, Chapter 16, Oschman 2015). It creates a magnetic field around the body. Since this field pulses in the same frequency range as the magnetic field of the earth (Jahnke 2002: 252), the two fields appear coherent and thus form a continuum. The body also emits photons, that is, light, (electromagnetic radiation) that is continuous with cosmic electromagnetic radiation (see Chapter 4).
Auras emanating from the human body may be due to electromagnetic and/or subtle energies. These energies and consciousness provide transpersonal continuity (see, for example, Tiller 1997, 2007). Either one of them or both together or nonlocality are thought to be the basis for psychic phenomena such as clairvoyance (remote viewing) or telepathy (see Chapter 4).
All of the above phenomena form continua that link more local phenomena into a unified web of life that includes the whole earth and extends into the universe.
The Web of Life
The expression "web of life" has been used "by poets, philosophers and mystics throughout the ages to convey their sense of the interwovenness and interdependence of all phenomena” (Capra 1996: 34). In a scientific context, the web of life refers to the integration of living organisms with their environment that according to Gaia theory includes the whole earth. Since the earth is integrated into the universe, the web of life may be considered to include the whole universe. In any case, the web of life is a continuous whole. Its strands are interconnected. As a result of this interconnectedness the web has properties that we do not find in its strands. For example, a spider web can catch insects, whereas one of its strands alone cannot. Therefore, the whole is more than the sum of its parts (see Chapter 5). We can, of course, refer to individual strands of the web. But in doing so, we have already cut up the continuum of the web into a discontinuum of strands. And even strands have been cut out from their environment. For practical purposes of communication, this may often be necessary. However, we have to remain aware of the underlying continuum because life pulses through it. If we lose that awareness, we cut ourselves off from the wholeness and holiness of life and create endless problems in us and our environment (see Chapter 10). For example, not being sufficiently aware of the interconnections between tropical and temperate forests with the rest of the biosphere and ourselves, we have brutally cut down forests. If we continue this blind destruction, it may amount to cutting out our lungs and the lungs of our children.
Osho (1999: 408) told the following joke:
Hymie Goldberg on a visit to India is appalled by the country’s chaotic traffic. He asks his host why it was so disorderly.
“In some countries,” his host replies, “they drive on the right side, in others on the left. Here we drive in the shade.”
The Interior of the Web of Life
Although the notion of the web of life goes far beyond discontinuities, it is still limited as a scientific view because science provides an exterior view, a surface view. It does not and cannot reveal the interior dimension of life and living, a dimension that can be experienced only by a conscious self. In other words, science cannot reveal our subjective interior experience. For example, scientific studies of sexual orgasm cannot reveal our subjective experience of it, which is beyond words. Hence, for a more complete understanding and experience of the web of life, besides its scientific aspect, we also have to include its interior aspect that is felt by the conscious self (see, for example, Wilber 2007, 2016).
The Development and Evolution of Consciousness
The conscious self develops during our personal life and mirrors to some extent cultural evolution. Many authors have distinguished stages in this process. However, since it constitutes a continuum, there is no agreement about the number of stages. Even the same author such as Ken Wilber (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2016) has proposed different subdivisions into stages ranging from three (body, mind, and spirit) to over a dozen.
AQAL, reproduced with permission from Wilber, K. 2007. The Integral Vision. Shambhala, Boston & London, Fig. 19, p. 151.
The above scheme represents one version of Ken Wilber's AQAL map, specifically with regard to humans. AQAL is an abbreviation for all quadrants (see below) and all levels. In this version of AQAL 8 levels or stages (associated with different colours) are distinguished. With regard to the development of the self (I) they are the following: 1. Instinctual (or archaic in the lower left quadrant (We) that refers to cultural evolution), 2. Magic, 3. Egocentric (called magic-mythic in Wilber 2016), 4. Mythic (traditional, following rules, fundamentalist), 5. Rational (modern achiever self), 6. Pluralistic (postmodern, sensitive self), 7. Holistic, 8. Integral.
The mythic stage characterizes fundamentalism (ancient and modern fundamentalism). The rational stage marks the beginning of a scientific attitude based on evidence and rational understanding. The pluralistic stage acknowledges complementarity and thus leads to increasing tolerance of different, even contradictory views. Wilber (2016) combined the holistic and integral stages into one stage called integral or 2nd-tier in contrast to all the preceding stages that he called 1st-tier. Beyond the integral 2nd-tier stage is the 3rd-tier super-integral (Wilber 2016). Following visionaries such as Aurobindo, Wilber (2006: 68; 2016) divided the 3rd-tier super-integral into the following four stages: 1. Para-Mind (previously "psychic," the home of nature mysticism, hence transpersonal), 2. Meta-Mind (previously "subtle," the home of deity mysticism), 3. Overmind (previously "causal," “the formless unmanifest, nirvikalpa, nirvana, pure Emptiness…The root of the Witness. The home of formless mysticism” (Wilber 1999: 116). Overmind is also referred to as the 4th state or turiya. It is represented by the empty centre in the mandala of this book, 4. Supermind, the Nondual – “this is both the Goal of all stages, and the ever-present Ground of all stages. The union of Emptiness and Form, Spirit and World, Nirvana and Samsara _ One Taste, sahaja samadhi, turiyatita. The home of integral or nondual mysticism” (Wilber 1999: 116-117). It is also referred to as unity consciousness (Wilber 20 16). In the mandala of this book it is represented by the whole mandala.
Ken Wilber (2016) distinguishes "growing up" and "waking up." Growing up involves the ascendence in the above stages (called structure-stages) from the lowest, the instinctual, toward the highest, the supermind. In contrast, waking up involves the ascendence through the following five states: 1. The physical, also referred to as gross (the waking state), 2. The subtle (the dream state), 3. The very subtle or causal (the deep dreamless state), 4. Turiya (the witness), 5. Turiyatita ("ultimate nondual unity consciousness" (Wilber 2016: 107). According to Wilber these states can be reached at each of the stages (structure-stages), but in contrast to the structure stages that endure when they are reached, the states may be just peak experiences that do not last unless they become state-stages (Wilber 2016).
Ken Wilber conceives all structure-stages (and states) as levels of a hierarchy (holarchy), in which each level includes and transcends its predecessor(s). Although he usually refers to levels, he recognizes that they are “somewhat arbitrary...It just depends upon how you want to slice the pie (Wilber 2007: 32). As the pie represents a continuum, I have stressed the continuum of the development and evolution of consciousness, and furthermore I have pointed out that the levels can also be seen in a nonhierarchical way (see Chapter 1 and Ken Wilber’s AQAL Dogma and Wilber’s AQAL Map and Beyond: Summary and Conclusions). O'Connor arranged Wilber's linear sequence of stages in a circle so that they form a mandala. Consequently, "we can develop any of the soul's faculties at any time because we always have access to them, and not just in Wilber's step-by-step progression" (O'Connor 2015).
The Big Three
According to Ken Wilber (1999, 2000, 2007, 2016) each stage or level has four dimensions or four quadrants: the upper left quadrant (I) that refers to the self, the lower left quadrant that refers to culture (We), the upper right quadrant (It) referring to nature, and the lower right quadrant (Its) referring to society (see the AQAL map above). When the two right quadrants (nature and society) are combined, we obtain what Wilber called “The Big Three”: the self, culture, and nature; or art, morals, and science; or I, we, and it; or first person, second person, and third person. The “I” or first person is the personal subjective (interior) dimension of consciousness. The “we” or second person is the cultural dimension of consciousness. As the first person dimension, Wilber considers it also interior. However, the third person is considered exterior: “it” is the objective, scientific dimension. One of the merits of “The Big Three” is that it understands science as only one of the three major dimensions of human experience.
Levels and Dimensions of Consciousness in the Mandala of this Book.
The mandala of this book can be interpreted in several ways. Thus, it also accommodates Wilber’s Big Three with its dimensions and levels. To recover the Big Three in the mandala, we have to recognize that, although not indicated explicitly, each concept of the mandala has the three dimensions: I, we, and it; that is, self, culture and nature, or art, morals, and science. Thus, with regard to the concept of the continuum we have to recognize its two interior dimensions (self and culture) as well as its exterior dimension (science). I implied all three dimensions in the above discussions. The continuum as well as the discontinuum can be a subjective interior experience of the self, they reside in our culture and have been demonstrated scientifically in nature.
The conceptual version of the mandala of this book.
The mandala can also be interpreted as representing all of the stages or levels of consciousness that Wilber distinguished. The first four of these stages are not explicitly indicated in the mandala, but they would be located outside the outer circle with the first stage at the edge of the mandala and the second, third and fourth stages progressing toward the outer circle. The outer circle represents Wilber's fifth stage, the rational structure of consciousness that is characteristic of modernity. Wilber's 6th stage, the pluralistic stage would be located between the outer and inner circle, although closer to the inner circle or even part of the inner circle. The inner circle represents the holistic (7th) and integral (8th) stages that Wilber (2016) combined as one stage called integral. Inside the inner circle would be the four 3rd-tier stages. The purple band in the pictorial version of the mandala (see below) represents the Para-Mind (previously "psychic," the home of nature mysticism) and the Meta-Mind (previously "subtle," the home of deity mysticism). The empty centre of the mandala indicates Overmind, the causal, the formless, the unmanifest, the unnamable mystery, emptiness (in the Buddhist sense), which also has been referred to as the witness (Turiya). Finally the mandala as a whole represents the Supermind, that is, the nondual, the oneness of emptiness and form.
The stages or levels represent abstractions from an underlying continuum.
Conclusion: The Many Aspects of the Continuum and Discontinuum
“Continuum is at the same time a philosophical, scientific, artistic, musical, poetic, and spiritual concept, a cosmology, and an advanced state of consciousness. When applied to our affairs, Continuum leads us naturally to a saner and happier world. In other words, Continuum as an experience is a direct involvement in the harmony and congruence of our inner and outer realities” (Oschman 2003, Chapter 12). Emilie Conrad (2007) was interested in all of these aspects and as a dancer taught especially continuum movement that emphasizes breath, sound, movement and ways of living in accordance with the continuum of nature and our deepest self, which leads to increased vitality, health and well-being, spiritual growth and many other benefits for body, mind, and spirit. Many other approaches in somatics also stress or imply continua.
Different kinds of continua can be distinguished (see The Dynamic Mandala). Are they continuous with one another? And are they continuous with discontinua? Are there discontinua in nature and culture that are not due to the fragmenting nature of language? It seems that certain phenomena appear discontinuous from one perspective and continuous from another. For example, from one perspective, a rock in a lake appears discontinuous from the surrounding water, but from a molecular or atomic perspective the rock and water may be considered continuous (see Chapter 1, last paragraph of Abstraction (Fragmentation).
A Meditation: From Witnessing to Unity Consciousness (the Nondual)
This meditation may give us a taste of the highest states of consciousness, of waking up: witnessing and unity consciousness (see above in the section on The Development and Evolution of Consciousness). We sit either on a chair or cushion with our back straight but relaxed and eyes closed. We breathe naturally. And we just observe what is happening. In other words, we are witnessing. We are witnessing our body sensations. What does our body feel like? Is it warm? Is there an itching in a leg? If so, how does it change? And so on. What emotion(s) do we feel? Are we sad, content, anxious, joyous, or what else? How do these emotions change? Are thoughts arising? What happens to them? Do they disappear or change into other thoughts? Do we experience a continuum and/or a discontinuum? Do we experience ourselves as separate individuals or as boundless?
This meditation can also be done dynamically through movement. As we move we are aware of the continuum or discontinuum in our body, and if emotions and thoughts arise, we witness them too.
Witnessing excludes identification. Thus, I am not my body, I witness it, I observe it. Similarly, I am not my emotions, not my thoughts; not this, not that. This detached witnessing has also been referred to as mindfulness coupled with equanimity (Shinzen Young 1997, 2013). It may lead to a transformation of consciousness, to awakening. But it requires practice because we are so accustomed to identify with our thoughts, emotions, and body sensations, and this identification often leads to conflict and unhappiness, the human condition. We can, however, go beyond the identification through witnessing, which gives us boundless freedom because when we do not identify with what is witnessed such as troubling thoughts or emotions, we are no longer bound by these thoughts or emotions, we only watch them as a witness.
Although witnessing frees us, “the ultimate Freedom of the pure Witness rests on an even deeper truth – you are not any one of those objects [such as thoughts or emotions] that are arising moment to moment, because in your deepest Nature you are ALL of them… You are actually in an ever-present state of unity consciousness, where your True Witness is one with everything it Witnesses” (Wilber 2016: 108). Hence, the duality of the witness and the witnessed is overcome in nondual unity consciousness.
Unless the nonduality of the witness and the witnessed is recognized, we may get stuck in a separate witness that may even be the ego in disguise (see Adyashanti 2010: 93-100). In this sense the witness may be "the last stand of the ego," as Katagiri Roshi put it. But the ego (perceived as a separate entity) may be transcended and thus witnessing may lead to the Nondual. Wilber (1999: 273-276) points out two common mistakes we make on the way from witnessing to the Nondual ("One Taste"). The first mistake: Making the witness an object. The witness in not an object, but the seer of objects. “Eventually, of course, with One Taste, you will be everything that you see [witness], but you cannot start trying to do that – trying to see the Truth – because that is what blocks it. You have to start with “neti, neti”: I am not this, I am not that” (ibid. p. 273). So don’t make the witness an object. Recognize it as the witness of objects. And the second mistake: Trying to get rid of the self-contraction of the ego while moving from the witness to the Nondual. Just let it be or arise as other objects. Otherwise, it will be locked in. “We assume that the self-contraction [of the ego] hides or obstructs Spirit, whereas in fact it is simply a radiant manifestation of Spirit itself, like absolutely every other Form in the universe. All Forms are not other than Emptiness, including the form of the ego. Moreover, the only thing that wants to get rid of the ego is the ego” (ibid. p. 274).
One way to move to the Nondual is by imagining being headless, having an empty space instead of our head (Douglas Harding quoted by Wilber 2016: 108). Then whatever we are looking at – a tree, the sky, the clouds, etc. – can enter into that empty space inside us, and thus we become one with what before appeared outside us. In other words, there are no longer the tree, the sky and the clouds outside me. I am the tree, the sky, the clouds, etc. They are in me. This nondual consciousness is referred to as unity consciousness. In it the whole universe can arise in you: thus you and the universe are one.
Personally I prefer other ways of describing the move toward the Nondual. Being the witness, one may simply relax into the witnessed and thus overcome the duality of the witness and the witnessed, of emptiness and form. Or one lets the witness dissolve into the ALL. Or as Ken Wilber put it, the witnessed arises in the witness. "All things arise within the witness, so much so that the Witness itself disappears into all things" (Wilber 2001: 301). Witnessing can also be seen as a process that has no agent (witness), hence no division into subject and object (see process language). Alternatively, we may have the realization the small individual self is the universal Self, which has also been referred to as the True Self of unity consciousness (see the nondualistic Advaita Vedanta).
In a sense the nonduality of unity consciousness might appear as a return to narrow identification, which we want to overcome through witnessing. However, it is more like a transcendence of witnessing. In witnessing at first the witness may be seen as separate from what is witnessed, which implies a duality of the witness and the witnessed (such as emotions or thoughts). However, when the witness is perceived as empty, then objects and the whole universe may enter into this emptiness and become one with the empty witness. Thus, we can be the whole universe in what is referred to as unity consciousness. Contrary to the identification with any one object or thought or emotion that can lead to much misery, we are the whole universe, infinity, and that transcends narrow harmful identification and leads to liberation.
Not only the witness is empty (boundless), objects are also empty (boundless). In this sense saying, "I am the tree" expresses the emptiness of the tree as well as mine. Thus emptiness (boundlessness) unites us. As pointed out in the Heart Sutra, not only objects (forms) are empty, body sensations (such as physical pain), emotions, thoughts, and consciousness are also empty (boundless).
We often see discontinua (discontinuums). For example, we see the soiI, plants, and the air as separate things or entities and whole disciplines such as soil science, botany, and meteorology deal with them. However, upon closer inspection we find a soil-plant-air-continuum and even a soil-plant-air-animal(and human)-continuum. The web of life and energy continua such as those of electromagnetism and prana or qi (chi) are still more inclusive. Furthermore, we find continua in poetry, music, and the visual arts. And in our culture, philosophy and spirituality a continuum is evident in the development and evolution of consciousness. This continuum has been implied in Ken Wilber’s AQAL Map and my critical appreciation of this map. Although the mandala of this book appears discontinuous at first sight, it can also be understood as a continuum (see Introduction).
Common ways of thinking and language tend to fragment continua into this and that, beautiful and ugly, good and bad, true and false, etc. As long as we are aware of the fragmentation, we may be able to recognize underlying continua. However, a lack of awareness seems widespread and this lack may lead to conflict and war. In contrast, an awareness of continua may lead a to “a saner and happier world. In other words, Continuum as an experience is a direct involvement in the harmony and congruence of our inner and outer realities” (Oschman 2003, Chapter 12). The continuum movement that was founded by Emilie Conrad (2007) emphasizes breath, sound, movement and ways of living in accordance with the continuum of nature and our deepest self, which leads to increased vitality, health and well-being, spiritual growth and many other benefits for body, mind, and spirit. Other approaches in somatics also stress or imply continua.
In mindfulness meditation the witness may observe continua and/or discontinua as they arise in body sensations, emotions, and thoughts. Although this type of meditation can be highly beneficial, a dualism between the witness and the witnessed may still be present. However, in the highest state of nondual awareness of unity consciousness the witness and the witnessed are experienced as one ("One Taste") and thus duality (fragmentation) is overcome.
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"There is a continuum of consciousness into which our individual minds plunge as into a mother sea" (William James).
“Form is boundlessness, boundlessness is form” (Heart Sutra, translation by K. Tanahashi).
“The way has never known boundaries…But because of the recognition of a “this,” there came to be boundaries” (Chuang Tzu).
“Forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home” (Chuang Tzu).
"Obviously there is no such thing as race, and in many ways, sex is a continuum, not a binary. So it doesn't make sense to label people in that way" (Gloria Steinem).
"In fact, your whole life is a continuum of choices, so the more conscious you are, the greater your life will be" (Deepak Chopra).
“Life is a continuum; neither black nor white, but a series of shades from light to dark. When the shadow is in front of you, all you see is the darkness and forget the sun is at your back” (Brownell Landrum).
"I have seen good nurses and bad nurses. They existed along a continuum: from hard-working, kind and competent people, to office-hugging, bone-idle types, to apathetic, disengaged automatons" (Jo Brand).