When you observe children, what do they do the most? They play. Even when they don’t have toys they play using their imagination. They drift away and fly as far as their imagination allows.
Why can’t we be like them?
You might say – Well of course they play, that is because they don’t have any thoughts to worry about like adults do.
And of course, you would be right saying that. A child is closer in his personality to an empty slate than an adult. And when children have nothing troubling to worry about, they choose to play. What do you think you would do right now if you had nothing troubling in your life to worry about? Maybe you would rest first, for as long as you need, but then when you are all refreshed, what would you do if not play? Go on an adventure, on some discovery or creation of something extraordinary or perhaps useful, helpful. You would approach everything in a playful manner.
But when we think about approaching everything in a playful manner, we think that it is not possible considering our current life circumstance, struggles, sufferings, thoughts. It doesn’t matter to us how we once were. All we care about is how to deal with what is now.
Most people will persist on thinking this way, looking for what they can fix using what they have to their disposal, without understanding the limitations of this approach. If all you see around yourself is sticks and rocks what would you do? probably nothing, you might think about how much life screwed you over. But what would kids do in the same scenario?
Kids would dive into their imagination, building spaceships and going on adventures. Observing the world and life around them with fascination without concluding whether what they have or see is useless or beneficial. They would marvel from watching the smallest insect they can find, and the humongous clouds passing by. A clean slate that is being drowned on with colorful life will remain colorful and alive.
However, life has more to it than pretty scenery and adventurous imagination. There is also the unpleasant scenery and the worried imagination (worried thoughts). When those things are drawn on that clean slate then those things will attract your attention more. Soon enough you’ll find yourself looking at your life mostly seeing what you don’t like because you are overwhelmed by the amount of the worrying things that the drawing is showing you.
You forget about the good stuff, and how powerful your imagination is. The imagination that once took you on adventures and made you feel great about yourself and life, is ridiculed now. Because now you “know” that it is not “real”.
What you need to understand is that – You are a fruit of your imagination. Sometimes that fruit is a rotten apple. When you taste the apple you come to believe that it is real or even worse, that you are that apple. You forget altogether about it being a fruit of your imagination.
We are that blank slate from the day we are born to the day we die. However, we have an interesting property being that slate. We can identify with whatever is being drowned on that slate, believing that it is us.
If we are treated as unworthy and unlovingly we will tend to believe that we are not worthy and not loved because it is what we experienced. A believed experience will always draw our attention to it in a form of a memory, though, or a believed truth.
But what about our imagination? If you close your eyes for a minute and allow yourself not to be drawn to negative thoughts, memories, circumstance, you will immediately feel relief.
Now if we have the ability to choose our focus point, doesn’t that mean that we are not our experiences and what has happened to us, and even more than that, we are not the conclusions we made about ourselves as a result of being a part of some circumstance or experience. Because we can freely move away from that if we choose to, as we’ve just seen. But even people who are aware of this, most of them are not dedicated enough to remind themselves by experience, about who they really are.
So how does this help me?
A blank slate doesn’t have to remain blank in order for you to know that you are not what is drawn on the slate. You have the freedom to give your attention to anything that is in your life, and on your slate. You have the freedom to decide what is important to you and why, and never let go of that. You have the choice of believing that the rotten apple is you, but you also have the choice to awaken to this belief. You can even ignore every experience and thought, past or present, erase the world, entering a meditative state, forgetting about everything for as long as you desire, forgetting about the drawing. Just resting.
It is only when you start taking things seriously you start to believe that they have an effect on you and you are the reaction to that effect, to life experience. If you find yourself insulted, it is up to you to decide if you believe that insult or whatever people say about you. If you find yourself in unwanted experience or circumstance it is up to you to give up on yourself or carry on loving yourself. It is up to you to remind yourself about having a choice and freedom not to identify as something and think poorly about yourself.
An unpleasant circumstance may arise, a memory, a worry, or a fearful thought, all of which are being painted on the slate as they appear. You have no saying about that. So there is no point fighting what already has been drawn. What you do have a saying in, is concluding from those things about yourself and where you are headed.
The direction you’re headed is dependent on what you believe is possible. So remember if you only see sticks and rocks you can decide to curse life or imagine the one you want, just like you did when you were a kid.