Monday, March 10, 2008

Listening To What Life Has To Say.

Walking through that door is unlike anything else one has experienced in quite some time, if at all. The dozen or so young children, ranging in age from 18 months to 2 years old, are already playing on the mats and cushions laying on the floor. Their eyes turn to see who has arrived and their faces light up as one walks over to them for a morning hug. Each child rushes over, arms extended, and runs, unbridled, into ones lap. Love is so effortlessly transmitted when the very young are involved. After a hug and pat on the back most run back over to the playground, hardly able to keep their legs under them as they go. A few stay close, however, and gaze up with those eyes that are so full of expression during these predominantly pre-verbal times. It only takes but a moment and one is engrossed in the play, laughter, and love that bounces from wall to wall, hour by hour, day by day in this place where children run free. It's an arena where conflict can melt in a moment, disputes are settled with a hug, and anything can hold ones attention...at least for a little while.

Does the human being still have the capacity to listen, to observe? Or has the human being been trained to behave so mechanically that the possibility of listening has been wiped out? What do you know about the mechanical aspect of the mind? Not what you've heard from someone else's lips, but from your own honest observation, listening to oneself? We've automated every aspect of life, created habits so intrinsic to our social functioning that we've rendered spontaneity an enemy of any given moment. And listening/observing is indeed a spontaneous act. Our world has been built up in the name of progress, safety, comfort, security, ease, and individuality. And there's no difference when it comes to the space one refers to as 'within.' The 'within' is simply previously recorded commands, dictated from the world around you, plus ones habitually formed reactions to them. Long before any of us can remember we were being programmed, tampered with, and molded in an other's image. That spark that comes into this life with us is harnessed and trained to behave in accordance to images already established in the mind and dictated by the world around us. That precious spark's possibility is what gets sacrificed for the automated appearance of security, comfort, and ease. Therefore, thirty years down the line of this constant conditioning, what do you imagine is responding to life's challenges? A mysterious, uninfluenced, and uncompromising 'individual,' or a series of recorded commands firing off from the misunderstood memories of the past? Is that what everyone is so very proud of, their own particular cluster of recorded commands? Comparing my recorded commands with your recorded commands, adding more commands, changing commands, trying to forget some and remember others, while keeping score with oneself along the way. Listening, however, is not a command you can give yourself or another. Listening to yourself, as you are, is the first and only action required. It is the doorway to a totally different life.

As the children run around the playground one could not help but feel an immense sense of peace and well-being. It wasn't the fact that no one was crying, because a few were, and it wasn't the sense that their lives were always this carefree, because their lives are not. This peace and well-being existed there on that playground because the moment had never been before and it will never be again. There were no other children, on no other playground, during no other day, anywhere. The joy was here among us and we all bathed in it. The preciousness of those tiny pattering feet only added to the smile brought to one's face as a little one came running up to grab hold and pull one over to the sandbox to play.