This week one of the members of the online community I am a member of suggested the following questions for reflection, based on Mind Training in Seven Points by Ken McLeod:
Can you be a child of illusion?, can you see the magic in the world around you even in the most difficult times?
If you can, then how does it make you feel? If you cannot then why not? What is stopping you?
Where do I even start? 🙂 Although I would very much like to return to the magic world of the childhood, it does not strike me as a particularly informed one. Children are this way because they cannot be any other way (and how wonderful is that!) It reminds me of a judgement that can often be heard about the works of artists who choose to express their vision in a more abstract way, “But even a child could make a picture like that!” Exactly! Only this is the only way a child can make pictures, which is not the case with artists. Kids have to go through those pains of development, with the support of the parents and the tribe (some don’t go far but that is a different issue). They have to discover the world is not rotating around them (moving from the egocentric perspective to a wider, etnocentric and then to worldcentric), that parents are not perfect and that in life we inevitably encounter loss and suffering. At the same time they are being socialized and conditioned by the people they are very dependable on. This is a lot to take in! Honestly, I don’t envy children.
So when I take up questions like the ones outlined above, I have to remind myself to not idealize something and keep in mind the intention. The intention behind my practice is not to forget all the things I know about life of which loss and death are a part of, but to be aware of choices in life and make informed decisions. With this in mind, I move into exploring what it is that keeps me from experiencing the world through the eyes of a child. I supposed this is what in Zen traditions is called Zen mind. The qualities I associate with this state is gentle curiosity, openness and playfulness. Openness to whatever arises, good or bad.
What is this mystery of life we are talking about here?
“Perhaps the mystery makes itself felt as a moment of timeless presence, of being so completely here that you wonder where you’ve been all your life. The moment passes however, and a wall goes back up. You realize that you live behind that wall… You live with the isolation, but deep inside you wonder, “What is this wall?”
– Ken McLeod, “Wake up to your life”, p. 4.
What stops you from experiencing the mystery of life? What is this wall Ken writes about? When is it more likely to come up?