It was with some chagrin that, after eleven years of public schooling, and another eleven years of university and graduate school education, I allowed myself to face the fact that very little learning had occurred about how to live life. What I had learned was how to pass examinations, endure anxiety, earn approval, obey others, and suppress pain. In short I had learned to be an impostor, to appear confident and authoritative while feeling fearful and ignorant.
How freeing it was when, finally released from the prison of academia, the unlearning process, the deconditioning could begin. Daily living offered richer education than any classroom or book. I began to discover the importance of joy, ease, peace, love, truth. I learned not by being told about them or reading a “how to” book, but through close observation of people who seemed to experience these qualities. I learned through keen observation of my own process, through paying attention to what thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours produced feelings like fear, shame, guilt, self-doubt, resentment, loneliness. By observing conditioned states of mind, and expressing the inevitable feelings that they produce, I set free energy previously wasted in controlling and containing myself. I noticed that if I did not invite new experiences into the space created, I inevitably recreated further suffering and pain.
How I welcomed each discovery of the principle: “There is a choice about how to live life!” It is possible to choose new thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours which must then create new experiences and feelings. I found that joy begets further joy. Ease, prosperity, and feelings of vibrant health beget greater ease, prosperity, and vibrant health. One of the simplest ways of switching channels is to associate with those whose lives are joyous, simple, and fulfilled. These qualities, like all others, are contagious. A phrase that has often inspired me is: “truth is to be caught, not taught.”
Now I give thanks to the particular children, neighbours, clients, friends, bank tellers, educators, musicians, artists, poets, waitresses and “strangers” who threw me the ball I now throw to you, a smile, bubbles floating in the air, sparklers, an open flower, an enchanted moment. Catch the joy. Catch the love. Do it with ease.