The other day I was out for a walk in our neighborhood, enjoying the extroverted exuberance of the daffodils and pausing now and then to breathe in the mind-altering fragrance of a grape hyacinth. Along the way, I passed by a man and his young daughter who were headed in the opposite direction. As we passed one another, I heard the little girl telling her father about the things that were falling from the sky of Middle Earth.
My immediate response was delight at the imaginative capacity of children. They can create whole worlds in their minds, and their spirits haven’t yet been straightjacketed by the realities we adults have to manage.
But in the next instant I almost burst out laughing as I recognized that we adults dwell in our own fantasy world, one that we take so seriously that we have brought it forth in the dimension of form—and perhaps ours is the greater imagination, because we are utterly convinced that our fantasy is the “real world.”
The cornerstone of our make-believe world, of course, is the idea of separateness and of a separate self. From that one wildly imaginative idea we created thought patterns in the mind: judgment, scarcity, attack, enemies. Thoughts of not being good enough. Thoughts of being better than others.
Our fantasy thought forms then became the blueprints for the institutions and systems we created. Economic systems based on competition and exploitation. Political systems based on domination and disenfranchisement. Industrial systems based on waste and extraction. Prison systems based on judgment and condemnation. Religious systems based on sinfulness and fear.
The list could go on and on. And all of it founded upon an idea far more imaginative than anything that could ever fall from the sky of Middle Earth.
Every now and then, though, something cracks the facade of our make-believe world, usually without us even trying, and often when we’re doing something quite ordinary.
We’re washing the dishes when suddenly the chattering mind stops as it notices the rainbow luminescence of the soap bubbles. Or we wake on a spring morning to sunlight and birdsong cascading through the bedroom window, dispelling the dream we were dreaming, and we realize it truly is a new day. Or we’re standing in line at the grocery store when, in front of us, a baby pulls her head up from her mother’s shoulder and gazes into our eyes, and we sense something about our own essence.
In each of these moments something stirs within us. A knowing that had been hidden from our awareness reveals itself in breathtaking clarity: that we are part of a vast and intricate web of life, forever loved by a boundless Love. And if just for an instant we know that this, this, is the Real World.