The Wish List


[Excerpt from FREE, Getting real with life, unlimited]

The music comes on and the three year olds start dancing. Jumping and twirling and laughing and bouncing and falling around. They can’t help it. Because music is playing.

The entire experience of self, life and world is transient and ever-changing.

And this prompts the question: if we realise it is all so fluid  why would we bother doing, creating or having anything?

Well, let’s imagine my wish list was: to be a billionaire and super fit with abs and a beach house, perfect kids, great hair and a cupboard full of Green and Black’s almond chocolate. (Example randomly plucked out of thin air purely for illustration’s sake. Obviously.)

Let’s consider this wish list. Maybe it’s a bit similar to yours. (If so we should share a house or at the very least a hairdresser). Or maybe you’d like a record contract. Or to play in the World Cup. Or to get into the jeans you wore ten years ago. Or to save the oceans. Or to write a best seller. Or to pay the rent. Or a partner who adores you. Or world peace. Or a private plane. Or a date with… Whatever. You get the idea.

There are two truths about that list and in those truths lie the secret to the heart’s desire of every single individual on the planet.

The first truth is that every experience of anything on our wish list, whether we have it or not, is only ever thought believed in the moment. Essentially, the experience of having or not having is made up of thought momentarily fixed on as real and it will change.

What it means to have a billion pounds will change. What it means to be super fit will change. What it takes for me to see my children as perfect will change. What it means to have a house by the sea will change. Apart from great hair. Because what it means to have great hair won’t… what? oh… you’re right… that will change too…

It all changes and there is no limit to the shape and form that the experience takes. From moment to moment thoughts can create from any of it a goal, a burden, an asset, a source of pride or shame, a gift or a hassle, a reason to live, regret, desperation, a reason to be ashamed or proud, something to have at all costs, something that separates or connects me, something to escape from…

As a result of  thoughts in any one moment I will feel happy, sad, anxious, relieved, calm, hassled, trapped…

It will look like these feelings are caused directly by what I have done, what I own, what is out there, what I have acquired, what I don’t have but they never are.

So the second truth is that happiness, security, worth, who I am has zero to do with what I do, where I live, what I own, what is happening in the world, who I know. It is not even related to what my hair looks like (and yes that one has taken decades).

This means I can drop my entire wish list. I can see that  life will not be better, I will not be permanently happy or fulfilled or not anxious as a result. And just to put the final full stop on this argument, I can also see that because it is all experienced in thought the definitive achieving of any of it is literally impossible. This is because all it takes is another thought along the lines of ‘more / better / less / different needed’ and we are plunged back into the needing and wanting.

And often what happens when we see this is that  motivation, logically, falls through the floor. Well if it’s not going to make me happy then what’s the point? If it’s not going to stop me worrying then why would I bother? If I don’t need to prove myself, then… We stop. Everything we thought we were doing out of a need to validate ourselves or impress or create security or do what we thought was expected of us loses all value.

At this point we have a foundation of clarity. We are living closer to reality. We see the madness of trying to change a world made of thought in order that our thoughts be more peaceful. We realise that thoughts and feelings come and go, that we, as awareness of it all, are secure and fine exactly as we are.

And we could stay here in this peaceful soup of ours (nb not pea soup. That’s a whole other thing). My dear friend and colleague Liz Scott described this as the warm bath. We know our thoughts create our reality so we can just stay here peaceful, warm, cozy, soft, in love with the world, not needing ever to do anything.

The noise of our thinking dissipates. Our mind becomes very very quiet.

And in that quiet, we can hear the eternal sound of life. It gently cups its hands around our ear and says…

‘Why are you just sitting there?

Get up. Come on. There is stuff to do.’

Life is very direct you see. It knows how extraordinary it is. It knows that every detail, every colour and taste and texture, every mountain and valley appears and disappears. It knows there is nothing there and that this nothing is everything. It knows this is all one crazy dream and this gives it the lightness and ease of full expression. Life is hungry. It wants dessert before the main course. It is a dream kid in a dream fairground. It wants to explore and find out. It wants to play. It wants to see itself reflected in every rain shower, every water fall, every teardrop. It has things to say, stuff to do, countries and books and ideas to investigate. It is here to witness itself in conversation, laughter, passion, love. To admire its spectacular form in the full length mirror. This is its chance. Thanks to you, life has a body and senses and the marvellous, beguiling illusion of a separate self in a separate world. It is not going to pass up the chance.

It has no time for the nonsense of pretending you are somehow less than the extraordinarily magnificent life force that you really are. It can’t be bothered with the illusion that you are separate from life living itself. It rolls its eyes at the idea that you are limited or vulnerable. Life can bring you into reality. In the full power of awareness and intelligence. Right now. There is stuff to do.

Some of these instructions from life are a no-brainer. We simply find ourselves drinking a glass of water or climbing into bed or waking up or saying the words or moving to a country that is perfect.

Some of it may just seem immediately like the coolest thing in the world. This is the ‘hell yeah’ that Steve Chandler describes. It is different for all of us. It comes with an ‘obviously!’ or a ‘shit, who wouldn’t?’ A whole mind and body moving towards that which makes the simplest, most beautiful sense, knowing that none of it means anything.

Some of it though is an idea that directly challenges the beliefs we had thought we had seen through but hadn’t. An idea to do a talk or write a paper or call someone might be terrifying. A whisper to apologise to a friend may challenge our pride so much as to seem impossible. A thought to travel beyond our comfort zone or exhibit our paintings or express our love for someone might shake us to the core. A prompt to take a stand for what we believe might seem dangerous.

Once life has spoken though, the only thing in its way is what we are thinking about ourselves or the world or other people at any one moment. And we’ve seen through all that remember? Remember that beautiful pea soup?

Understanding who we are, there is nothing that can ever prevent us doing what we are doing.

The music comes on and the three year olds start dancing. Jumping and twirling and laughing and bouncing and falling around. They can’t help it. Because music is playing.

Aliveness is who you are and you are simply being invited to see that more clearly. 

Say yes to life. Yes to being nothing but life. Yes to being.

It only has this one chance in that dream of the beautiful, able, miraculous body of yours, with those unique gifts of yours, that way of talking or listening or laughing or singing or writing or leading or creating or moving that only you have.

Its moment is here.

The music is playing….


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