Over the past weekend, I was staying at the house of Happy Cow's very wonderful Channel of Love who has two daughters. Her youngest daughter is called Ruby and she is aged 7 at the time I write this.
I had not seen the two for a little while and so when I did, I asked them the question which usually makes them look at me as though I am crazy. The eldest Hannah has even been known to tell me that it is a stupid question to ask to children, who are still far too busy living life to answer daft questions about it.
Anyway, I pressed on and asked, "How's life?"
Wisdom was smiling down on us that day and Ruby came out with a wonderfully memorable answer.
"Life is wobbly," she said.
"Oh, yes?" I responded with a smile. "How do you mean?"
"It is wobbly. Sometimes good, sometimes bad," she said nonchalantly.
Brilliant! All the effortless serenity of a Zen Master at 7 years old. Once again I was reminded of young children's capacity help us adults remember perfectly simple forgotten truth.
Like the surface of the sea, what most people refer to as 'every day life' is wobbly. Always has been. Always will be. Trying to make everyday life un-wobbly is as futile as trying to make it always day or always summer, as futile as King Canute trying to stop the tide coming in, as futile as taking a steam iron to the top of that wobbly ocean.
Imagine that you are riding one of the ocean waves. You will feel all the ups and downs of everyday life. The highs, the lows, pleasure, pain, what Ruby referred to as 'good' and 'bad'. One cannot have the peak of a wave without the trough.
However, riding a wave is just one possible, very limited perspective. Imagine instead that you are in the vast deep of the ocean. Totally calm and free from waves. You can look up and see that the waves are there, but they do not affect you. A shallow perspective feels tumultuous and chaotic. A more profound one is peaceful and calm, despite life still being wobbly on the surface.
Or imagine a perspective far above the ocean, up towards space looking down. What seem on the surface to be huge waves become smaller and smaller. The deep blue of the ocean becomes more apparent. The higher one gets, the more calm and peaceful things look. Remember images of the wonderful blue / green Earth from space. Where are the waves now? This is another possible perspective. Taking in the big picture.
Human endeavour is often, if not almost always, an attempt to stop life from being wobbly. What Ruby said reminded me that this is totally futile. Life is wobbly. It is wobbly I tell you, wobbly! We can't do anything about that! Trying to do so will be an endless cycle of frustration. L I F E I S W O B B L Y !
What we can do when we stop trying to iron out the top of the sea is to shift perspective to one where the ups and downs continue, but where we cannot be shaken by them.
"The person old in his days will not hesitate to ask a child .. about the place of life, and he will live."
Jesus (Gnostic Gospel of St Thomas)
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