My wife gets infuriated with me when I say, ‘Humans, aren’t they the species that nailed a fella to a tree for saying, ‘Hey folks, wouldn’t it be nice to be nice to each other?’ ‘. I think it first heard it on Monty Python back in the day, but it has stuck with me. I find myself saying it a lot.
As humans we have the most amazing gifts and so many of us do not use them, properly. Imagination, perception, will, memory, reason and intuition, to name a few.
What I saw the other day positively blew me away. I help out in a local children’s home from time to time. These are children that have seen too much of life and have generally developed unique strategies to deal with all that life has thrown them. Their behaviour can be challenging.
Harry and Sam (names changed) were in the living room, Harry was playing quietly, and Sam was watching TV. A comment passed from Sam and Harry got up, turned the off the TV, lobbed the remote and left the room. Sam sat quietly for a minute whilst I looked to support him to keep calm and manage his emotions. Without warning he got up and smashed Harry’s carefully carved pumpkin. Another member of staff was outside and had strong words with Sam about his behaviour. Sam, picked up his own pumpkin and promptly smashed that one as well. ‘There, that’s alright now’, he said. We all know the cliché.
It was at this point that Harry reappeared, saw what had happened and went and hid behind a nearby wall. Everything had happened in no more than a minute and all of a sudden there was silence. No one knew what to do or say and stood there almost frozen in time, until Harry came back.
What happened next blew me away!
Harry bent down to the floor and started to try and reassemble Sam’s pumpkin.
Yes, you read that right, Harry bent down to the floor and started to try and reassemble Sam’s pumpkin.
Not his own, Sam’s. Sam, the perceived wrongdoer. He never looked at his own for one minute. I don’t know another person that would have done that. I wouldn’t have done that. Would you?
There was a moment of disbelief. Obviously there had to be a follow up to the event and it wasn’t until we were all siting down later and I said to the other staffers, ‘do you realise what we have just seen?’ that the sheer magnitude of what had just happened began to sink in.
Of the four shamanic principles I follow, the last two are in clear evidence here. ‘Look for the learning’, and ‘Let the children play’.
Usually, children don’t have the nurtured preconceptions we learn as we grow older. They don’t know that they can’t do things until we tell them so. If you watch children playing, whatever they can imagine, is possible. There is no conditioning, ‘if you do that, I won’t love you’. They don’t tend to make decisions about anything with small segments of information and then act on them like they are truths. They deal with now and act on that. I’m hungry, feed me. I’m cold give me a jumper. I want to play, play with me now.
In many ways they act very similarly to all the animals that we share our world with.
It is not until we are older that we learn to use the gifts that as humans we have and that separate us from all of the animal kingdom. Where we gain a real notion of self and our place in space and time. If we are careful and learn to observe and respond we can use these gifts to our greater good and the good of those we share our lives with. However, often we choose to use these gifts to catastrophise and put ourselves into the centre of our world and become on whatever level, selfish.
Harry is no way a saint and he has many difficulties to address, but on that day at that moment he demonstrated a behaviour that is very much a part of him and needs to be encouraged. If it is innate in Harry, then its innate in all of us and needs to be searched for.
What’s the learning here? When Harry put Sam first, there was a stunned silence and real peace. That should be the norm! Imagine if everybody could do that on a local, or even a global scale. We all talk about it, but I have never seen it so clearly exampled as at that moment on that day. We all have it in us.
Smashing pumpkins could change the world!