Winner: 2013’s Blog of the Year #6
Imagine that you wake up each morning and strap two quivers onto your back, like an archer has for his arrows. One is filled with Red Balls and one filled with Green Balls. As we live, in each moment of our life, we offer the world either one colour or the other.
Green Balls say—come toward me and connect. Green Balls are confident, quiet, patient, courageous, empathetic, loving and supportive.
Red Balls say—move away from me. Red Balls are all about judgment, victimization, isolation, pretension, impatience, anger, sadness, disappointment and overall negativity.
Here’s how it plays out in a day: A person wakes up and starts criticizing their own weight, their appearance, their diet, or whatever they did last night. Criticism is criticism, and those are definitely all Red Balls that we exchanged with the part of the universe that is us.
Then we start yelling at our kids for the same things we yell at them for every day. The kids are a part of the universe too, so every bit of yelling is us giving out more Red Balls. But kids are kids. They rarely recognize the responsibility they have to themselves, let alone others, so they tend to not comprehend the value of some behaviours. Besides, if we yell at them every day and they always act the same way, then we’re not teaching them to behave, we’re just teaching them to yell. It’s all Red balls, Red Balls, Red Balls.
If you drive to work and are mad at all of the drivers on the road, that’s more Red Balls. And their Red Balls even if the other driver really is in the wrong. Because we did have the option to just ignore their bad driving and enjoy someone else’s Green Ball by finding a nice song or conversation on whatever we play our music and podcasts on.
The Red Balls that emerge because of our unmet expectations by other drivers mean that we are dumping negative karma into the world. To the contrary, we could use that same time to enjoy our drive by filling the car with Green Balls. We can do that just by noticing the music on the stereo, or a view out a window, or drivers who are polite and that do follow the rules.
Similarly, if we’re walking through the parkade and you don’t smile at someone we walk right past, then that’s a Red Ball too —because if we would have looked up and smiled, that would have been a Green Ball. Did you get that? The Red Ball exists as an opportunity cost on an wasted Green Ball. Skipping opportunities to be nice takes us backwards on the Red Ball Green Ball scale.
Likewise, telling our spouse about how they could improve is not a Green Ball just because it’s talking about their excellent potential. It’s a Red Ball because it’s stating that the way they are right now isn’t enough. That kind of Red Ball mistaken for Green Ball error can turn a marriage into a ping pong game of traded complaints.
That’s why people and their spouses generally always argue over the same things. It’s because we hand Red Balls back and forth and then wonder why we don’t enjoy each others company. If someone always starts every interaction by being late, then they start with that Red Ball by habit. But if we hand a Red Ball back reflexively, then we are trapping both of us in a battle of negativity.
Instead, we are better to accept any initial Red Balls (because they’re usually just leftovers from the headspace the person came to before being with us). By accepting them we retain our sense of balance. Then, we can use our Free Will to choose to make a switch. In short, if someone habitually gives us Red Balls in a certain situation, then a good strategy can be to immediately return a Green Ball, regardless.
Simple put, why not do as the Buddhist’s suggest? Why not just accept how a person begins, and then stop handing them another Red Balls over it? So if we Red Ball them by asking them to pick up their socks, and they Red Ball us back by saying ‘no,’ then we can Green Ball them by just picking up the socks ourselves. It is a legitimate Green Ball experience to choose to be helpful or respectful, rather than choosing a justified Red Ball experience by being negative or critical.
When we say ‘I had a bad day’ what we mean is that we received and emitted a great deal of Red Balls. Likewise, a good day is when we gave and got a lot of Green Balls. The thing is, over time the universe helps to keep us in balance. The universe will always replace any ball we emit. So if we give out all Green Balls, the universe will tend to see us get more Green Balls.
Despite that general rule, it’s true that, despite whatever Green Balling we do, other people may load us with an unusually large amount of Red Balls some days. That’s just the nature of life. The balls roil around like weather in a giant ball pit. Sometimes we’re in a big vein of Green Balls, sometimes we’re in a big current of Red Balls. And other times it’s salt-and-peppered with both.
The important thing is that we control is what colour we give out. And that’s very important for two reasons:
Firstly, if we give a Green Ball away we now have room to collect another Green Ball. So the behaviour sets us up to be able to grab more joy and success in life. It’s a wise thing to do.
Secondly, precisely because of the first reason, people tend to congregate based on the frequency with which others emit Red or Green Balls. If someone is a good source of one colour of ball, being near them makes it easier for us to get the colour we’re low on. And we do likewise for them.
What this all means is that, people who give out a lot of Red Balls will attract a lot of other people who also give out a lot of Red Balls. But so it is with Green Balls. Happy people flock together for the same reasons unhappy ones do —because then the world is supporting them in what they’re doing with their life.
Remember, if we give out a lot of Red Balls, we have more room to collect them too. So if giving them means getting them, that means we start to believe the world deserves our Red Balls because that’s all it seems to have to give us. Do you see how this reality system self-supports?
Using the same principle, the wise person knows that anyone can give Green Balls, and so even in the face of getting mostly Reds, they’ll still give back Greens. That maintains their magnetism and attractiveness to other people who prefer to give our Green Balls. So by giving out Green Balls, regardless of our circumstances, we in turn make it easier to get more Green Balls, which only serves to reinforce the Green Ball belief that the world is a good and generous place.
No matter what the world is doing around us, we a healthiest to focus on giving out as many Green Balls as possible, every day. It is best if we can become conscious about our moments of ball-giving. We should maintain a here-and-now presence about what colour of ball we’re giving ourselves when we’re alone, or which colour we’re giving to others when we’re with them. After all, our sense of which balls we give and receive are ultimately what forms our idea of whether or not the world is a good or bad place.
Considering how critical this act is to our appreciation of what the universe is, we are best to use this awareness as soon as possible. Starting today, we can ask ourselves during each encounter: which colour am I giving out in this situation? Because whatever we surrendered to the world —a Red or Green Ball— that’s what we’ve now created more room for within ourselves.
This act of exchange with the universe works best when it becomes conscious. That is the route to our salvation. We must become responsible for our portion of the universe and what balls are flowing within our sphere of influence. We all must learn that the source of our happiness is our own quality of being. To be happiness itself, we must be a consistent source of Green Balls, as much as we’re able.
Thank you for the Green Ball of respecting this piece of writing enough to read it. It’s contents are my Green Ball to you. So, see? We’re already off on the right foot! Plus, I’m going to remind you I love you —there’s another Green Ball. See? It’s that easy. Each moment a new ball. Now, begin your day. And let your next act set the tone. It is time to make room for, and to be more attractive to, more Green Balls. There’s no shortage of them. Go get your share. Enjoy. 😉
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.