Most people are so mesmerized by what they think is happening outside of themselves that they fail to notice that their actual experience of being alive is one which exists strictly within their consciousness. They struggle and strive to control the outside world rather than opting instead to study their psychological reactions to the input they get. It is much easier to re-direct our own internal thinking than it is to get the outside world to cooperate with our wishes or demands.
This is another blog that I would have put in my Top Three had it not made it on to this list, but by number six we’re into blogs that were each progressively much more popular than the one before it. This one is another very practical exercise in how to reconsider everyday life from another perspective.
For those that engage in the exercise earnestly, they will always experience a useful result because the exercise merely helps us to stay conscious of the very decisions we’re otherwise making foolishly and subconsciously. Once we can actually see this steering wheel we immediately start hitting fewer things.
Your day is made of Moments. This winning Blog is all about how to see each Moment as an opportunity to create a warm, connected, worthwhile life. To that very end, Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you this year’s 6th Most Popular Blog:
Imagine that you wake up each morning with two quivers strapped to your back, one filled with Red Balls and one filled with Green Balls. Every single Moment you offer the world a ball. Green Balls say—come toward me and connect. Green Balls emit confident, quiet, patient, courageous, love and support. Red Balls say; move away from me. Red Balls are all about isolation, judgment, pretension, impatience, anger, sadness, disappointment and negativity. Here’s how it plays out in a day:
You wake up and you start criticizing your weight or your looks or your diet or what you did last night. Criticism is criticism, and those are definitely Red Balls. Then you start yelling at your kids for the same things you yell at them for every day. More Red Balls. Kids are kids. Not recognizing much responsibility outside of themselves, they tend to not comprehend the value of some behaviours. Besides, if you yell every day and they always act the same way, then you’re just teaching them to yell. 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, because you could have been enjoying a drive filled with Green Balls just by noticing the music on the stereo, or a view out a window, or drivers who were polite. And if you’re walking through the parkade and you don’t smile at someone you pass, then that’s a Red Ball too—because if you would have looked up and smiled, that would have been a Green Ball. So the opposite of what is possible is where you place yourself through inaction. Likewise, telling your 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.
You and your spouse always argue over the same things. You hand Red Balls back and forth and then wonder why you don’t enjoy each others company. Yes, it is entirely reasonable that a grown man could pick his clothes up off the floor. It is also entirely reasonable that a woman can be very good at driving and parallel parking. But if that doesn’t happen to be true in your home, why not do as the Buddhist’s suggest, and just Accept that and stop handing them Red Balls over it? Instead of throwing Red Balls, just pick up the socks yourself, or use your power of self control to sit in the passenger seat silently. Then you’d have a Green Ball experience for being helpful or respectful, rather than a Red Ball for being negative or critical.
When you say “I had a bad day” what you mean is that you received and emitted a great deal of Red Balls. Likewise, a “good day” is when you gave and got a lot of Green Balls. To keep you in balance, the universe will always replace any ball you emit. So if you give out all Green Balls, the universe will tend to see you get more Green Balls. But other people may load you 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 you’re in a big stream of Green Balls, sometimes Red, and sometimes it’s salt-and-peppered with both. The only thing you control is what colour you give out, and that’s very important for two reasons:
Firstly, if you give a Green Ball away, you now have room to collect another Green Ball. So the behaviour sets you up to be able to grab more joy and success in life. Secondly, precisely because of the first reason, people tend to congregate based on the frequency with which you emit Red or Green Balls. They simply make it easier for themselves to get the colour you’re low on. So people who give out a lot of Red Balls will attract a lot of other people who also give out —and therefore need—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 they exist in a world that self-supports their views.
Remember, if you give out a lot of Red Balls then you have more room to collect them too. So giving them means getting them, which means you will believe the world deserves your Red Balls because that’s all it gives you. Do you see how it feeds back on itself? But the wise person knows that anyone can give Green Balls, and so even in the face of getting mostly Reds, they’ll give back Greens and thereby maintain their attractiveness to other Green Ballers—who in turn make it easier for the more positive person to continue with their belief that the world is a good place.
No matter what the world is doing around you, focus on giving out as many Green Balls as possible every day. Actually become Conscious of what colour ball you’re giving yourself, someone else, or the world—because really those are all one thing anyway and that really really matters.
Start today. Ask yourself after each encounter which colour you gave out, and know that you’ve created more room for that within yourself. Become Conscious. This is the route to your salvation. You must become responsible for your portion of the universe. You must learn that the source of happiness is your own Being. Be Happiness itself. Be a source of Green Balls as much as you’re able and that’s as good as life can get.
You’ll be fine. Reading this is good for you, so this activity was already a Green Ball. Plus I’m going to remind you I love you—there’s another Green Ball. See? It’s that easy. Now go Green Ball your life away. 😉
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.