Several years ago, while in college, I completed a semester abroad at the illustrious Cambridge University. With great naivety, I enrolled in a Shakespeare course. Within minutes of the first class, I knew I was lost. This was before cell phones, so I couldn’t instant message and ask for guidance.
After one class, I mustered up the courage and confess my despair to the professor. I didn’t mince words. I simply said, “I’m lost. I don’t understand what I’m reading or even what I hear in your lectures.”
The professor adjusted her glasses a bit lower on the bridge of her nose looked over them and said, “You’re trying too hard. Try going to one of the Shakespeare’s plays that children perform and just listen.”She went on to explain, “Children speak Shakespeare’s words as they were meant to be said- without interpretation and pageantry. They just say the words and when you hear them this way you will understand.”
Within days I found myself literally sitting on the lawn listening to children recite Shakespeare’s words. It was hard to believe these were some of the same words I had heard spoken in class and even read aloud to myself. And I did what my professor instructed, I just listened. And it was in this simplicity of the spoken word without fancy costumes or voice projection or even the slightest interpretation that I finally understood.
I share this story with you because I believe that when we sit in meditation or when we listen to the child’s violin solo or bask in the light of a piece of art this is when deep magic occurs.
If you spend much time around five-year-olds you know that when they come to grasp a concept or idea they will often say, “I see.” In other words, I understand. Children tend to interrupt us and that grates on the nerves, and we tell them to wait their turn, to raise their hand. However, I sometimes think they tend to interrupt not out of rudeness, but because they can see things so clearly and rush to share.
The interruptions that occur in daily life, rather they be minor stressor or major problems, are there to teach us something about ourselves. And when we approach these interruptions with childlike wonder we increase our chances of being in on the magic and we can clearly see.