Mind, values, creativity

Imagine that you have been on a small deserted island for TWENTY years with only meager amounts of food from the few fruit trees in the jungle. You will NEVER be rescued.

Your years have passed without the slightest signs of civilization-even your clothing long ago wore to threads. All you have is what an ape in the wilds would have. You have no artifacts whatsoever-no paper, pen, bottle, book, photographs, nothing. Nothing has floated up on the beach.

The island has no resources whatsoever except for fruit and rainwater and warm temperatures. You have fashioned a small hut and coconut shell cups, and you have discovered how to make a hat of leaves, and that’s about it. There’s really no need for anything elaborate. Even your dreams are built of faded memories of civilization. Like remembering your childhood, lots of dreams just are not filled in with “things”.

The years have taken their toll upon you. You went though the Robinson Caruso stage, the hopeful stage, the fear stage, the “nutzoid” stage, and finally, you have given up completely. You do not even think much about rescue now; your pile of driftwood to which you planned to set fire to if a ship is seen on the horizon is overgrown with jungle plants now. Your days are spent simply. You really have given up and surrendered to your fate.

Now, imagine yourself on the beach gazing outwards and noticing something glinting on the waves nearby. SOMETHING is out there that is not natural, but instead is almost certainly something made by a human being. It is SOMETHING!

Luck is with you, the current will bring the object close enough for you to easily swim out to get it. You dive into the waters and swim out towards it. You lose sight of it as the waves obscure your view, but you see it often enough to keep your efforts targeted and finally you get to the object, and yes, yes, yes, it is indeed something manufactured by human beings.

You grab it and swim one-handedly back to shore. Your mind is flooded with thoughts about the object.

It is a ________________.

(If you haven’t already done so, decide what the object would be, and then continue reading.)

You are on the beach with the object. Take some time, dwell on this moment, and consider the following aspects of your perceptions and reactions to the object as you note: colors, shapes, edges, exquisitely precise/intricate workmanship, origin of materials, imagined steps of manufacturing, kinds of persons who would use it, how it might have ended up in the ocean, the typical emotions associated with its use, words and numbers on it, its heft, its texture, its smells, the importance it once may have had in your life -the memories you have of this kind of thing, the emotions you have felt in situations where this object was somehow more foreground than background, its overall aesthetic impact, and what you will now do with the object.

Ask yourself,What was the object that floated into my view? How did it feel when I realized that I would be required to decide upon the object’s identity? Before I knew I would have to choose, had I already speculated on what the author might decide the object would be? Did I choose that as my choice?

How do I ordinarily respond in daily life to a “call for creativity?”

Why was it so easy for me to put myself into this story? Do I sometimes feel like I am the only person in my world? How often do I feel lonely, separate, and/or isolated?

What feelings did I have while reading this story? Did a part of me LIKE the idea of solitude and simplicity? Did I touch upon a longing inside me for peace?

If not, why? If so, what can I do to support peace coming into my life?

Is the object I chose easily associated with any of these words: hope, despair, cynicism, comfort, usefulness, beauty, safety, and entertainment? What one word sums up my most noticeable feeling towards this object?

Is this object symbolic in any way of my present feelings about the world’s or God’s support for my welfare? Does it in any way sum up my feelings about my future, my problems, my issues, my destiny?

In that situation, how much impact would I expect an object to have on my nervous system? How much would it trigger the thoughts and feelings that I imagined having in the story? How much would it symbolize to me all that I had lost, all that the world once meant to me?

Is the world around me the contents of my mind? When I am looking around, am I seeing my thoughts? Does the input of all my senses always trigger me, or do I have a choice about the meaning of my experiences? Can I see something as only an area of different colors on my retina? Am I overwhelmed by the meaning of things?

When I gaze out into the night sky, are those stars my thoughts? Am I that “far out?”

As I place my attention on various things, is it just like I am on the beach with them? Am I triggering all the memories, feelings, and associations, but this set of reactions are blended with the impacts of all the other objects in my environment?

Is life a huge rush of thoughts that I am “forced to endure” and handle with the tool of my isolating attention? Do I use my attention for protection, control, or creating peace of mind by reducing the impact of everything else?

When I close my eyes, how much does that feel like an increase in “peace?”

Can I imagine always feeling peaceful even in the midst of dynamic activity?

If I had, for a single second of time, a moment when I had no thoughts, no feelings, no sensations, just me-being, would “peace” be a word for that?

During all my thinking, feeling, sensing, processing, reacting, can I still be me too?