When I was a little boy we often used to play my favorite game, Plain Sight.
A bunch of friends would gather in someone’s bedroom. We’d pick out a little item — something like Bruce’s special red marble — and everyone would leave the room except for one of us. A secret hiding place was chosen and we’d all come back and carefully search the room. Whoever found the marble was the winner. Pretty simple.
But there was one rule that made Plain Sight very challenging: the item had to be seen easily from somewhere in the room.
That marble was hidden in plain sight!
Does this sound easy? It’s not. Every little item and color and shadow and shape had to be carefully examined. It always surprised me how difficult it was to spot something in plain sight. The hiding place might be obvious and the marble shiny and bright, but it was still well hidden.
This game imparts an important message, one I need to remember: the most obvious is often overlooked. It was my favorite game … and this is my favorite message.
I love discoveries that reveal what I am missing. Puzzles intrigue me when something I couldn’t see before is suddenly revealed — maybe a parrot sitting in a bush. I cannot find the bird without inspecting every shadow, staring at every line and scrutinizing every little branch.
Oh, there it is! I was looking right at it.
When it comes to seeing what's in front of me, I've got a bad habit. Something big may change — I move, switch jobs, an acquaintance leaves — and then I realize I never really talked to someone who used to be in my life. I regret not making friends or learning more about what they knew. Or I spend my days worrying about my TTD (Things To Do) list and the little problems that arise. These are like that bush that hides the parrot.
Never again, I think. I have to pay attention to the reality that is here — a reality that I habitually ignore. I have to keep my heart open and see what's around me.
Listening to Maharaji always reminds me of that: that this search for the value in the present is not just an afternoon game, but a lifelong thirst.
The special item is not a big marble. It is the common thread running through all my days.
When I look at what I have — that is, carefully examine what I already have — then a simple truth becomes obvious. My priorities change radically. That which seems tiny and insignificant becomes obvious and essential.
My focus goes from all my puzzles and games to the one gift that is all-important: I am alive.
Maharaji's words help me acknowledge what it means to be alive. To feel that essential gift inside myself. Because he teaches me a practical and tactile way to feel that feeling, the change is not just intellectual or wishful.
I find a space below my thoughts that is empty and peaceful. I hold it and watch a feeling rush in, like seawater in sand.
Fullness. The presence of beauty.
Illustration by Sara Shaffer.