Mental Matriculation

School is about convincing the student that he’s competent in the subject-matter. If you look too closely, you’ll notice the odd lack of practical details in classes. You’ll also notice the rigmarole involved, the ceremony of it all — more so than substance, you’ll witness pomp and circumstance. This is no oversight or incompetence, specifics are always fuzzy. As in all dreams, it’s a matter of seeing and believing yourself portraying the particular role.

You think you’re an X, then you’re right. We become what we believe. School is one of the mechanisms to assign whatever label we accept. We go through the gate marked X and come out the other side believing ourselves such. But if we stare too long, the mirage appears too transparent, the fantasy isn’t convincing. This realization of unreality can lead to angst. There are two paths to dissolving the discomfort: stop staring or appreciate the illusion.

For example, if we endlessly dissect a movie’s plot we’ll fail to get lost in the story. We can either stop this vivisection and focus on the action or we can enjoy the process of observation and critique. To lose ourselves we must repeatedly imagine the life we want to live, painting the outcomes we desire within our thoughts. And to enjoy the process of observation, we must stand back and see fiction, appreciating the fantasy before us.

How do you play pretend? You visualize the scene and act it out. Without the overlay of imagery, the cardboard-box cannot become a castle, the boy cannot become a king. Within a world of dreams, pretend is what sets the stage. And to realize this dream-like nature is to have even more control — at anytime, we can step back and enjoy the spectacle in an entertaining way. With this understanding, nightmares can be transformed, life becomes lucid.

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