Morning stretched itself awake as I made my way down to the shore and joined the handful of early risers. Lazy edges of waves lapped gently over my feet and I scrunched my toes in warm sand. Good time to build a sand castle. It was modestly done mostly for relaxation and meditation. Not a thing anyone would pause to admire. After I finished the basic shape, I began to decorate the form with shells. A boy about eight years of age walked up and began to kick at the castle. I wondered what was in his mind for him to do such a thing?
What happened next, happened quickly. I held out my hand filled with shells and said, 'Here, help me put these on.' He stopped kicking, looked at me for several seconds, then took the shells and began to place them on the castle. We decorated in comfortable silence. I'm out of shells,' he said after several minutes. 'Get more,' I replied. He did, giving some to me. After a while, another little boy came along and started to kick the castle. My little boy started to fight him. I said, 'Give him some shells.' The new boy worked with us for a couple of minutes, then left.
When the entire exterior was covered in shells and shell fragments, we stepped back to look at our work. 'We did a good job,' I said, 'Thank you.' He looked at me, looked at the castle, said it was time for him to go and he left. I watched for a while as he walked away and wondered how long our sand castle would remain in tact, then I left for the day. Early the next morning, I went down to the site. The shell-adorned castle, remarkably, had been allowed to just be. It was evident that only nature had touched it with its tide.
Thoughts about this moment in time with the little boy wove in and out of my consciousness that day. He must have been surprised when I didn't yell at him to stop his kicking, or take even more aggressive action towards him. It certainly surprised me when I felt inspired to suggest he help. Yes, I extended my hand to him, but he chose to invest his time and energy into his ornamental efforts and then felt a need to protect the creation when someone sought to destroy it. He had put some part of himself into the project. I realized that perhaps for human consciousness, Investment equals Connection. I realized how different life might be if we assumed our connection first. Investment in each other and our world would be automatic.
As I gave this moment on the beach even more consideration, I thought that if we don't feel or perceive our connection to something or someone, it's easy to either not care about it or them, or to destroy without thought or awareness. I do accept what physics reveals to us: All in existence is comprised of the same energy that is everywhere in the universe. The only separation is, ultimately, in our minds. Quantum physics reveals that after we peel away all layers of manifestation, absolutely nothing is there. Nothing but the consciousness in all things - our shared consciousness, I would add - and the potential for manifestation. Whether we call that consciousness the Creator or we call it Pudding doesn't matter. It's real. It's who we are. We just haven't fully understood that yet.
From time to time, I wonder if that moment is one the boy remembers - if it had any influence in his life. He should be a young adult now. That moment is still a golden thread in my life's tapestry. It was a lovely, peaceful solution. I realize still, that when someone gives me a challenge, if appropriate, I give them some 'shells.' If I and others, practice peaceful solutions with smaller problems, we may one day seek to find peaceful ways to deal with the really big ones.