HIde-and-seek: the universal game where getting lost is only half the fun.
Recently, my almost four-years old wanted to play hide-and-seek and of course, I obliged. We spent some time in the backyard, taking turns between counting to ten and finding good hiding places. Listening to his infectious laugh when he was either hiding or trying to find me was so adorable! The beauty of playing this game with a toddler is that there is no discretion on what constitutes a good hiding place. Anything would do, even if half your body is exposed. And then, his laugh is so loud that even if he found the perfect camouflage, the giggles would give him away. To make it even cuter, if I asked “where could Leo be?” he would scream “here!” The innocence of children!
The importance of hide-and-seek is that is teaches kids the concept of object permanence. When they first discover the game, babies think that when they put their hands or a blanket over their eyes, things stop existing. By their toddler years, they learn that things or people still exist even when they cannot see them.
But I am not a teacher or a psychologist. I am not as concerned with this game’s developmental advantages other than those that interest me as a mother. However, yesterday in the midst of my son’s giggles and us practicing counting numbers and seeing how fast I could find a spot to hide I realize there is a big lesson for my spirit in this game.
Lately, the intention of my meditations has been concentrated towards connecting with my intuition. I have recently realized that when I stop paying attention to it, anxiety plants a flag in the cavernous terrain of my fears and insecurities. On the other hand, when I am alert to the predicaments of my intuition, I can maintain a very stable, peaceful state of mind. Consequently, instead of trying to pursue peace, I am concentrating my efforts on cultivating my intuition. It has proven to be a more efficient, holistic and reliable source of calmness.
The other day, while seeing the way my son enjoyed our game, I realized how intuition is a soulful version of hide-and-seek.
Intuition is seeking
Intuition asks us to seek deliberately, to have our eyes, ears, nose, mind and heart open. We may know what or who we are looking for, but the truth is that the reward is not only in what we find, but how we approach the quest. The fun starts in the hunt, and the reason is that we just don’t stumble into things, we search for them. In the game as in its spiritual counterpart, we have to own and want to participate in the quest. People assume that intuition is some kind of divine information that comes to some chosen, privileged souls. But intuition is not given, is achieved by willingly embarking in the game.
Intuition is taking action
When playing hide-and-seek, one of the players closes her eyes while counting aloud to give enough time to the other players to hide. Although I did not grow up with that tradition, I love when the seeker screams “ready or not, here i come.” What a powerful command! If we were to scream that to the universe, wouldn’t it make us feel powerful? Wouldn’t it make us feel as though we own the quest? This seems–to me–the best way to prepare for the search.
Intuition is patience
Intuition is also like the little kid hiding and waiting to be found. The thrill is knowing someone is looking for us. That is what makes a toddler giggle. It is knowing that even when we hide, the universe will find its way to us. Opportunities will come, and so will love and friendship and fulfillment. We don’t know how long it will take. It all depends on how well we have managed to hide.
Intuition is trust
Intuition is the ultimate trial of trust. In the same way we are not sure where our playmates are but we are certain they are still part of the game, intuition implies a certainty that we will find something, that there are tons of information in the universe willing to come to our open arms (or eyes, ears, and hopefully hearts). We don’t know where our knowledge comes from, but we trust it is real. It is knowing with certainty that whatever is hidden still exists even when we cannot see it at the moment or does not seem entirely rational. Intuition only thrives when we give it a safe environment to develop, and the seed of that is trust.
Intuition is playful
As little kids in the playground, we need to remain open and curious in order to develop our intuition. When we take our intuition too seriously, our minds take over, bringing out our darkest fears. As profound as it seems, to be completely in tune with our most intuitive nature requires us to be light and fun, to giggle, to be free, to see life like a game rather than a strategy session. As we start doing better at that thing called “adulting,” we become more rigid and serious. In fact, we become so boring that intuition runs away from us in search of more entertaining partners.
Intuition is a great GPS
When we embark on the search of our fellow playmates during a hide-and-seek game, we don’t know exactly where to look, unless your playmate is a toddler that loves the predictability of a repeat hideout, that is. Most of the time, we have to follow our inner voice while we search in different places. Sometimes, we do not succeed in our first attempt. If that is the case, just like a GPS, we need to recalculate our route to search somewhere else, but unlike a GPS, the whole point of the game is that we don’t know what our final destination is. Intuition is like the bread crumbs that guide us to enlightenment and to the ultimate attainment of our inner voice, even when the route can take infinite detours.
Intuition brings enlightenment
Maybe, a more accurate name for my son’s favorite game should be “Hide-and-seek-and-you-will-find.” The game is over when we find who (or what) we are looking for. Equally, intuition relays on its findings, most of those getting us closer to enlightenment. By paying attention to our inner voice we take the express route to the small and big answers, to the ones that open our hearts, the ones that take us down new paths and strayed us from the ones that are not meant for us. Intuition is like having an inner voice that tells us where everyone is hiding.We just need to quite the noise so that we can listen to it.
So, if intuition is like a game, why do we stop playing?
As my son and I recently explored the limited amount of hidden places in our backyard, I realized that what made the game really fun is that I was playing with him. It did not matter if we bent the rules, if he skipped a number here and there, if he wanted me to always hide in the same place. Being present and fully aware was what made it such a special moment. An in the middle of our game, hidden behind a playhouse where I could’t even fit, a knowledge hit me as lighting. I heard the inner voice.
“Keep playing, keep looking, hold your place and you will be found.”
And I giggled as a three year old and looked at the cutest boy come up to me and I thought how lucky I was. There are tons of things and pieces of wisdoms that still remained hidden, but there was no doubt in my mind that with intuition as my north, as the bow to my boat, I will find them. So, universe, ready or not, here I come…