Shell Game: How Do You Play?

I was recently inspired by the similarity between a shell game, the mind and consciousness as I reflected on life. Moreover I asked myself whether I was the shell (cup, walnut, bottle cap) or was I the ball that remained hidden throughout the game. I realized that ultimately we are both but let us reflect on our conscious state of being by using this game as a reference.


The idea intrigued me and I considered how conscious awareness or lack of it can influence each and every experience. The mind can overshadow object consciousness and this is comparable to a ball concealed by a shell.
The ball has limited space to roll and furthermore its very existence seems predetermined by the barriers of the container.

What are you? Most people will consider this question philosophically. Additionally many people will compare themselves to the ball under that shell that is never given a true opportunity to move freely. The mind insists that we define existence based on an interpretation of any given situation according to conditioned behavioral reactions.

This has literally perpetuated an existence that can be considered as a shell game between the mind and object consciousness. The mind appears to be the operator when considered at first glance. It controls a course of action established by random circumstances. This, at least, is what the mind has conditioned us to think and believe.

Observe the Shell Game Consciously

However there is usually a sleight of hand occurring during any interaction with ourselves and other objects. This deception will be undetectable to an unconscious life-form and even consider being an acceptable reaction. What happens when we are able to project our sense of being beyond the limitations of mind and even object consciousness?

Here, in the same fashion as a shell game, a person can experience a moment of deeper awareness. This could be compared to the observer that realizes the ball (object consciousness) is hidden within the details of the mind. There, within that moment of enlightenment, universal consciousness finds the ball and realizes that it has discovered its true self.

We can say it in this way. Every moment is based on the totality. The key to conscious expansion lies in our awareness to presence. Will you continue to allow the shell game operator (mind) to orchestrate an existence of uncertainty and anxiety? Or will you become the observer that has awakened consciously and is experiencing itself in everything? The choice is obvious.

Best wishes

“What you discover about life’s shell game is that it’s hardest to follow the pea when you are the pea.”
– Robert Brault


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