First, I’ll tell you about the play.

At the Portland Living Wisdom School, the primary class (first, second and third grade) performed “Frog’s Dream”, a musical play set in the rainforest. I co-teach the class and my job was to sit on the sidelines and hit the play/pause button on the CD player at the right time.

The frog’s dream was to see the sky. The rainforest is crowded with trees and the frog lives down in the shady understory, longing to go up high to see the sun. Toucan can’t help because of a wounded wing. Frog encounters a variety of other animals and none of them can help her. Finally, frog puts aside her own desires and helps her friend Toucan. Toucan’s wing is fixed and then she is able to take frog up to the canopy to see the sun.

It was a cute play, with fun songs and great performances from the children. I enjoyed the show and enjoyed everyone else’s enjoyment. But as I watched, I became deeply involved in the unintentional symbolism of the story and the characters. In my mind, the frog was our highest aspirations – longing to experience the light of God-realization. The other characters took on meaning as other inner qualities.

There were the sloths – who expressed interest in the frog’s cause, but just couldn’t muster enough energy to do anything about it. There were the jaguars, who were perfectly happy being “cool, cool cats” on the jungle floor. They thought frog was crazy to want something different. The boa constrictors were only interested in their desire for the next meal and would do anything to get it; even pretend they wanted to help frog reach her goal.

The ants were caught up in their group mentality; they had no interest in frog’s dream. Two human explorers passed through, looking for the next great discovery (a city of chocolate) – they were too distracted to be of any help.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Frog is discouraged, but suddenly realizes she has done nothing but think of herself. She then changes her thinking and puts energy into finding help for toucan. When toucan is cured and can fly, she offers frog a way out of darkness, into the light above the dense growth of the rainforest. The story ends with the song telling us that “she never came back down”. My mind translates: When we expand our awareness beyond our little self and put out the right kind of energy, we can rise into the highest levels of consciousness.

It’s great fun to look at the world through the eyes of a devotee. Everything takes on a deeper and more powerful meaning, and can be a doorway to expanded awareness and inspiration. Yogananda says in one of his poems, “Thou has opened my eyes and now I find doors everywhere.”

But I have to admit that I was surprised to find that even a simple school performance led me through a doorway of inspiration. I wasn’t trying to lift my consciousness above the pleasant commotion of the evening – I just found myself immersed in the thought that I have often heard expressed but had never deeply appreciated: There is only one thing happening.

Just one thing – in all circumstances, in all places, in all hearts. Just the struggle to understand how to get out of the shadows and into the light.

Through Paramhansa Yogananda and his disciple, Swami Kriyananda, we have been given what we need to find the way.

With deepest gratitude and joy,


  1. Wonderful. I know many adults who’ve said they wish they’d gone to a Living Wisdom School when they were little. This is exactly why – the kids in Ananda’s schools grow up with a sense of meaning and life’s joyous possibilities. This is a huge gift to the children and the world. In the Palo Alto Living Wisdom School, the yearly all-school play is about an inspiring spiritual teacher – Moses, Buddha, Christ, Quan Yin, the Dalai Lama, etc. It’s amazingly inspiring – more than any movie I’ve ever seen. (See the Palo Alto LWS website for videos, slideshows, and stories about the plays: Thanks, Lorna, for the inspiration. Nice way to start my day.

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    Wow Lorna!
    You just gave me great Sunday Service fodder. And who gave it to you but the children. Just as christ and Master told us.

  3. What a wonderful play, I love the symbolism. It shows that we can find deeper meaning in many things, but we have to be of the mind set to see those deeper meanings. Thank you for sharing this with us. Many blessings, Nancy

  4. Beautiful…thank you for this sharing and most wonderful remembrance. What a beautiful environment for children and adults to flourish in! Thank you for providing yet another window, through which, people can glimpse the gift that the Living Wisdom schools and the children in them are sharing with our world. Namaskar.

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