Suspension of Disbelief

In the theatre we talk about “Suspension of Disbelief”. We literally suspend, or put on hold, our disbelief or skepticism. When wild, magical things happen in the theatre we don’t sit there saying, “oh that couldn’t possibly happen.” Instead, sometimes we allow ourselves to believe. For that one moment, or for the length of a play or a musical, we embrace what we are seeing. We are IN the moment. We are not living in our heads but rather allowing ourselves to believe, allowing our hearts and spirits to lead us. To believe. We are present in that moment.

So why not do some of that in everyday life? Why not suspend our disbelief on a more regular basis? To be in the moment, truly present and without judgment. Trusting and listening to our hearts. Allowing a thought or event or experience to just BE. It’s all about allowing and dreaming really. Rather than questioning how something is possible, why not allow ourselves to accept the extra-ordinary.

A vivid example of this can be seen in the opening number of The Lion King stage musical. When the show begins, a voice calls out, clouds lift and a sun, made of silk and string, rises. Two giraffes cross the stage – dancers on stilts wearing tall giraffe headdresses. The lyrics evoke the great “Circle of Life” and we are transported as the animals weave their way down the aisles. By the time the music swells and a gigantic elephant joins the others on stage, we are open. All disbelief is suspended. We believe.

I have witnessed people of all ages and cultures brought to tears during this opening number. Why do people cry? Is it the spirited South African vocals, the stunning visual images, the animals parading through the audience to the stage? I believe we cry because of a primal instinct, a desire that lives within all of us to BELIEVE and to let go; to allow ourselves to dream and imagine possibilities. It is an authentic human response.