In my Spiritual studies, I find the reoccurring themes of feeling real joy, being present, tap into your creativity etc. What I have found that a lot of qualities that I have lost, were all in me once, and are here now…I just need to dig them out. I think rediscovering your inner childlike qualities can really help on the path of Enlightenment.
Don’t believe me? Let’s just observe the behavior of these free creatures shall we?
I’m going to just make four points but really the list is endless.
1) Kids know how to have FUN!
They know how to let loose and forget about their troubles. Have you ever seen kids playing in the pits of colorful balls? Or maybe running around in the sprinkler? Have you ever been around kids you are indifferent too, until you hear their squeals of delight and happiness and find yourself smiling and being filled with joy? Kids have a way of tapping into the pure essence of happiness and joy like nobody else.
This became apparent to me after a long day of shopping. My friend and I were looking for something (can’t remember what) and had taken her little niece with us. Poor thing was tired and totally over the shopping excursion and was dragging behind. We decided to take her to the toy floor of Neiman Marcus. It was around Christmas time and the whole floor was FILLED with plush toys. It was awe inspiring. White teddy bears 5 ft tall, rocking horses with glittering tinsel drapped around their necks, Beanie Babies everywhere and baby dolls of every fashion. My awe was broken by the clapping, squealing and SHEER delight from my friends niece. She ran into the wonderland giggling, bouncing and making the most delightful noises. I couldn’t believe how she completely had gone to another plane and was no longer with us. She was in a Utopia and I remembered being her age and being in that same state. From that moment on I knew I had to one day get back to being able to reach that state of pure, true joy.
What helps children reach this state on my list as #2
I find many adults admire this quality about children. If you smell bad they’ll tell you that you stink! If they are upset there is no question about it, they will show you. If they have to go to the bathroom, well, they’ll go, right in the middle of a crowed room and be proud of it. Now, I’m not suggesting we as adults should actually go back and do such things. I am suggesting that the inhibition that is needed to do these things is worth tapping back into. A lot of us have dreams and aspirations and the main thing keeping us from those things is FEAR! It’s the Fearlessness that is going to be the thing that separates you from your fears. Try getting rid of the ability to be so embarrassed all the time. Don’t worry about looking a fool and just go after what you want!
Which leads me right into the third characteristic I admire about children…
Children don’t look left or look right. They just go full steam ahead. Tell them to put on a play for you. Doesn’t even matter if they have never even SEEN a play. They will stand tall recite some made up lines (that may or may not make sense) and not once second guess themselves. Kids don’t speak in a whisper, they practically yell! Never thinking, “what if I don’t sound smart enough?” or “will people not like me?”. I think there is a lesson there. I now find myself in meetings where no one speaks ups when the floor is opened. I know I sit staring at my hands…ideas swarming around in my head…but what will everyone think? I find myself speaking almost inaudibly if I’m unsure of something. What is that about? Let’s forget we were ever taught to think we can’t do it all. Tie a sheet to your back, jump off of the side of a couch like you are Super (Wo)Man and start speaking up!
Lastly, and most profoundly is point #4
4) Being Present
Children live in the Present. They are not usually worried about what happened yesterday, definitely don’t have their brains all occupied with what is going to happen tomorrow or perfecting their 5 to 10 year plan. They are brand new in every moment, well, until they learn otherwise, that is, until we teach them otherwise. A child can be calmly playing with a toy completely content and happy with life. Take the toy away and immediately they are upset showing it, completely in the moment of sadness or anger. Give the toy back, the tears turn reduce into sniffles and soon there is happiness once again. The child is no longer thinking of how upset he or she just was over the toy being taken away and certainly by the next day, the child is not holding onto the grudge of that incident happening for sure. Being Present for me is the hardest thing as an adult. While it is fine and nice to not dwell on the past of the future, I feel I have to in order to calculate how I should be living my Present moment. However, as I expand my Spiritual studies everything tells me that really NOW is all we have and all we control and if we live in that place the past and future take care of themselves. So here is to trusting, having faith and living in the moment.
Lucky for us we live among great gurus of how to be more childlike. Take time out and observe the these wonderful teachers we know as our very own youth.
“If you must hold yourself up to your children as an object lesson, hold yourself up as a warning and not as an example.” – George Bernard Shaw
Alas, regardless of their doom, the little victims play! No sense have they of ills to come nor care beyond today. - Thomas Gray
How will you tap into your inner child-like qualities today?
What did I miss? What do our youth know, that we adults seem to forget?