Children sometimes act in very enlightened ways. They remind us that life can be lived outside of concepts and planning. Follow them, and they’ll bring you straight into the lightness and ease of the present moment. Here are four spiritual lessons, coming right from the heart of children.
Children couldn’t care less about time. Play later? Hell no! They want to play now! This is more than impatience and stubbornness. Their relation to time is beautiful; the present moment is all there is. Fully immersed in the “now”, kids are completely absorbed by what they do. Whatever they experience becomes their reality. Their emotions, desires and moods fluctuate without notice. They are not concerned by the past, and don’t plan the future.
As adults, we tend to let the present moment pass them by. Our minds jump from the recollection of past experiences to the expectation of future ones. The child’s tip? “Stop thinking and start playing!”
2. Have no expectation
Kids have no use for expectations. They happily jump into new experiences with a free and open mind. They love the mystery of the unexpected. Everything is new to them. Their joyful eyes take interest in things we take for granted. They stop to observe an animal pass by and take time to look up to the stars at night. Walking in a forest, they constantly find new ways to be amazed.
Children witness the uniqueness and richness of everything because their minds are not overridden by concepts. They don’t impose their thoughts on reality. They are one with what’s in front of them.
3. Imagination creates reality
What children perceive is enormously malleable. In the blink of an eye, a small forest can become an epic landscape full of magic and fierce dragons.
Adults often like to think that they have “grown beyond” this stage. They might feel like they became in touch with how the world really is. Adults simply apply their imagination elsewhere. Instead of creating a world of wizards, fairies and fantasy, they create a world of obligations, enemies, stresses and rigidity. To them, the world of children is unreal. To children, the conventional world is utterly nonsensical.
Our perceptions are always tainted by our beliefs, emotions and thoughts. Our view of the world is inherently subjective. Humans only perceive what resonates with their inner state of being. Everyone lives in a unique world, the one they’ve created. How’s yours?
4. Creativity flows naturally
Have you ever met a child who lacked imagination? Unrestrained by preconceived ideas about the world, kids are immensely creativity. They effortlessly come up with unconventional ideas and original stories. They’re one with their intuition naturally think outside the box. The box hasn’t been built yet! The inner creative potential of children is readily accessible. It isn’t buried under concepts and judgement.
Children remind us that creativity flows naturally through us. It is effortless. Most adults have lost touch with their creative habit, they live through concepts.
Spiritual teachers often speak about seeing life through the eyes of children. This is more than cute talk. Humans are born unconditioned, and are then forged by their environment. Benefiting from the experience of the ones preceding them, children develop very fast. But they also have a lot to teach. Age doesn’t always translate to maturity, and even less to wisdom. Observe children, without judging them. Witness the insights that flow through their action. You will learn from them.