Have you ever wondered why Jesus would say something like, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Well, first of all what he meant by kingdom of heaven is a whole separate topic of its own because the non-fundamentalist viewpoint might be that he is referring to personal awakening here and now. But let’s just focus on the part about children.
What can we glean from these attributes of younger children?
- They don’t over-analyze everything
- They are highly imaginative, creative
- They don’t consider risk and just go for it
- They are fully open to the mysteries of life
- They don’t self-censor and simply speak their own truth
- They don’t worry about the big issues beyond their world
- They try all kinds of things because they don’t know “the right way”
- They base everything on direct experience, not on built-up narratives
- They are constantly asking questions about everything, absorbing everything like a sponge
- They not thinking about what people think about them or even know that they “should” feel embarrassed
In a word, they are limitless within. They do not constrain themselves; they see no limitations. In the eyes of a child, everything is possible. Let’s dig a little deeper. What tends to develop in our psyche as we grow up? Society, family, friends, and our environment begin to condition us. We develop identities, a sense of self, an ego. We begin to perceive differences and start to polarize. We accumulate knowledge and develop opinions. We develop a self-narrative and our own sticky stories, and then are bounded by them. We give up the wonder and the mystery in exchange for materialism.
So, the invitation here is to let go of this adult baggage and return to the unincumbered state of being. It’s that state where everything is always fresh, and we show up with curiosity instead of pre-conceived notions. It’s that state where we feel connected to everything, rather than separated and isolated. It’s that state where our sense of identification is cosmic, rather than personal. It’s that state where there is an inherent sense of completeness and wholeness, rather than inadequacy or dependency on acceptance. It’s that state of unconditional love.
It might feel like we are giving up who we are, but ironically, all our baggage is keeping us from being our true selves. We are not our baggage, and that’s the biggest revelation any of us could realize. We simply have to practice setting all of that aside, bit by bit. As we do, living feels lighter and freer. Less judgement brings less worry and suffering and more acceptance. Life’s twists and turns take on tangible flavors that we begin to see with a lens of curiosity instead of disdain. We stop wasting our life energy on maintaining the persona. We live less in the past or future and meet this moment now. Our perspective begins to shift from distortion borne of conditioning to that of pure awareness. For the second time in our lives, we return to living truly.
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