The Unbounded Spirit
“The soul is healed by being with children.” ~Fyodor Dostoevsky
We tend to think that children are in this world only to learn from adults, so that they will one day reach to adulthood and be well-adjusted to society. But we fail to see that adults also have many invaluable lessons to learn from children.
In fact, if adults were a bit more like children, their life would be completely different, in a very positive way.
Here are 5 great lessons a child can teach an adult:
Enjoy the present moment
The past is not here anymore, the future is not here yet. Only the present moment is, and we can live only in the present.
Most adults live a life that does not allow them to fully enjoy the present moment. Their mind is continuously focused on the future: what job they will get, how much money they will make, what kinds of possessions they will acquire, and so on. All their time and energy is directed towards the future, and they see the present only as a means to some future end. In this way they they forget to let go and enjoy the here and now–thus they are wasting their whole life.
Children, on the other hand, are fully focused on the present each and every moment, squeezing the juice out of life. They not concerned about the future, but are wholly absorbed in experiencing everything that life brings in their way.
Children are in most cases truthful in their behavior. When they feel happy, they jump, dance, or laugh. When they feel sad and uncomfortable, they scream or burst into tears. Whatever they feel, they express it, without caring about what others might think of them. In this way, no suppressed thoughts and emotions accumulate in their psyche, which is the reason why most children are care-free and relaxed.
Adults, however, tend to suppress themselves. They choose to hide their true thoughts and emotions, because this makes them feel exposed and insecure. They are continuously concerned about what other people would think of them, so they prefer to act “normal.”
If a man starts crying when he is sad, people might think he has a weak personality. If he dances when he is happy, people might think he has gone crazy. Afraid of this to happen, most adults choose to wear a social mask to hide their true self from others. But this is very energy consuming: they exert tremendous amounts of effort to keep themselves in this state of hypocrisy, which only helps them become neurotic and develop all sorts of psychological issues.
Playfulness is the very salt of life. It is what makes life worth living–without it, life becomes a drudgery, a burden, a slow torture.
When we were children, we found immense joy in playing. By playing, we felt fulfilled, pulsating with life. As we grew older, however, we stopped playing. Look around you and you’ll see that almost all adults have forgotten how to be playful–and this perhaps includes yourself. Most adults are continuous busy, wearing a long face, looking serious, and are only interested in business. They work, day in, day out, and they never have free time to enjoy themselves.
For adults, everything should be used as a mean towards an end. Therefore they find it silly and a waste of time to be playful and just have fun. Such people think that those who do otherwise, act like children, and that they’d better behave their age.
Children have no reason for playing other than play itself. They don’t play for any purpose, they don’t have any goal–they play for play’s sake, and this fills their life with joy and celebration.
Admire the world
Existence seems like a miracle to every child–a cosmos filled with bright colors, harmonic sounds, beautiful fragrances… a mystery that cannot be put into words.
Children admire the world and find deep joy just by experiencing it. They are continuously curious to find out more, to learn, to experiment, to explore and discover.
Adults, however, have lost the capacity to admire. They have been so used to their stressed and miserable lives that they don’t pay attention at all to the beauty this world is continuously offering us, and hence can’t appreciate it. To them, everything looks ordinary and boring–they have become insensitive to this wonder-full existence.
Life is a great gift that has been freely given to us, and the presence of children can remind us to be grateful for it and enjoy it for as long as we can.
Look deep into a small child’s eyes and you will come to experience what innocence is.
To be innocent means to be free of shame and guilt, to have an open mind and a trusting heart, and to have pure intentions.
Adults have lost this innocence that is natural to children. Adults feel afraid and insecure to open up themselves and show trust to those around them. Instead, they have chosen to build walls around them so as to psychologically protect themselves. In the competitive world that we have created, adults are cunning, aggressive, acquisitive, exploitative, and inevitably filled with remorse, shame, guilt, misery, and sadness.
Every one of us is born innocent, but as we grow up, most of us tend to lose our innocence. By being at the presence of a child, an adult can regain that innocence and start living in a completely different way–a way of beauty, fulfillment, and utter joy.