Tag Archives: Lao Tzu

Day 331: Why We Should Reinvent Our Childhood

“Compared with adults, children do not yet have the ability to see a self that extends temporally into the future. This, however, is not a liability, but rather an asset that allows them to view their future without gloom and fully enjoy the present feelings of happiness. That is why the children of the world can look happy so long as they are happy in the present.”

― Yoichi Sakakihara, M.D., Professor of Ochanomizu University

Childhood, I remember that as a time in my life that was thoroughly enjoyable. Obviously, that is not so for everyone, as childhood can also be a terrible experience. However, as children, undoubtedly we do have an ability to live in the moment that surpasses that of any adult. I remember when I used to visit new places as a child, for example a forest, being sensitive, attuned, and completely in the present moment, it was an adventure without comparison. All my senses were active in experiencing and interacting with this new environment – and that ability to be FULLY here in the moment was what contributed to creating that almost magical feeling of adventure and astonishment at the small moments, that by adults were perceived as insignificant or completely missed.

This skill disappears as we age, and that is sad, because obviously, we as adults also need that sense of adventure and fulfillment in our lives, else, we simply become like robots, walking around to our next appointment, doing our thing, without really knowing why. From my perspective, and from what I have found, the reason why we loose this ability to be in the present moment is because we compare what is here to what has been, we actively use our experiences and memory-bank to define and give points to our current reality. This use of memory to interact with reality also dulls our senses and makes us less sensitive and attuned to the present moment. We thus miss so much of reality, because we are busy in our mind evaluating what is here, instead of LIVING with what is here.

One clear example of this is how adults tend to judge weather such as rain, storms, cold, and similar, as ‘bad weather’ and enter a gloomy experience, and oftentimes complain at the weather. What children do with bad weather is that they embrace it and allow themselves to experience and be part of and explore that particular moment of weather. For example, rain becomes an adventure without likes, as rain offers pools of water, and different animals come out from their hiding places to get moisture and look for food. Children hence know and apply one thing in their lives that we adults tend to miss, it is not about where we are, not about what we are, not about when we are, it is about WHO WE ARE – basically meaning that – we DECIDE what our present moment will be like – either a moment of presence/interaction/connection with the physical – or a moment of existing in our mind comparing what is here to what we would like it to be like.

As adults we look for life in all the wrong places, because we have forgotten that point of presence which we embodied as children. Life will not ever be born through realizing a dream or reaching a goal, such points are merely moments of satisfaction, and enjoyment, though not the same thing as the constant and fulfilling approach to reality that children master. Hence, the secret to life does not exist in changing our material physical world, it is instead within us, in our approach, and in essence, in our relationship with ourselves. If we want to have fulfillment, adventure, and enjoyment in our lives, this is where we should look, and not make the mistake of believing that the problem is our physical reality.

The above though is only true to some extent. We do undoubtedly have physical needs, we have to eat, drink, shit and piss – and if our basic needs are not fulfilled effectively – then it is not possible, or at least very difficult, to embody presence and live fully in every moment. This is why we require a new economic system with an equal distribution of resources – to make sure that everyone has to opportunity to discover and live their unconditional and childlike expression in this world.

What is then the solution? How is it that we return to our childlike selves? I find the following quote very supportive in this regard.

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!

Other people are excited,
as though they were at a parade.
I alone don’t care,
I alone am expressionless,
like an infant before it can smile.

Other people have what they need;
I alone possess nothing.
I alone drift about,
like someone without a home.
I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

Other people are bright;
I alone am dark.
Other people are sharp;
I alone am dull.
Other people have purpose;
I alone don’t know.
I drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless as the wind.

I am different from ordinary people.
I drink from the Great Mother’s breasts.”

― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

The solution to stopping our continuous adult contemplation and replace it with LIFE is to STOP thinking. Thinking not only steals our attention from the present moments, it also becomes the building blocks of our life, and the problem here is that we have not even investigated the consequences of our thoughts; what does our thoughts really create? We must remind ourselves that the future will only ever be an abstract concept, something we use to make sense of time and space, however, LIFE will only ever be HERE. Thus, when we think about the future it should only be to organize and plan for our life HERE, yet that plan must not, and in reality cannot, take precedence of what is HERE. Hence, a plan, or a goal, will never in itself fulfill us, give us peace and joy – if we want to experience such words for real – they must be created HERE in our everyday life – in the mundane and recurrent. And in doing that, what we will discover and understand, which children already see, is that life HERE is not mundane, it is a constant flow of new moments that we can only ever really see if we stop thinking and instead place our full awareness in the present.


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