We can train and prepare for many things in life – a test, a new skill or even acceptance, but sadly, unhappiness requires no training and we seem born with the capacity to experience it and even be overwhelmed with it.
In our sad moments it is worth remembering that life tends to have a way of balancing things out in our time here. So presence, attention and understanding are our windows into a bigger picture. There is no suffering without knowledge. How can there be karma without a lack of innocence?
Lets us consider children and our own youth. When we are very young we only have an innocent quest to learn, to explore, to grasp and grow. We rarely at this point in life have judge mental qualities but instead simply try things to grasp a bit more of this new world we have been born into. The very young child trusts life and has no fear. Only a parent’s fear keeps the young child safe. Everything seems wondrous to this child, from the frog in the pond to the muddy puddle he just splashed through. There isn’t real unhappiness until the child learns desire. The first time a child cries in the aisle of a Walmart — because his/her mother said “no!” to buying candy — the innocence starts to slip, the craving has begun.
This is the story of everyones life and the wise come to understand that through mindfulness training, experiencing life without fear and in the moment, we can recapture some of that inner child. I’m probably over stating this, and being overly simplistic — but I tend to believe mindfulness training, putting trust in the heart and mind and even some ritual tend to help us release the inner child — the wondering, open, accepting, mindful child-mind that can help us develop genuine insight. When I meditate, at any rate, I try to recapture the child. I try to foster fearlessness, innocence and wonder within myself first and foremost. Yes it always begins with the adult mind clearing away the rubble and making a nice spot for my inner child to explore, grow and learn (sound familiar?), for this is what we do and how we respond.
In some ways, the pursuit of mindfulness is also the pursuit of the inner child, the innocence, the here and now, the stripping away of clinging and desire. Do we, in fact, seek to return to the wisdom of the child? I believe so. I believe that we in fact cannot see or represent this wisdom in any outer fashion. As I have been taught and learned fro myself – we cannot put something down or hold it high until we are mature enough to recognize it in our life.
The secret of wisdom is to carry the spirit of childhood into maturity.
Peace and Love, Jim