I have worked with children for 20 years of this life, and I also have been meditating daily for 17 years. Working with children goes very nicely with the spiritual side of my life, as it allows me to be like a child, act like a child and remain in my child-heart for a lot of the time. Here are some of the little realisations I have come to about what we can learn from children… (We all know these, we just need to practice them!)
1. Be in the Moment
A child remains in the moment–all the time. They live in the ever-present now–simply and fully. Why is this something we should learn to do? Our tricky adult mind is never in the present. It is always either in the past or in the future. The past we cannot change; the future is beyond our knowledge, but the here-and-now is truly a gift–that is why it is called the ‘present’. If we can be like a child and truly be in the moment, we lose many worries, doubts, fears, anxieties and mental concerns. We learn to live each moment fully and whole-heartedly. Life becomes a series of unplanned, magical moments, which we allow ourselves to flow with. Children do this naturally. Masters of detachment, they simply throw themselves into one thing in one moment and then move effortlessly onto the next, not looking back at the past (even five minutes ago). Try this. You will be happy…
2. Be Happy!
Children simply are happy beings. They smile and laugh hundreds more times each day than adults. Happiness is a ‘heart’ quality and young children are still in their hearts–without the dry old mind operating the way it does for us. The most popular course to study in one of the world’s leading universities (Harvard) right now is “Happiness”! (Positive Psychology) So by the time children have become teenagers and young adults, they are already looking to get back that blissful happiness from youth – and are willing to study it, with an empowering syllabus focusing on aspects of a flourishing and meaningful happy life. And why not?! Just look at children… they are HAPPY. Why? Because they remain in their hearts, unclouded by mind’s judgements and life’s harsh experiences. And they make other people happy too, without trying. A child totters into a room and suddenly the room is lit up with smiles on all the adult’s faces. How to be happy like a child? Try to see the world through the eyes of a child. See love and light and bliss in the simple things around you. Just try.
3. Offer Unconditional Love
Children offer their love, unconditionally. It doesn’t matter if you are the postman, a neighbour or a puppy dog on the street, a child gives love freely and without expectation. This love of a child is divine, unconditional, without limits and for all. How does a child have a heart so big and so full of love? Children are still connected to that Infinite Source of Divine Love. It overflows all around them. Experiencing a child’s love helps us to reconnect and feel this same love inside our own hearts.
4. Live Simply
A child does not need the latest model ‘thing’, or in fact anything external to be happy and peaceful. A child just lives and delights in the natural wonders all around. A child’s life is very simple, uncomplicated. As long as basic needs of life are met, children can be happy in whatever circumstance befalls them. They find joy in the simplest of things – spotting a rainbow, smelling a flower, patting an animal, giggling, running barefoot in a park, etc. The list could go on for pages. Why not start writing your own list of things you can do to enjoy the simple things in life? The world offers so much in its catalogue for you!
5. Have Enthusiasm!
Just observe a child….there is so much a child finds exciting in life and their eagerness knows no bounds. What in your life makes you feel enthusiastic? Children’s enthusiasm is HUGE! It can make an unwary adult feel exhausted and overwhelmed by all that positive emotion! Enthusiasm is such an important spiritual quality to own. It can take you many joyful places in your life. I remember feeling so much enthusiasm that every sentence I wrote was followed by an exclamation mark! If you can bring forward your natural sense of enthusiasm, you will be filled with inspiration and ENERGY – just like a child – to do and be so many positive things!
What’s Next … How to Go About It?
I’m sure I could have named this article “Twenty Pearls of Wisdom We Can Learn from Children,” because there are just so many more than five! You may already know about all the inherent qualities of a child. The challenge is to practice bringing them more into our adult lives. Remember:
- Be in the Moment
- Be Happy
- Offer Unconditional Love
- Live Simply
- Have Enthusiasm
Be like a child. How? Meditation is the only answer I have come across. Without meditation, I would be a stressed out, cranky adult in my work with children – unable to connect with them at all! Personal experience has shown me that meditation has the power to bring me into my heart and bring forth all of these lovely, divine, childlike qualities from within my own being. Try to practise for just five or ten minutes every morning. Visualise a beautiful, golden, radiant child within your own heart. There is so much this divine inner child can teach us!