Sunday Reflection: Seeing Through the Eyes of a Child

Seeing Through the Eyes of a Child Something that has caught my attention lately, especially with the immense amount of my time I am spending around my kids is the general juxtaposition between myself and them. Now, of course, I’m bigger, I have lived a few more years and I know a few more things than they do.  That I suppose along with the fact that I co-created them, gives me an upper hand on a lot of life things. One thing I can’t help but continue to notice though that THEY seem to have an upper hand on in life is their natural propensity for JOY. You don't have to look far throughout history's greatest teachers to hear their same perspective on children and joy.  Poets, writers, spiritual teachers all see this same truth. One of my favorite, and mostly unknown writers, is GK Chesterton. He was captivated by this same truth in children and wrote about it often. Though he wrote mostly about his Catholic faith and was a well-known apologist, he also wrote many books that mixed his fantastic intellect with this humor and joy.  He was notorious for goofing off with kids and giving them as much candy as possible.(This was before giving kids candy was creepy when it was actually a kind and sweet gesture) Here's my favorite picture of him, because you can just SEE the joy in this man's face.    Also tough to beat the classic British teeth. (picture attached above)

Here are 2 of my favorite quotes from his writing.   “The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.” “Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” Shouldn’t we as adults actually take a minute to take this seriously? Or is joy and wonder something reserved only for children that we eventually "grow out of"?  And why is that the case? Just as seriously as we take our bills, our big grown-up lives with our big grown-up jobs and our big grown-up responsibilities like grocery shopping and yoga - we need to take this seriously.   Why?  Because our joy is hidden at times from us. I believe it's hidden because we've lost our curiosity with life. Remember curiosity?  Remember when things were always new?  Even old things didn’t ever really become old because you could seem them in new and different ways.  If you allow your heart to answer that question and give it some space to feel, you can remember what that felt like.  The curious nature of life. Adventure, awe, and wonder are all words that come to mind. They are branches off of the tree that is rooted in curiosity. THE OPPOSITIVE of CURIOSITY is KNOWING.  The desire to know everything, to understand, to analyze everything, is what strips us of curiosity. You cannot be in 2 places at one time, and you cannot be in a spirit of curiosity while also being obsessed with knowing and understanding everything.  They are not friends, they run counter to each other.   So the fastest way back to curiosity, to awe and wonder is simply to RELEASE YOUR NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING. RELEASE YOUR NEED TO UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING. These 2 needs are stripping you of the oxygen curiosity can bring to your life right now. One thing you can start to create as a practice is remembering that yes you do have a big grown-up life with big grown-up responsibilities and concerns but that doesn’t have to be ALL of you.    There can still be a child-like part of you that you allow out of yourself so you can recapture some joy. These are tough times no doubt, and I’m not trying to shrink away or put rose-colored glasses over you, I’m only asking you to take off our adult glasses from time to time and see through the eyes of a child. Your childlike nature hasn’t gone anywhere, you’ve only forgotten about it. I like to use the metaphor or losing your keys when it comes to your child like nature. When you lose your keys, your keys didn’t disappear from existence.  They are SOMEWHERE, you’ve just forgotten where they are. When you finally remember where your keys are, voila guess what, there they are still in existence. They still work the same way they did when you had them before you lost them. This is the way of the child in you. Just because you forgot about it doesn’t mean it has been lost.  You will be amazed at what can happen if you only creek open the door to this inner light you have. It only takes a little bit of light to light up a whole room of darkness. Allow yourself, give yourself permission, to relax on occasion, and allow some of that child-like nature to come through.   See through the eyes of curiosity. Try and see the intricacies today that your partner or children have. Slow down and notice their hair, their smell, their laugh, their smile.  Or see the tree outside your window or on your usual walk differently, really see it and sit with it.   Curiosity will force you to slow down, and this is a GOOD thing. Before you know it, it will almost be like a new person is seeing from the same eyes. You will realize that you’ve been missing out on things due to “knowing them” versus being curious about them. And you will start to remember what it was like to see as a child, and the more you practice the better you get at seeing through those eyes. Adopt a spirit of curiosity and let the world of wonder unfold before your very eyes. Peace & love Jake

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