December 29      

Today's quotation:

Children are the happiest people on the planet because they are not dragging the baggage of a long heavy past around with them.  If they trip and fall or get upset, they get over it quickly.  Nor are they pondering or planning what comes next.  The now moment provides them with all the entertainment and fulfillment they need.  At some point we all got hung up on time and we abandoned the current moment.  We have distracted ourselves with what is not here.

Alan Cohen
The Tao Made Easy

Today's Meditation:

How easy it is to carry the baggage of the past!  And how easy it is to get caught up in thinking about and/or worrying about what's going to happen this afternoon, or tomorrow, or next week.  Alan makes a very good point here-- one of the reasons for which children can seem to be happier than adults is because most of them don't spend lots of time thinking about what happened yesterday or last week.  They're able to be present in the moment, which is where our lives truly lie, isn't it?

It is true that statements like this tend to romanticize childhood.  In my childhood, the alcoholism of a family member took away many pleasant present moments, and did cause me to worry about the future and think about the past.  Many children face abuse, abandonment, addiction, and many other problems that can rob them of those "carefree days" of childhood.

But this fact doesn't take away from the fact that childhood is a time of wonder, a time when figuring out what to do right this moment is our greatest concern.  And all the possibilities can seem magical and wonderful, so sometimes it's hard to choose.  It's unfortunate that so many children these days are being taught not to use their imagination because of their addictions to screens-- one of the greatest gifts we can give them in life is the ability to think for themselves and to go out and play rather than having their eyes glued to a screen for the next two hours.

And what's good for the child is good for the adult-- it would do us a world of good to stop looking at our screens and go outside and play something fun, or even just go for a walk.  We would be much happier if we stopped dwelling on what happened yesterday and focused on right now; if we stopped worrying about what's going to happen tomorrow and focused on where we are at this moment.  Let's look at the world with "clear-eyed vision" and actually see the wonderful and amazing things all around us-- let's let the children be our teachers of how to enjoy the present moment in our present location, and let's make our lives all that much richer for it.

Questions to consider:

When do we tend to lose the ability to see the wonder and magic in the world?

How do children make the most of their present moments?

What can you do right now that would help you to see the wonder of the world? 

For further thought:

A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement.  It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.

Rachel Carson

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