Watch young children who are relatively uninhibited, which means that their true nature hasn’t yet been buried under a mountain of irritation, fear, controlling, and more from parents and others. Without constraint, they freely explore the world, and as they make their discoveries, they tend to freely give you whatever they find: a rock, a stick, a piece of dried mucous from their nose, a dirty diaper, whatever. And if we are in the spirit of the moment, we gladly receive the “gifts” they offer.
Sometimes these children give to us what they want to share. More often, they’re simply finished sucking the wonder from the object they’ve examined, and they’re discarding it to our care—without guilt or even a thought of whether we actually want it. They don’t need it, so they give it to us.
They tend not to hang on to what they no longer “need,” while on other occasions they’ll carry a particular rock around for hours. Apparently, they needed it.
What I find remarkable is the freedom of children to discard what is no longer useful to them. Their minds are fluid, easily adapting by the minute to new experiences, needs, and feelings.
We all began like this, but then we discovered disapproval, disappointment, discouragement, pain, and shame—to name just a few. And we became convinced that these feelings were part of who we really were, so we clutched them tightly, often never to let them go.
And now we carry our past pain and fear and shame with us into every present interaction, thereby ruining any possibility of happiness. Unspeakably tragic.
But there is a choice, one which most of us have never considered. We could become like little children, enjoying the wonder of each moment, unencumbered by fear and spinning thoughts.
We can give up the pain and shame that have polluted our lives, and finally experience genuine freedom.
We can let the past go and without any hindrance surround ourselves—and drink from—the present.
Watch the freedom of a happy child. Consider it a model you can follow.
Let go of the past and experience genuine freedom.
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