The Strange Tale Of One Who Remembered – And Found Happiness


When we are children, we posses a unique gift that spiritual masters have long recognized as beautiful and unknowingly wise. We are effortlessly capable of many of the qualities of mind that spiritual adepts, seekers of enlightenment, and even simply those who long for a happier and more peaceful existence strive to achieve. Interestingly, what many fail to realize, is that they are not in pursuit of some new skill or some esoteric, transcendent competence. More than needing to learn, they simply need to remember.

As children we exist in a near constant state of wonder. Everything is new, fresh, and exciting. We approach the world from this perspective. We marvel at the beauty that exists all around us. A climbable tree is magical. Every new person we meet is a mystery to be explored. The different textures of grass we walk upon is a discovery. We listen to the stories we are told with the same excitement and focus that later in life requires a multi-million dollar Hollywood special effects extravaganza to achieve.

We look on in amazement at a brook as it babbles its way through an immaculate forest. Animals captivate us in ways we can’t begin to explain. Even the simple act of sorting through the myriad shapes and colors of the stones on our path, and deciding which ones to keep, is a spellbinding joy. Our creativity is unencumbered and in full evidence in countless different ways.

Then, eventually, something begins to change in us. Our caregivers begin the process of preparing us for the difficulties of life in the “real” world. School begins in earnest. Responsibilities begin to accrue. Scaffoldings of rules and belief systems are applied to our young minds. Discipline becomes the order of the day.

These new paradigms emerge in sharp relief to the simple wonder that has been the hallmark of our existence thus far. Our minds resist, recoil, but given our utter dependence on our caregivers for necessities like food, water, shelter, and protection – we acquiesce. The simple joy and awe of the world we were triumphantly born into gives way to the constraints, requirements, and suppressions of the “adult” world.

We, of course, sense the change. At some deep, fundamental level, we mourn the loss. But we are too young yet to comprehend that what we are experiencing is likely our first course in grief.

In recent days the brutal temperatures and suffocating humidity of summer in the south have begun to give way to the first whispers of fall. The air smells different, the mood feels different. People are venturing back outdoors from their months long, heat-induced confinement. This transition is one of life’s natural happiness inflection points. It is exquisite.

Yesterday evening my wife and I gathered our 4 legged parcel of joy and ventured out into the world for a long walk. Midpoint, we stopped so that everyone, woefully out of shape from the torturous summer temps and a dose of simple summer laziness, could take a break. We settled in the grass beneath a magnificent oak tree. That moment is when I realized just how special, how beautiful it was simply sitting with it all. The months long absence had delivered magic. Everything was at once new again. My mind was still, at peace, and without passage.

This wholly uncomplicated event served as a powerful reminder that the things I hope to learn in my spiritual practice, in my meditation, in the books I read – all these things I already know. I just needed to remember them. I just needed to invite the child to come back home again. I think he’ll like it here.

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