Can you stand and quietly appreciate the simplicity of being? Can your mind recall the innocence of childhood, when all seemed possible and bitterness had not yet arrived?
When I came across that image, it struck me that as I’ve aged and accumulated disappointments, I’ve forgotten the openness of childhood. There was a time when the mind was wide open and filled with possibilities, hopes, plans, and excitement.
Of course, life disappoints and one’s hopes whither with each let down. There are also successes, some planned, some not. It’s a mosaic of desires and acceptances that slowly carve out an attitude. But what of that starting point?
When I saw that picture I was momentarily reminded of the inner sense of the future that was the background for many childhood dreams. This memory stands in contrast to the adult who knows that not everything works out and one has to simply come to terms with that. It’s the loss of that innocence that seems to be the price of maturity. Does it have to be?
While I don’t think it’s desirable nor even possible to return to that child mind, I wonder if we can revive the background of innocence. By this, I don’t mean the actual hopes springing from childhood dreams and desires. I mean the quiet, unsullied mind that is the canvas on which those hopes are drawn. It was without futility, without guile, without any sense of whether or not our fantasies could or could not be realized. The dreams were pure because the canvas was free of disappointments.
Even though we now know better and have suffered the letdowns of life, I wonder if we can recall that unblemished canvas and paint new hopes on it. Of course, they will be realistic and appropriate to our age and experiences, but I wonder if we spend some time recalling that open space that once dominated our inner life, we can let in new ideas and dreams.