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Through Innocent Eyes

Monday, July 21, 2014

Have you ever watched a baby take in the world? Somewhere around six months an innate curiosity kicks in. There is a realization that their actions create a reaction and that the world is full of unique sights, sounds, tastes, smells and textures. There is innocence to this process of discovery, an innocence that is reflected in the pure joy with which they make conscious connection with the world around them.

Over time baby grows up and all the information that she has discovered is stored and becomes knowledge. She now “knows” what an apple tastes like, she recognizes a frequent visitor as “Grandma”, and she associates the delicious smells that come from the kitchen as food. As baby grows, she is acknowledged for her ability to retain information and share knowledge. We applaud when she connects her outer world to language, and when she begins to learn to think conceptually. Eventually, baby creates a framework of concepts and beliefs, some self imposed, others based on societies values that define how baby will travel through life. All of this is essential to becoming a member of the human family. It is simply part of growing up.

There is a potential down side to this natural process of becoming an adult. We can become less receptive to the world around us. We develop a filter that is the sum total of all the knowledge, conceptual understandings and beliefs that we accumulated. We see, feel, hear, smell and taste everything that comes our way through this filter. We assess the world and other’s ideas of the world based on our own understanding. We listen from a place of knowing, rather than from a place of compassion. We stop being willing to be transformed by what we experience and we close ourselves off to the miracles that life has to offer.

What if we approach every moment with the innocence of a child? What if we opened our hearts and our minds to every experience, and point of view? How would this change our life?

This past month, I sat a room with two world-renowned teachers. Each had a powerful message to share. I noticed, moments of receptivity when I opened myself up to what they had to say. It wasn’t a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with their message; it was simply about letting their message touch me. Sometimes the message moved me. It shifted something within me and my beliefs and conceptual understanding of things were altered. Other times, the message did not apply, and it simply moved past me. There were also times when I compared what was shared to my understanding and I judged it through my filter. I took a position, perhaps even an immovable position.

I share this not because one approach is right and the other is wrong. I share this because I noticed that being receptive and open felt a lot better than holding firming to my position. So the question I am asking is: what if we greeted all of life with the innocence of a child? This doesn’t mean giving up the beliefs we hold true. It is simply a suggestion to not hold so tightly. I wonder what miracles will unfold! I am in! Are you?