This I Believe

bruce - santa cruz, California
Entered on May 3, 2006

I believe that children are us, externalized.

We were little children once. We know what the truth is. We know, from the inside, what is real in this world, and what is not. We know. It is essential we remember.

We were in little bodies once, wanting only to laugh, cry, jump, roll, play and hug. Yet around us we saw adult people being busy, mean, hurried, loving; often attempting to reach us in some meaningful way, not knowing how. They wanted to. They just didn’t know how to slow down inside.

Little people see our pretense, our false fronts and our efforts to appear like we know what we’re doing. They sense our discomfort at simply being present, quiet, and still, without continuous thoughts. Children, like us, recognize when they are not connecting or being heard. They can feel the separation that exists between child and adult – the big person collective belief that children are “less” and adults are more. That children are to be taught; we are to teach.

Like you and me, they often stop trying to speak honestly or to be heard. Instead, they amplify and escalate their actions to get us to slow down and be present, just as we do in our relationships with others. The adult world may label their attempts to be heard, “tantrums,” or acting out. What else can a little innocent body do to get our attention but become more extreme?

When we were little, we did the same thing. If we didn’t, we went silent inside, shutting down our expression, feelings and spontaneity, lost to an outer world that appeared to not hear us, to be unsafe for our words. There was no one to blame. We simply went silent to a world that did not know how to hear deeply behind the literal words. Even today, our response might be the same.

Many of our parents demanded that we adhere to what others said was normal and socially acceptable. They did this to fit in, to do the “right thing,” to do the only thing they knew how to do – – follow the world around them. They often left their internal home, the inner place connected to heart and soul, the place that follows an inner voice. And they asked us the children to do the same. We may, if unnoticed, ask the same of our children, and other adults in our lives.

Growing up, many of us learned to be afraid, and to look good for others. We lived a secret life that few around us noticed, for they were lost in their own secret lives as well. In the everyday hurried environment, the fresh and renewed vitality of each child moving into the world may be dampened immediately by our own suppressed life force which we’ve adopted in an effort to deny that we’ve given our spirit and passion over to a belief system not our own . . . and this system of social order has no intent to expand beyond beliefs held by those before us.

It is as though we all live in a giant movie theater with the same movie playing over and over again. Same dialogue. Same roles. Same actors, complaints and beliefs. And each morning we wake up, unaware that we are entering into the same theater to once again watch and participate in the same film with the same ending. And together, six billion of us agree that this is the only movie playing. What if we suspect there is a different movie playing somewhere else, and we seek it out on our own? Would you go to school? Would you ask your children to be compliant? Would you ask yourself to be compliant? Quiet? Follow the rules? Get a job? Prepare for the future? Would all the regulations and policies and beliefs in your world be as significant?

Would you see women and men as wondrous beings without gender separation? Would you need to marginalize people by making them right or wrong? Normal or abnormal? Crazy or sane? Making up things or having amazing visions? Might you go exploring into the wisdom of your heart and soul, and be with people from that place, living differently, quietly inside, softer with others, sweet with innocence, kind to the children, recognizing they, the little ones, will bring you home to yourself deep inside, gently, with a giggle?