When you learn to still the mind, you begin to take notice of your thoughts and feelings as they occur. You become somewhat of an “observer” to your own life. As the observer, you are more cognizant of your own actions. You begin to view how you interact with the world and respond to the causes and effects you are constantly subjected to. Lately, one of my observations has been about the fun-loving child that resides inside me. Externally, I am a 49-year-old male with the physical manifestations that are consistent with that image, yet I can’t help but feel that, internally, I am much younger than that. I recall my years as a child as well as my teenage years in high school and can completely relate to all the trappings of that era. Is it because I have not grown up? I think not.
I know I am an adult, especially when the rearing or disciplining of my children is required. Yet, when doing so I often wonder, “How do my children view me?”. Do they see only this middle-aged manifestation, or can they somehow see that inside I am just like them, only with a lot more experience to draw from. But I know the answer to that question. All I need to do is to hearken back to my youth and to the imposing figure of my own father to know he was not a kid that I was seeing. We had totally different perspectives and did not see eye to eye. There was no comparison.
Now, extrapolating this kid feeling into senior citizenship and I wonder, will I still feel youthful at heart then, or by then might I start to feel like a 49-year-old? Who knows. But my feeling is this: I’ll probably still feel like a kid. Why? Because as I continue to heal and become more in tune with my true self, I realize there is a lot of joy in life. And to enjoy life, one does not need to be stoic, serious, or uptight all the time. I feel like I can let loose because I no longer feel like I need to prove anything to anyone; much like a child – more akin to freedom and joy.
As adults, we often get trapped in a “desire” mode. In desire mode, we always need more: more money, more status, more power, more stuff, more, more, more… It is in this mode that we get locked into adulthood. We are so busy earning things, that we have little time to play, and when we do play, we can hardly relax and let go. We can’t let go because we think that joy is fleeting; a station we cannot remain for long. We think that joy is merely an ephemeral indulgence and soon we must return to the “real world” and back to desire mode. We have become prisoners of our own mind.
So my advise to you is to search hard to find that kid that’s locked up inside you and let her/him out to play once in a while. You may find that being that kid is the vehicle that leads you to real freedom in your life. No matter what anybody says – especially the adults!