The Mind of a Child

We may fail to understand, that if we want to reach out for the flame as an adult, all we need do, is show it respect

I want you to imagine something for me

I want you to imagine you’re two years old again. You’re walking comfortably, upright on two feet now, and you’re exploring. Everything is new and all for the first time.

Where are you? Perhaps you’re in a garden or on a beach. Your carers are nearby so you feel safe and free to explore. What’s going through your mind as you look at the grass; the trees; the plants and flowers? What are you thinking as you feel the cool water and wet sand between your fingers and toes? There are strange smells and interesting sounds all around. Whilst exploring, are you likely thinking about the past or the future, or are you exactly in this moment now?

When we take a moment to ponder

We can easily work out, that if we’re two years old, we don’t have much of a past, and thoughts we might have about the future, will certainly be very constrained. Any thoughts we might have about the future will be based on simple reference points. Feelings of hunger, for example, might trigger memories of when we were last fed. Simple thoughts based on recent, past experiences, of our hunger being eased by food. And so it’s true to say, little experience, equals smaller and less complicated memories. Less clutter, means we’ll simply have a judgement free curiosity, about the world around us.

Our brains, aged two, are a veritable sponge, soaking up information, at an extraordinary rate. Our minds at that age are creating maps in order to reference things ready for the next time we experience them. Each time we’re placed in the garden, we’re checking off what we understand, form previous experiences. We’re then free to explore and find new things we’ve not seen before. Many people feel, that as we get older, there are less and less new things to fire our curiosity. Perhaps our minds begin to dull when we think this way.

Aged two, we obviously have few experiences, and as such, very few reference points to base any kind future or past thinking on.

Our consciousness is only just developing. We’re really only just becoming self-aware. Up to this point, everything has been based on feelings, and our instinctive needs. Due to a lack of experience and points of reference, the state of mind we’re likely to possess, is one of total curiosity. We’ll be curious until this is overshadowed by our lust for the satisfaction of our basic needs. Once these needs are satisfied though (love, comfort, food etc.) all that remains, is curiosity for the world around us. Our mind is entirely now focused. There is very little ‘elsewhere’ for our mind to go.

What about Burning Memories?

By reaching out for the flame in a burning candle, for example, a two year old might plan to get attention from mother. The child might do this, purely because on a previous occasion, it worked. All future planning, to a greater extent, is based on our past experiences. Now obviously as we age, and gain experience of the world, we have memories and we draw reference points from these memories.

Our beliefs begin to form

We then begin to plan and spend time with our minds in imagined futures based on these beliefs. In fact, it’s this ability to plan and scheme, that separates us from much of the animal kingdom. The older we get the better our ability to plan. We’re able to weigh-up the consequences through previous successes or failures respectively.

So in this respect, does our two year old mind, continue to reach out for the flame of a burning candle? One thing is for sure, if we’d been successful, in actually putting our fingers over the flame the first time around, it’s very unlikely we’ll ever do it again. Mother would most likely never have a lit candle in the room again anyway.

The problem we have as adults

Once burned, the pain of this, might remain way after its necessity. It may develop into an irrational fear. We may fail to understand, that if we want to reach out for the flame as an adult, all we need do, is show it respect.

So the point to gain

Provided we’re in a safe environment, keeping our mind in the present moment – as that of a two year old – it can bring some interesting surprises. It’s entirely possible, that the increased happiness regular meditators experience, is down to their renewed curiosity in life. The less time, we spend thinking about the future or the past, the better.

Imagine you’re two years old again.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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