Questioning the established reality from my own feelings is a spontaneous exercise that I practise since I can recall, even when some people can find that my approaches are too simplistic & naïve.
Without thinking too much about it I can easily think of two situations, back in primary school, where I flung myself asking a question to the teacher in charge. I did it from my innocent ignorance looking for answers, and believe me, it was hard for me to throw myself into participating, but I had to do it when the doubt was weighing me down. At the end of the day, that was what teachers-adults-grown ups were there for, or at least, that’s what I was told. In exchange to my queries I received from the ‘competent authority’ a derogatory and non explanatory comment. And I am saying derogatory because, even when they did not generate it with that intention, that’s how that 9 or 10 years old girl received it.
Whatever a child of that age senses & perceives it is simply true as it is. Children, especially the youngest, know better than adults because they are still connected with their inner self, with spontaneity & essence. And that’s even when they are exposed on a daily basis to situations that bombard that valuable ability. As they grow up, we guide them into the chain of social automatons that was created up in the Industrialization era. Since then, we’ve been programmed to accept without arguments that this is the only possible model. That’s how we kill them. We kill our children’s creativity and essential being.
Life is simple. We just insist in making it look complicated, in an attempt to understand it or even to manipulate it. Simple things are beautiful and on top of that, they work. Why disguising them? What’s the point of refusing their identity? What’s so attractive to us from the complicated versus the simply natural?
I’ve always been obedient & reliable and I’ve always sensed some kind of rejection against concepts like ‘authority’ and ‘discipline’. I don’t believe in authority as command or power but as a source of wisdom & knowledge. It might be true that saying: the Devil knows more because he is old than because he is the Devil. However, evil condition poisons the soul. Plus there are many youngsters, children & little ones that are already very wise, holding within a whole world of possibilities to share with us.
Have you tried to ask a child for an answer to that issue that is bothering you? Have you listened to him from your heart & soul? Have you looked into his eyes, placing yourself at his level, opened to what it has to offer you? Have you reviewed that issue from the clean perspective that he gifted you with? How did you see it then?
There are many adults out there (not all of them, of course), teaching & being parents, who never look or pay attention from this inclusive & respectful perspective.
Quite often we don’t explain to our children the reasons being for many things that affect them directly. We don’t ask them. We don’t consider their point of view. ‘That’s the way it is. Because I say so. I am the adult and adults decide. Because you are only little and you don’t know.’
What kind of answers are these? How is going to accept them a lively & creative mind? Then we worry if the child seems troublesome, rebel, nonconformist. In which other way he could express himself if we left him with no more options?
Some of those called responsible adults even raise their voice or hand to the child. ‘A shout, a slap, a spank at the right time would not traumatize anyone.’ Without getting into the trauma issue, that aggressive attitude (whether verbal or physical) shows a huge lack of respect to our young ones. They are not just our equals but also our future. When we raise the voice to a child, when we loose patience and show him our teeth, we are also doing it to that child that we were once.
Don’t we realise about that connection between us? Probably we think that we don’t know any other way because that’s how we were taught in that programming automaton chain. However, do we resort to shouting to adults? Do we answer to our boss-partner-colleague or to the person at the bank desk with a slap when we loose our temper? Of course we don’t. Between us adults there is a different code, a hypocritical & corrupted one. Why do we mistreat our children then? Shouting, raising the voice, undermining, nullify verbally, stop listening, ignoring or battering are to me cutting affront, especially when a child is the recipient.
I don’t see a vertical reality but a horizontal one, a network of connections where all of them are necessary. Each of us has a role to play and we are all important within the whole: little ones & grown-ups, beginners & experienced, wise not because of the age showing on their ID but because of their attitude towards life. Authority & discipline? No, thanks. I exchange them for love, respect & commitment. Without love & respect, authority is not possible. Coexistence & communication become real by acting with love, respect & consistent commitment. This will result in mutual benefit, growth & abundance.
I am not a mother or a children’s teacher just yet. I am a human being who adores children because I see their light, unconditional love, devotion & enthusiasm. If they show any issues of any kind, we should look at their parents first and at their grandparents afterwards, because the key to our children’s distress lays in their roots. We might not want to admit it, we might prefer to neglect our responsibility to let it on their little shoulders, ignoring our own purulent wounds instead of taking care of them. Then we will be drawing not just our route but also theirs. We will be marking them and it will be up to them to find out how to get rid of it at some point in their lives. Otherwise they might perpetuate the model.
I wish I got closer to some of those teachers I had that I admired so much at the time. Never felt like doing it because that wrong definition of authority was paralysing me from doing it. In 2009 thanks to the last boss I had, I discovered that my voice was clear & loud enough; also that my values could not have room everywhere and if that is the case, I just have to accept that those places are not for me. So I decided to leave. Last year I learnt that not every adult socially considered & apparently well prepared, is actually an admirable model to be followed. Now I know that a tiny baby or a small kid might have much more to teach me than that wise adult in disguise.
Last February I attended a wonderful workshop leaded by Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche, who is actually a year younger than me and who entered a Buddhist monastery at 6. It was an amazing day. He shared with us his deep inner knowledge through different tools. All of them were beautiful & useful but the one that stroke me with more emotion was his sense of humour, his drive to laugh and to enjoy life. Just like a child.
I don’t know how to address a spiritual personality of his height (who actually is sitting up high on a small surface raised from the floor), if there is a protocol or ritual to be followed. In other circumstances, that timid reliable part of me would leave the venue frustrated with an unfulfilled feeling because she didn't go to talk to him. My today’s connected self went up there naturally at the end of the day; I just let myself flow, lowered to his eyes’ level, he hold my hands and I thanked him for everything that he shared, especially his smile, his modest & contagious sense of humour , his love for human beings. I didn’t need a photograph with him, neither his dedication on a book or even his blessing. I just wanted to look into his eyes, as equals, and thank him from the bottom of my heart for his teachings.
I took his kind words with me, his smile, his deep look and the conscious intention that he practices. I truly sensed him as an equal. I felt the connection that ties us together. I saw the wise 6 years old boy that he was and I also saw myself as a little girl, tender, pure, clear, happy to be able to learn from him.
That’s how I see myself too when I look at me on the eyes of the little ones I am blessed to meet, also on the eyes of the grown-ups that look at me back in the same way, as equals, as human beings interacting with each other without using any labels or giving any patronising lessons. Only from a deep love & respect, knowing that we all have as much to learn from each other as we have to give away.
"Baby I've been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
But love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
There was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me do ya
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Well, maybe there's a God above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
It's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
(Extract from song Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen)