Love is inherent, hatred is learnt
Why is it that all children ooze love and joy, yet the ones who spread hate and suffering are adults? What is it about the process of adulting that turns our lovely children into boring grown-ups?
As kids, we lived without a care in the world outside of the next chocolate chip cookie. Along the way, we picked up beliefs. That men have to be stoic and strong, that women have to be beautiful and dependent, that all people of other races are assholes, that the only way to live is to graduate school then get a job, because we are not worthy of the good things in life unless we are extraordinary. We picked them up because those were the rules that our environment operated with. We picked them up because we didn’t know better.
As kids, we wished we could grow into adults, that we may experience the full breadth of the the world with the control that adults seem to posses. Looking back as an adults, we realize that what we we want is to just live happily without a care in the world, the spirit of a child with the agency of an adult. Is there anything that can be done?
Being mindful is the first step in the right direction, because it allows us to be aware of our thoughts patterns and recognize our own flaws. If love is inherent and hatred is learnt, then what better approach to nurture compassion through the recognition and un-learning of said limiting beliefs?
Creativity is inherent, rigidity is learnt
This is a fun one. In 1992, Dr. George Land and Dr. Beth Jarman developed a test to measure the creative potential of engineers working at NASA. In their pursuit to understand the source of creativity, they tested 1600 children at ages 4-5, and found that 98% of them scored at genius level. By grade school, only 30% of children were considered creative geniuses. By high school, the number shrank to 12%. Among the candidates, less than 2% of adults were tested as creative geniuses.
The emphasis for rigidity is placed on convergent thinking, which focuses on a singular outcome. While convergent thinking has its purpose, its counterpart, the divergent aspect is associated with creativity and improvisational skills. If anything, the creative and improv aspects are guaranteed to make life more fun and interesting, if only we allow it to be so.
It’s easy to point the blame gun at the environment and the educational system, but more importantly, the creativity within us, our inner child, has to be allowed to spread its wings. A good way to start is to cultivate the spirit of asking questions, from mundane things (why isn’t ramen/steak-flavored butter a thing?) to existential wonders (what is the purpose of life?).
Start small, but more importantly, have fun with asking these questions. As one of my favorite poets once said:
“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”-Rumi
The greatest power lies HERE and NOW
How can one prove the existence of the past and the future outside of memory, belief, and anticipation?
While there is a time and place for reflection and planning, even that, too can only happen in the present moment. Nobody has ever experienced the past or the future, as we can only reminisce or anticipate in the present moment. The present moment is all there is after all. If the inspiration to do something comes up, act on it in whatever capacity that the current situation allows for. The takeaway is not to let some past memory or some future worry affect the present moment, for the happiness that all of us seek will ever only lie here and now.
Therein lies a secret of the Law of Attraction, Buddhism, and all spiritual teachings:
Happiness IS the path.