“Children are natural Zen masters; their world is brand new in each and every moment.” John Bradshaw
One sunny day, here in Verbier, while I was working and spending time with some kids, I met a woman in the park, a nanny as well, and as the children were playing so gracefully, she told me, in a low tone with a great spark in her eyes : ‘he chose me’. He is my master in so many ways. That moment was key for me and represents a big lesson. Her words spoke so much truth. And it got me thinking…
Fyodor Dostoevsky said that the soul is healed by being with children. I wasn’t foreign to such a predicament, yet I got to experience it more than ever throughout the last half a year, here, in Switzerland. Its been a while since I longed to breathe this fresh air, to wonder at these high mountains and green landscapes * and to be honest, I think that what I will miss the most is still this FABULOUS FANTASTIC FRESH air.
Being a nanny, a job which I have never done before, might sound as an almost menial job. You might think it too- everyone can do it, without any skills or education, right? I hear that, however yes, you will need much more than a university diploma to excel at this job.
I got to take a closer look at my inner child and with that to my childhood memories and all that which I learned that now I had to unlearn. I understood that I had to stop identifying with all these belief systems and observe through introspection where they came from. I came to realise that it was through each and every child that I got to learn so much about me, about my fears, about my limitations and programs which I have seen at home, at school or in time, credos ruled by the society at large. Sometimes I would be surprised by some words or behaviours that I would feel estranged of. I didn’t find them ‘natural’, integral to who I am yet I was displaying them as a sort of automatism. Yet, they were behaviours mirrored back to me so that I could take note and understand myself better.
The first main aspect we should learn from our masters is the complexity of the present moment. Young kids have no concept of past or future—they seem to understand, intuitively, that the only tangible thing that exists is now. Because yes, when you are so busy to live the moment, you get busy living life, you live life instead of being lived, and have no time to worry. Have you seen a worried child? We somehow stop paying attention, busy in our relentless thought processes and we start to take everything for granted, to rationalise everything, to explain and intellectualise.
Secondly, children are naturally curious which makes them so joyful and excited most of the time. When they do something, they invest in that fully. Then, if they are sad, they will let you know. If they are irritated, they shout it out loud and never will they try to evade their emotions. Whatever the case, a child will be authentic and express his/her own feelings and emotions. For them, life is a game and they always commit to be such masterful participants. No hard feelings, no regrets. No past nor future.
Thirdly, seeing life through a child’s lenses is basically finding that spark of surprise, that never-ending playfulness that is so captivating and contagious. When children experience those moments when they are so absorbed, they are actually in the ‘flow’, as we call it. In those moments they are experiencing that sense of sacred discovery.
I owe so much to all these little ones that taught me every day how to be in the moment, how to be completely absorbed, be spontaneous and to live joyfully, for each step was a miracle in disguise. Ironically, I probably got to learn more from them than the other way around.
Living equals playing, and who is more happy, joyful and curious about life if not the children? To explore, to experiment, they are naturally curious. Through the journey we all do, from childhood to adulthood, by becoming ‘responsible’ adults, we lose something on the way. We, however, can always learn that again by imitating children, the masters of existence. Experience gratefulness, ignite that passion for life and the joy of discovery. I bow to their wisdom, their exquisite laughter and joy, to the authenticity of being and seeing the world with a beginner’s mind every day.