But I have said that whoever among you becomes a child will recognize the kingdom and will become greater than John.
– Gospel of Thomas, Verse 48
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
– Mark 18:2-4
What does it mean to become like a child?
It can mean a certain orientation of receptivity, curiosity and sincerity in our relationship with God, ourselves and practice, all within a context of don’t know. Shifting into this, and then noticing that these are already here, they are a natural expression of what we are. (When not clouded over by beliefs in images and stories.)
It can also mean to ask questions that seem silly and naive, to leave no stone unturned, to question that which seems most obviously a given and true – and especially those stories I at first don’t even recognize as a story.
There is bliss, joy, excitement, sadness, frustration, anger, pain. What do I find when there is no label there? How does it appear in each sense field? Is it really what it initially appeared to be?
There is a sense of a separate I here, showing up as a center, doer or observer. How do each of those appear in each sense field? Is it content of experience? Is it really different from any other content of experience? Do they come and go, as any other content of experience? Is it what I really am? What is it that does not come and go?
I see something in someone else, in the wider world. Can I find the same in myself? What happens when I do, when I see, feel and am OK with it right here? How is it to live from this?
- become like a child
- receptive, curious, sincere, don’t know (ok with not knowing)
- inquire, ask questions that may seem silly, naive (question that which seems most obviously true, given)
What does it mean to become like like a child?
Here is one way to talk about it: It has to do with receptivity, curiosity and sincerity, recognizing that I really don’t know, and not having stories or identities to defend. Recognizing that it already is that way, and before I recognize it clearly, allow my views to shift in that direction. It means to be humble before God. Receptive to reality even when it doesn’t match familiar beliefs and identities.
It also means to ask questions that seem naive in a conventional view. To leave no stone unturned. To sincerely and receptively investigate what seems the most obviously true, and the stories I at first don’t even recognize as stories.
The wider world, pain, emotions, me, a separate I as doer and observer. How do each of these appear in the sense fields? How do they appear in each sense field? Are they solid? Are they different from awareness itself? Are they content of experience? Do they come and go? Is there something that does not come and go?
Jesus said, “The person old in days won’t hesitate to ask a little child seven days old about the place of life, and that person will live.
– Gospel of Thomas, Verse 4
What is pain? Is there pain? Is there emotions? Is there a me? Is there a separate I as this doer or observer? Is there life? Death? Separation? Good and bad? How do each of these appear in the sense fields? What is there when the mental overlay is set aside? Is it content of experience? Does it come and go? What is it that does not come and go? What does this content happen within and as? What am I really?