Whenever we set out to do something in life, it’s supported by having certain orientations. And what those are depends, to some extent, on what we set out to do.
So which orientations are helpful in spirituality? Which orientations seem especially helpful when we set out to explore our relationship with life – and perhaps what we are to ourselves, how to live from this noticing, and how we relate to life and our experiences?
For me, the central one is a more childlike orientation.
THE ORIENTATION OF A CHILD
How does a healthy child relate to the world?
A child is often curious, receptive, free of preconceptions, honest, sincere. There is a natural humility, and a natural willingness to test out what others share.
A child is often absorbed in what they are doing, and diligent in exploring. They can do the same for hours.
They are here and now. There is no idea of not doing something because we did it in the past, or putting off something because we can do it in the future.
Children often have a natural reverence and awe for life. All is new.
WHEN WE FIND THAT CHILDLIKE ORIENTATION
How does this translate to us?
We are that child. We never left childhood, even if we are also adults. We still have it in us.
We can find that curiosity. Receptivity.
A certain innocence that sets aside, at least for a while, what thoughts and memories tell us about what we are.
Honesty about what we find, how we are, and so on.
Some diligence in exploring all of this. An ability to keep exploring, and with this, some patience.
The kind of urgency that comes from noticing, and taking in, that all I have is what’s here now. I cannot find past or future outside of my ideas about past and future.
Humility because we know we don’t know. A willingness to test out what others share with us, and especially those more familiar with something than we are.
Some reverence for life and the whole process. And awe since all is new.
HOW TO FIND THIS CHILDLIKE ORIENTATION
There are two general ways to find this childlike orientation.
We can find it in ourselves here and now since it never went away. It may have been covered up by us trying to be good adults. And it’s still here.
The other is to examine what prevents us from finding or living from it.
What in me covers it up? In most cases, what covers it up is a kind of coping mechanism we used to deal with fear. We adopted beliefs and identifications in order to feel more safe. We abandoned parts of ourselves because they seemed scary or didn’t fit who we thought we needed to be to be safe and loved.
How can we find healing for this?
These parts of us are, in some ways, like scared and confused children. So the answer is to meet these parts of us as we would scared and hurting children.
We can meet them with respect, kindness, patience, and curiosity. We can get to know them. Listen to what they have to say. Help them examine their scary stories and find what’s already more true. Be a safe habor for them. Remember they have their own process and timing.
Find love for them and their process, and for ourselves being a parent to them.Read More