The Eyes of a Child

“Children are not supposed to have fun,” I told my grandchildren with a straight face several years ago. They were about five and six years old at the time. I explained,”They start laughing, then bouncing up and down, running around, and if they don’t hurt themselves, or break something, they become disturbers of the peace – at least.” Both of their faces got those twisted up looks little children get when they puzzle over something, but they didn’t say anything as they went out the door to play.

I am not a mean grandfather, but I like to test children and encourage them to think. Having already provided an explanation, for the next few days I simply said,”Remember, NO fun,” as they headed for the door. Finally one day, my granddaughter turned to me and said,”But Grandpa, it’s what we do!” Her look of serious innocence made it impossible not to laugh. She went out the door with a big grin because she was now certain that I was joking with them. After that, they would just laugh whenever I reminded them to have NO fun. It even became a joke with other children in the neighborhood.

I envy the simplicity of how children see life. The world of adulthood is complex and many of us suffer stress that affects our physical and emotional health, which just makes everything much more complex. I suspect that most of us have taken it for granted that life is complicated; we don’t even questioned if that complexity is really necessary.

Science and the “scientific method” has enabled humankind to dissect the physical universe to understand its complex workings. Technology is the application of this complex understanding to make stuff that is quite impressive. Seeing that the inner workings of the universe are complex, that we can make equally complex marvels with this complex understanding, it only seemed natural to create complex social structures… that are now collapsing and nobody knows how to fix? This may be a sign that we have made things too complicated.

We have become so enamored with our technological prowess that we cannot understand how anyone can do anything without it. We wonder how primitive people built the likes of Stonehenge and the Pyramids without our wondrous technology. I suspect, if one of those primitive engineers were somehow brought here today, the explanation of their methods would start with,”It’s simple…”

I am certain that, if I tried to explain our current economic crises to a five year old, they would just shake their head and walk away saying, “That’s too complicated!” Sadly, that probably is the problem summed up “in a nutshell.” Actually, I suspect the five year old would more naturally respond with something like, “That’s crazy.”

The global economic crises, the crime of identity theft, and the controversial anti-piracy bills currently before the U.S. Congress are indicators that the birth of E-commerce was premature. Free Trade agreements are the equivalent of taking the bulkheads out of ocean going vessels; if you start taking on water in one part of the ship, the whole ship floods and goes down. The short-sighted Captains of Industry saw E-commerce and Free Trade Acts as the futuristic way to make more profit and told their properly purchased political puppets (try to say that three times fast!) This plan was successful in the short term as “one percent” gathered most of the wealth to themselves, but have they realized yet that, if the ship goes down, they go down too?

It can’t be that simple you say? It isn’t that simple if you’re trying fix the problems and maintain your fortune, or trying to keep your political seat without campaign funding. Otherwise, it is that simple; ask any child!

We can still find beauty in life if we try to look at the world through the eyes of our children, particularly in the pre-school years. They see the world simply because they haven’t been infected with the “knowledge base” that modern society is so proud of and overwhelmed by. Coincidentally, the ancestors that created the likes of Stonehenge and the Pyramids didn’t have that knowledge base to be overwhelmed by, either. Perhaps, learning to look at the world and life through child-like eyes will enable us to find lost wisdom.

A lovely Christian lady (and I use that word with its full meaning) indicated that it would be helpful if she had some understanding of Paganism. While I consider myself a Pagan, I do not see myself as any kind of expert on the matter, and Pagan beliefs are diversified enough that any “generalized statement” has the potential for controversy. I must admit (sheepishly) that I kinda, sorta, might have suggested checking out my blog roll for some of that. I must also admit (equally sheepishly) that I may not have realized that I was actually responding to her request with some recent posts. This brings us to the ironic purpose of this post.

Understanding of The Sacred Circle and Beauty In Light is found through child-like eyes. I invoked our worldly knowledge base for the latter two-thirds of The Sacred Circle to emphasize Black Elk’s wisdom, but I didn’t invoke the knowledge base until the final paragraph of Beauty In Light to provide contrast and irony. However, the foundation of both posts were the early parts of each post. If my limited vision of the path that unfolds before me has any accuracy, the ability to view the world through eyes like a child will be fundamental to some future posts. That ability is essential to understand the Ancient Ones, and that is ironic.

Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 18:3 ASV)

Does it seem strange that Jesus may have provided a bridge between Christianity and Paganism? The irony here is that similar quotes appear in three out of four Gospels: Matt 18:3 ASV (above), Mark 10:14 NIV, and Luke 18:16 NASB. If you cannot see with eyes like a child, you probably won’t understand ancient (Pagan) beliefs, AND if you do not become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. I will stop now because I need to contemplate this one more myself.

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8 thoughts on “The Eyes of a Child

  1. Don’t you love the Infinity Mirror of thoughts which reflect other thoughts, which reflect…(hey wait…that’s a new one…) “New Eyes.” That’s a concept I shared with my daughter on New Year’s Eve–her baby is now almost 5 months old & we’re all seeing the world as if through her beautiful baby-blues. “New Eyes” as in the Olympus SP-810UZ my husband gave me for Solstice, to capture the everyday world in unusual ways. “New Eyes” as in seeing the positive potential in all things, regardless of what doom&gloom predictions declare themselves as “truth.”

    As always, your post is insightful, entertaining, and inspiring. Don’t be surprised if you see reflections of your post in the posts of others… and hear the neighborhood children wishing each other a jolly No-Fun-Day!

    Blessed Be.

  2. Thank you for your kind words and do enjoy your grandchild. I remember when our grandchildren saw their first star. We let them stay up late on a summer Saturday night so we could have a fire and give them their first taste of toasted marshmallows. We hadn’t thought that they were usually inside and/or in bed when the stars came out, so we were surprised by their excitement. This really awakened me to the renewal we can receive by looking at things through their eyes. Blessed be.

  3. What a wonderful article. Just loved it. My hubby says I’m like a child sometimes (often); but he uses it as compliment in its fullest way. THANK YOU is my response. I did not get to be a child when I was one in age. Life just wasn’t that way in our house(s). So, now at a Grandmotherly age, it is my delight and on-going pleasure to just be that child which I had never gotten to be. Great fun!
    So, your writing makes me smile, feel happy and good inside. THANK YOU, Steve. You are a wonderful person ! Teresa

  4. One of the advantages of being adult (theoretically) is knowing when it is acceptable to be as a child; children usually cannot help it… it’s what they are! I couldn’t help thinking about how childhood can be a very different thing in different parts of the world, as I wrote this piece. I didn’t think about how true that is anywhere – including here, but I believe children come into the world everywhere as a “blank slate,” so they do carry an initial inherent innocence everywhere which is the essence of this article. Nevertheless, it is an excellent thing when any of us can experience the joy of the simplicity of being child-like at any time in our lives. It is a good time to also remember why society seems to think we aren’t supposed to have fun! Blessed be, dear lady.

  5. Paganism is not being an atheist. My description of Pagan Beliefs is that its Christianity with a twist. Its applying all the Christian principles to non-Christians, to plants, rocks, soil, animals, fish, birds, the water, the air, the sun, the moon, stars, and the inexplicable that made all these possible.

    I love your post. And I think Jesus would love it too.

  6. The Free Dictionary provides this definition of “pagan”:

    “2. a person who follows a polytheistic or pre-Christian religion (not a Christian or Muslim or Jew);”

    My experience with Christianity indicates to me that many Christians view any non-Christian as a pagan. This also include atheists. Some have made this appellation their own; they have embraced it, in other words. Others have rejected it because of its derogatory nature. It has become a hotly debated issue in some “Pagan” circles. It appears to be a matter of “point-of-view,” and a sensitive one.

    I believe the Divine Spirit reveals (as in revelation) itself to individuals as Divine Spirit chooses. I think the crime of some religions is to think they have the authority to dictate to Spirit how it should reveal itself to other people. This shows NO respect for Divine Spirit. Although I suspect that we all may be essentially talking about the same divinity, I cannot go so far as to say that Paganism is Christianity with a twist.

    It seems more appropriate here to differentiate Christian “spirituality” from Christian “religion.” In this manner, we could say that the Christian religion is “Christianity with a twist.” I do not think you will see those religious people crossing that bridge soon.

    I do appreciate your heart for making peace between the warring factions, though. Blessed be, dear lady.

  7. Steve, you are onto something major here! These are things that I love to read and contemplate, and I could not have illustrated nor compared my thoughts to real life instances in the way you have. I love the way you think when you said ‘the ancestors that created the likes of Stonehenge and the Pyramids didn’t have that knowledge base to be overwhelmed by, either. Perhaps, learning to look at the world and life through child-like eyes will enable us to find lost wisdom.” Perhaps you are right, and I believe you are much closer to this truth than the general population. The closing paragraph was provoking and to me convincing enough. About ten years ago when I was a church goer and ‘bible pounder’ I would have fainted away from reading this. But now I so appreciate this perspective and share the sentiments with you as well. We must open our minds and explore these new ways of thinking (at least, new to us), and question the the things we think we already know so well. I think the biggest hindrance is the fact that we have labeled everything and not left any room for growth and/or error. We get way to complacent with the comfortable and easy answers. One great hope of mine would be that we would talk less and listen more, and care enough, or at least dare enough to want to grow into something more than what we have attained already. After all, where is the mystery and the fun in life if we lose our curiosity and passion to learn? I think that is a huge part of what life is (or should be) about.
    Thanks for sharing this Steve. I applaud your bravery and your efforts in your thinking and your writings, and for passing it along to us. I really enjoyed and even appreciate the mind stimulation. You have given me something to further contemplate today. Thank you.
    Love, light, and hugs
    Celeste

  8. Thank you, Celeste. While it was not intended, my path does seem to have been an exercise in comparative religion in retrospect. This is not to say that I have studied all beliefs or that I am an expert in any. However, it has been a “natural” path for me. The most notable “thing” to me tends to be the similarities after you sift through the “language of religion.” For this reason, my intention is not to convert or discourage anyone from their chosen path, but rather to promote understanding between people of different beliefs. There are times when I suspect I sound harsh and critical concerning some factions, but that is only because some people (particularly political candidates at this time) prefer to magnify fears and separation simply to meet their own very selfish ends. I believe that many solutions to the problems humankind faces today lie in cooperation that can only be fostered by understanding. Kabbalist Rav Michael Laitman (www.laitman.com) calls this concept “mutual guarantee.” Your comments certainly are encouraging and appreciated.

    Blessed be.

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