MattAndJojang's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Children

Light Playing On Children’s Faces

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Photo: pexels.com

 

Out of nowhere, the mind comes forth.

–The Diamond Sutra

Usually people work hard to make things happen. Yet it might be that things happen by themselves, coming out of nowhere. Here’s a story about understanding coming out of nowhere for a child in kindergarten.

Some of the old school buildings in Los Angeles had high ceilings and clerestory windows. A boy was sitting at his little chair in kindergarten when he saw the yellow light coming in through the high windows. Dust motes swirled in the beam of light. He noticed how bright they were and kept watching; then, suddenly there was no distance between him and the light. He disappeared. He didn’t know how long he was gone; there was no time. When he heard a voice calling, he didn’t recognize the name at first; it didn’t have anything to do with him. Then he heard the other children laughing and wondered what they were laughing about. It was the teacher calling him. After that, the things he saw were beautiful in themselves. Faces seemed more real, and what was real was beautiful. He didn’t really have a name anymore; he was the beam of light. And it didn’t have to be a beam of light. It could be a Coke can or another child, and he would feel that connection. His sense of yours and mine had shifted to something like, “My hamburger is yours, your house is mine.” When the grownups around him fought and argued, he felt sad for them, that they didn’t understand, and couldn’t see what he could see…

The child’s mind is not free because it’s a child’s mind; it’s just free because it’s free. Here is another example of the free mind at work. Usually, people think of death as very important and gruesome. Yet if you are identified with the background, the inconceivable nowhere that the foreground came out of, death might not be a terribly significant event. It might not mean what you expect it to mean. When her mother was dying, a friend took her young son back to his grandmother’s home. The grandmother had a special bed with a railing around it. The boy couldn’t walk yet but would cruise along using tables and the bed railing to hold himself up as he went. The two women watched him. He looked very cute, which was their word for thusness. The dying woman said, “Oh, I’ll always remember that.”

If children can have a natural clarity, you might too, even if you remember no operatic enlightenment experience. There might be no good reason for this clarity; it could be something that just is the case, like a tree, like life. All you would need to do is to notice that things are clear, or to throw overboard the idea that things are not already clear. You could find that courses of action appear to you out of nowhere just the way the next moment does. Your navigation could unfold by itself, and the universe might provide the beauty and happiness you seek.

When you forget your carefully assembled fiction of who you are, you can find a natural delight in people, in the planet, the stones, and the trees. There is no observable limit to this beauty, and no one is excluded from it. Then, if you are fighting an enemy, you may be fighting them as well as you can, but you won’t be a true believer. You will know that an enemy is not truly other and that the fighting is some kind of misunderstanding. The worries that lead to quarrels may still be present, but they are not the main thing. Your problems could be a kind of dream, very powerful when you are in it, and yet a dream. You might notice that, even deep in dreaming, you are near to waking up. And the more you are awake, the kinder the world might seem.

–John Tarrant

Written by MattAndJojang

November 14, 2018 at 10:14 am

Words That Shimmer

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Photo: John Williams/Flickr

We crave truth tellers. We crave real truth. There is so much baloney all the time. You know, the performance of political speech, of speeches you say on the news, doesn’t it often feel to you like there should be a thought bubble over it that says, you know, what I really would say if I could say it. You know, these people who I oppose, I don’t like them and I don’t want to work with them because they’re obstructionist, but I have to act like I want to partner with them because that’s the accepted form of discourse, but in fact, it’s not really getting us anywhere. Or, you know how I think of on things like, I don’t know, comedy shows when there’s a little ticker tape underneath it says “she’s lying”. That’s how I experience sometimes that sort of speech as well.

So I think, you know, I learn so much every day from being a mother. My sons are 11 and 12 and you see the way that children — they know when they’re being bamboozled. And they also are drawn toward language that shimmers, individuals words with power.

They will stop you and ask you to repeat a shimmering word if they’re hearing it for the first time. You can see it in their faces…

~ Elizabeth Alexander

Written by MattAndJojang

January 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm

On Children

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bow-arrow

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Kahlil Gibran

Written by MattAndJojang

January 13, 2009 at 7:57 am

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