Spiritual Child’s Play

September 15th, 2009

 

“Stay present: every second, every minute, and every hour. Every day of your life is full of present moments of infinite value. You won’t find God yesterday or tomorrow–your Source is always only here, now.”

 

Wayne Dyer, Excuses Begone!

 

 

photo courtesy of Lynn Nagel
photo courtesy of Lynn Nagel

 

 

In his new book, Wayne Dyer talks about the value of staying present in the now as a tool for ridding ourselves of excuses that we may use for not leading our most fulfilling lives.  Staying present in the now, without judging it in any way, will assist us in not slipping into old excuse patterns of blaming the past, our past, someone else’s past, possible future failures or any other not-now-time event or person for who we are in the present moment.

 

Unfortunately, as we get older, getting into the now and staying constantly present is a huge challenge.  Turning off the constant distractions in our own head seems to require a special remote control that we’ve certainly misplaced (along with the TV remote, right?).  You know what distractions I’m talking about.  The constant judgements you place on yourself and others.  The little (and sometimes lengthy) conversations you have in your own head while standing in front of another person pretending to listen to them.  The all-day mental, physical and emotional multi-tasking we do without even noticing that we’re not fully attending to one darned thing.

 

When we do land in the present moment, it’s almost as if by accident.  And we often wonder how we got there and what’s the quickest route back to “reality” or the place we were before we were so rudely kidnapped by our awakened nowness.

 

Is it all doom and gloom for our scattered souls?  No way.  There’s most definitely hope for the everywhere-but-here-and-now human race.  I’ve seen it.  And it was packaged as a young child.  Made me realize that hitting the “distractions off” button on that elusive remote was not difficult in the least.  In fact, it was pure child’s play.

 

flickr photo
flickr photo

 

Think about it.  When you see a child at play–whether the child is entranced in the world of Barbies or constructing whole cities in the sandbox–are they fully alert to every little disturbance in the outside world?  (If they were, there’d never be a need to call them twice for dinner.)  They truly seem to be totally immersed in the present, fully absorbed in the moment, then the next moment, then the next.  You get the drift, right? 

 

As I was reading about this in Wayne Dyer’s Excuses Begone! book, I suddenly understood and instantly forgave the “thoughtless” (parental label, not mine) young Lori who often, as good girls do, instinctively agreed to parental requests and ten seconds later completely forgot them.  I can remember apologizing so much as a child because my mom had asked me to do something.  Wanting to please her, I said I would (and was sincere in my intention to do it “soon”).   I’d promptly go back to whatever I had been doing before she asked.  Ten minutes later, when asked why I hadn’t done what I promised to do, I would lamely offer, “I’m sorry.  I forgot.”  My poor frustrated mother couldn’t understand how I could have forgotten something I just promised to do a few minutes earlier.  Honestly, I was baffled at myself and lived with a fair share of guilt.

 

I now realize that in my child’s play, I was able to turn off the outside world of distractions (including parents), be in the present moment, partly remove myself from that moment in order to answer mom’s request, and then slip right back into the now.  The now of my imagination or playtime was where life was really happening.  Not the anticipation or anxiety of future tasks that were requested of me.  They weren’t in the now and could not distract me for long.  (Sorry mom, dad, teacher, babysitter, or anyone else I “forgot” to fulfill promises to.)

 

girl playing in sandbox

 

Total immersion in the present is something that children do so easily.  As easy as breathing or playing.  With a little effort, it’s also something we can do now to get into the now and stay in the now, moment by moment by moment.  Finding a quiet space inside yourself by focusing on your breathing (a wonderful moment by moment activity that I do during yoga practice) is one way to learn to be more present.  Meditating and allowing outter and inner distractions to flow through the now (without judging them) is another.  Repeating affirmations about staying fully present will also lead you to become that person that’s right here, right now, and still now, and still now….and one with the Universe.

 

Here’s a challenge for you:  Try staying present for part of your day, with the person you’re with, with just one thought, with what you are seeing, hearing or smelling right now.  If this is a bit overwhelming, just stay present with your breath for an extended period of time and see if you feel any different.  And one more thing.  If your mom asks you to do something, be fully present when you answer her or make her a promise.   I guarantee that she’ll be listening to your response with undivided attention.

 

Life is really good!  Namaste.  –Lori


5 Responses to “Spiritual Child’s Play”

  1. Doing this will do wonders for your relationships, too. I know from experience, because this past Summer, I did my best to always be “present” with my daughter, and as a result, this was the best Summer we’ve ever had together. With friends and colleagues at work, I’ve noticed that they enjoy spending time with me more, because I give them my undivided attention. Being present is so rare these days, and it truly makes the people you are with feel special. It’s a good gift to give anyone, but especially yourself.

    Thanks for another awesome post, Lori!

  2. Jay, I remember you mentioning this to me in a comment from one of my early posts. I can only imagine what a wonderful gift it was for your daughter to have you truly present in her life this summer. You’re my inspiration. –Lori

  3. Lori, this is SO TRUE about children, and witnessing this kind of absorption in my own children has been one of the unexpected gifts of parenting for me. On the other hand, as a parent, things would often run smoother if they would ‘just listen’ and I have to restrain myself from trying to make them do everything on my time table. But learning to play with them, which at first I admit I found quite dull at times, without any expectation of where it is going or when it will end has been such a lesson for me, and you expressed that beautifully here. Namaste-

  4. Lisa, I can really relate. I had such a hard time getting into the world of the child when my daughter was young. The words “control freak” and “uptight” spring to mind when I think of myself as a young mother. I think I’d do better now, but she’s already a teenager and would rather play with people her own age now. Oh, well.

  5. How I wish to master living in the NOW. But it is never easy, nevertheless I know the benefits it would brings me if I have fully grasped it. You are right with your observation about children, they are masters of the Now, they are carefree and has put all their faculties to their present activities.

    It’s nice you have shared this wisdom. :-)

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