Last month we went on a family trip. Being the first travel post COVID, after almost a year in confinement, we were all looking forward to it. It was an opportunity to escape from the familiar circumstances and wash away the stress accumulated through these long months.
However, the trip didn’t turn out as exciting as we imagined it to be. Somewhere between the inconveniences of wearing the mask, keeping social distance, taking care not to touch any surface, and the unending words of caution from my dad, the journey lost its fun. Moreover, nothing seemed as exciting as we imagined during those months in lockdown.
But amidst all this, one among the seven of us was having the time of his life: my five-year-old nephew. He was running around, shouting excitedly, laughing and dancing like he was in Disney Land. His excitement lasted almost a week after the trip.
I was happy that at least he could be in the moment and enjoy everything without the burden of presumption and ego.
Losing Childhood Innocence
Growing up, we have developed assumptions and prejudices. We do not perceive things as they are but recollect the experience with them. This prejudice has clouded our senses so much so that everything seems drab and uninteresting.
Simultaneously we have lost the sense of empathy. Through years of this self-appraising, we have concluded that the universe revolves around us. Our actions, designed to project our self-assumed greatness, keep on feeding the ego, making us narcissists in varying degrees.
Moreover, these pretensions have made us insensitive to others. We no longer care — but pretend we do — about other’s feelings. Such callousness has transformed us into robots. Everything we do today caters to our egocentric view. We have forsaken the heavenly gift of love and are suffering the consequences.
Falling into the pit
Such unloving existence has made our lives at best uncomfortable; at worst, miserable. In the process of cutting out the commitments and relations, we cut out all the joy and are left with a deep hole in our hearts.
Now nothing excites us. The insensitiveness has made us zombies. No amount of partying, traveling, or binge-watching Netflix fills the gap. Each day is drab, and we are eternally dissatisfied.
Life has lost all its color. Everything appears unattractive and stale. Even our ego, which we cared for so much, has become a burden too heavy to carry around. Thus our presumptions and ego have sucked the life out, unbeknownst to us.
Nurturing the Child inside
How can we escape this fate? Will a ton load of money make us happy, as we believe? It is proven that those who are filthy rich, like someone who won a lottery, are not ecstatic. They are as miserable as any other. So acquiring lucre and material fortune is not the way.
Maybe it is the other way around. Giving up is the way to feel alive again. Not only the blind pursuit of money and material benefits but also our ego should be left behind. In other words, we should be like children. Nurturing the child inside us, I believe, is the way to get out of this misery.
As they are not burdened by the luggage of prejudice, children are happy. They open-heartedly approach things and hence the world feels marvelous. Like a child, we also can adopt new eyes to see the world, rather than clinging to prejudice. The same goes for relationships. If we stop judging people, we can indeed improve the quality of relations.
Our inflated self-importance is another obstacle. Float through the flow of the world by giving up the weight of ego. If we give up the burden, we can experiment with life and allow ourselves to make mistakes. Be bold enough to dance, cry, laugh loud, and live without pretensions.
Stop dwelling in the past and worrying about the future. Live in the present like children. The only time we have control over is now. It falls within our power to make it beautiful or excruciating.
Regaining the joy
The notion that we may appear stupid when we act like children is ill presumed. Look how happy and content children are. To be like children — to experiment, observe, tell the truth and perceive the world in wonder — takes a lot of courage and intelligence.
If we can do that, life will gradually acquire the lost colors again. Experiences appear attractive and fresh winds start blowing away the staleness. Giving up on our ego will improve the quality of our relations; subsequently, we will regain the lost trust in humanity. How fun it will be to perceive life as an expedition through a mysterious land! Then life transforms into an adventure, where everything, big and small, appears colorful.
Be happy, be innocent, be childlike.
Thank you for reading. Please post your opinions in the comment box below.