This week I had the pleasure to take my little girl, Rosanne, out for a couple of long walks in the park. Rosanne, a 2 ½ year old toddler, was joyful and curious about everything she discovered. A spider in a web, a couple of ducks in the water, little twigs on the ground or flowers she could pick. Everything was interesting, nothing remained unnoticed. She was really enjoying herself; and I did too, watching her having so much fun. Watching her being happy.
When we go out for our walks, we walk side by side, talking, playing, laughing and occasionally chasing each other. We’re always having fun! And when she is tired, I’ll put her up on my shoulders so she can rest for a while and to make sure she has a great view of the surroundings.
At one occasion it had rained in the morning and the trail was still wet. Splashing is one of her favorite things to do, so she could not walk by all the puddles, still filled with water, without stamping her little feet in them. We began naming the puddles: big puddles, little puddles and baby puddles. In that moment life was very simple. There was no greater joy than standing in a big puddle. No worries remained about all the unimportant stuff in life, only the puddles mattered. It was a moment of true happiness.
In my opinion we can learn more from children than the best guru or enlightened master can teach us. Children, when they are young, naturally live in the now, in the moment. This is a great teaching. It will keep you young and alert. If you stop for a moment and are willing to be open, a piece of that natural playfulness and awareness will be transmitted to you; changing you forever. Changing your priorities and teaching you what is really important and what is not.
In Zen Buddhism they often talk about a mind which is fresh, playful, enthusiastic and open. A mind that is not conditioned by the outside world: A Zen mind or enlightened mind. A mind like that of a child: A beginners mind.
I look forward to all the walks we can do in the future. I want to feel like a child, be a child. And Rosanne is my teacher, my little Buddha.