by Ananda Giri, I am certainly not the kind that believes in an omnipotent God but if God were to be perceived as an act of help…
then I must say that the conscious children of this generation are the gods of our new era.
Some of us refer to these gifted kids as ‘indigo children’, while others believe them to be ‘sparks of God’ or ‘reincarnated masters’. I see them as conscious individuals with a new way of thinking and a whole new way of being. They seem to live in awareness of the world of which they are a part, while at the same time experiencing a deep connection with it. The relationship they share with themselves, with the other and with the world around, permits them to feel very little sadness or loneliness.
COULD THIS NEW WAY OF BEING BE A RESULT OF THEIR INCLUSIVE THINKING?
I do agree that our rapidly changing times, with its exponentially growing technologies have certainly influenced our way of thinking. Most children of today are more world centric in their thinking compared to our yesteryear generations. The information driven world that we live in today has given birth to new friendships: inter-religious friendships, inter-racial friendships, inter-cultural friendships and international friendships.
While this is all true, I am still of the opinion that the biggest influence on the child is its immediate environment and particularly the parents. The child not only observes and learns from its parent’s actions but is equally perceptive to its parents thinking as well.
The conviction I experience in regards to the views I share is the result of my interactions with a gifted child. Although I am a monk myself living with a community of dedicated teachers, I have had the fortune of being friends with a little one. My interactions with her over the last several years have influenced my own views of the world. I feel compelled to share with you what I see in this child and may be in children like her that live amongst us.
The name of this little girl is Lokaa, a Sanskrit name meaning ‘one who inspires wisdom’. She lives with her parents in Chennai, a large metropolis in southern India with a population of well over ten million. Her parents home school her, which was a choice they had made while she was still a toddler. Occasionally she would join educational camps to improvise on her social skills. Where specialized education needs to be imparted to the child, the respective teachers would visit her at her home and the parents would be personally involved in choosing the right teacher. Her parents looked for a teacher who is more than just a knowledge bank, some one that can connect with the child, and some one that taught from a place of friendship instead of coming from a place of authority. From what little I have seen, it is evident to me that the parents are more than dedicated to contributing a beautiful citizen to this world.
During one of those homeschooling classes, Lokaa’s poetry teacher recited a poem titled ‘Inside outside’ and asked her to rewrite the poem. She had to replace the main character in the poem with herself. Lokaa, following the teacher’s instruction, wrote the poem but the teacher looked quite confused with what Lokaa had written. The teacher tried explaining to the child once again what the poem actually meant but without much success. The teacher then tried reasoning with the child persuading her to change her point of view. Their worlds would never meet. The teacher had no clue as to what Lokaa was attempting to communicate and Lokaa had no hint regarding the world that belonged to the conformist. The teacher quite unsure if it was Lokaa’s stubbornness or her lack of understanding walked up to Lokaa’s mother suggesting to her that there could be something wrong with Lokaa’s understanding. The teacher showed to Lokaa’s mother the poem she had written and at the same time also explaining to the mother what the poem should have been like. Of course the mother understood what Lokaa had written.
Inside outside poetry (original version)
My inside self and my outside self
Are different as can be
My outside self wears dumb clothes
and very short is she.
Dumb freckles sprinkled on her nose
With dumb, short, curly hair,
And not pretty at all,
with no one to care.
My inside self is different
You can see
A lovely Ballerina
Dancing inside of me.
Lovely blond hair
As tall as can be,
Her face is soft,
Her hair so light,
Her feet twinkling
as she dances
Out of sight!
Lokaa had to portray her ugly outer self and an imagined beautiful inner self and take comfort in an imagined beautiful inner self although ugly on the outside. And this was Lokaa’s version of it.
I am pretty
as a buzzing bee
I don’t want to be anyone
Different than me
I’m smart and intelligent,
Sweet and kind,
How should I change
what is already fine?
I want to be a friend
to all who are good
I am me
and you are you!
Obviously as one can see from Lokaa’s version of the poem, there seems to be no element of comparison of her outer self with her inner self or for that matter any form of comparison of herself with another. Her poem appears to be an actual portrayal of what she sees herself to be.
While so many of us spend a whole life time trying to become something that we are not, it was a pleasant surprise to see someone who was so absolutely comfortable with the truth of what she is. Could it be possible that someone who is so much at ease with oneself is naturally kind to the world around?
COULD THIS WAY OF BEING BE THE KEY TO A COMPASSIONATE LIFE?
What makes life so much more challenging for the human species, is that you cannot just live for your self. You have to concern yourself with the well being of your surroundings. It appears that we will not be able to feel at ease with ourselves until we have found that little compassion in our hearts. May be our brains are wired to live supporting each other.
What must one do in order to push oneself to that place of little compassion or is it possible that one flowers into that compassion without having to forcibly cultivate it?
I do believe that a mind which is not at war with itself will move in to a place of compassion easily and will need no pushing from any of our religious/spiritual institutions. On the contrary no person or institution could possibly force one in to a state of compassion. A child, when not engaged in a war with itself is happy at heart and a happy child needs very little education on loving another.
Are not all children born happy and loving? Probably yes. But why do they not continue to grow in this innocence, love and inclusive thinking. What are some of the major influences that shape a child’s thinking process?
Living in a society that is continuously comparing oneself with another and oneself with one’s ideal self, is it even possible that one is not constantly measuring oneself or not be conflicted with in?
No child can be totally isolated from society’s influences and there is no need to do so either. Despite all it’s influences, a right parent can make all the difference. It is my belief that no institution can impact a child’s way of thinking like a conscious parent does.
Lokaa believes that a happy heart is the way to a happy world and to manifest her vision for a happy world, she founded ‘HAPPY HEARTS HAPPY WORLD’, an organization to inspire a new way of thinking in the children of our world. She created this organization when she was seven years of age. ‘Happy Hearts Happy World’ is currently involved in supporting a local orphanage in Chennai with more than a thousand orphaned children in it.
I was always inspired by her way of thinking and now deeply moved by her new act ‘Happy Hearts Happy World’, I wanted to be a part of it myself. I approached her asking if I could be a part of her new organization for which she responded saying, “No you cannot be a member of this foundation. This is by the children and for the children. Only children can be a part of this and not grown up’s like yourself. You could however support us by introducing us to new children around the world and may be identify more opportunities for us to serve”.
May be she was right in saying so. Could I ever understand her way of thinking? It would be unfair for anyone to interfere with her perceptions or influence her way of thinking, certainly not if her thinking is already so inclusive in nature.
Curious to get a glimpse in to her world I asked her “Lokaa, what inspired you to create Happy Hearts Happy World? Do you believe that you will be rewarded for your kind actions?”
I saw a problem with my own way of thinking even as I asked this question to Lokaa. I was approaching the question with a presupposed answer in my mind. May be this is one of the many inadequacies in our current way of thinking: to approach a question with an answer in mind already. How is learning ever going to be possible with this kind of thinking.
Having become conscious of my own defective way of thinking, I rephrased my questions and tried being a little vulnerable in my approach. I asked her ‘do you believe in God? Do you believe in karma?’ for which she responded saying ‘I don’t understand what you are talking about’. I continued with my next question ‘do you believe in being rewarded for your compassionate acts?’ and her response to it was ‘rewarded by whom’. Quite frustrated with my meaningless questions, she said ‘can we speak of something else instead, these questions don’t make any sense to me’. I asked her a more meaningful one this time ‘could you share with us what inspires you to do what you are doing?’ And her answer was simple, ‘I am happy doing it, I enjoy doing it’. I had to follow it up with another question, ‘what if you stopped enjoying it’ and her response was, ‘if I didn’t enjoy it, I would stop doing it. But I really enjoy helping others. I don’t understand why you even ask questions like what if, while I am still enjoying what I do’.
I had a small peek in to her world for which I was grateful. I was now happy to let her go and play with her friends. I know I was being selfish in troubling her with all these questions, but it helps me reflect on my own ways of thinking.
When you come across kids like these whose acts of compassion are not based on any belief in some sort of super natural force, whose deeds of kindness are not motivated by a possible reward they may find in the immediate future, distant future or the life after, one feels compelled to ask questions like;
Do we need God-fearing children to make this world a better place?
Do we need karma believing generations to act compassionately?
How relevant is God (idea of God) in living a life of compassion?
Earlier this year, one of Lokaa’s tennis teachers in an effort to motivate her asked her if she doesn’t feel sad or worried if she lost a game to her friend. Later that evening after finishing her tennis lessons for the day, she was sharing with us the conversation she had with her coach and remarked, ‘I have a desire to win but do I have to worry if I didn’t. I can’t feel sad just because the other person played better. Should I mama!’
Every time Lokaa makes such remarks, we have a glimpse in to her beautiful world, a world where there is no discrimination.
One might ask what makes me so certain about my views. I trust what I see, other than that I have no definite answers to rationalize my certainty. All I know is, I have interacted with a gifted child and I believe there are many children like her in this world. May be these gifted kids are in our own home or in our neighborhood. May be we have to step out of our own conformities to be able to discover them or appreciate their world. If love is to be interpreted as sensitivity to the life around us, then yes these kids are the most loving creatures one could imagine.
It is my dream that Lokaa can connect with all these gifted children living amongst us and inspire a brand new world with a whole new way of thinking. Children are not to be perceived as future leaders but as the leaders of today.
I am convinced that these children are the gods of the new world!
by Ananda Giri, Senior Faculty Teacher at One World Academy:
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