WHEN I PLAY WITH YOU I AM A CHILD AGAIN
– Satsang Excerpt on Education –
Seeker: I have a question about children. Is it necessary to support them in developing the sense of Ego,
the strong sense of ‘I’, that they have to later transcend?
Guruji Sri Vast:
Most of the problems we face in the society are, because we never allowed anyone to be a child. Most of the grown-ups are behaving childish, because they never had the opportunity to be a child. So when they grow up, they somehow get the opportunity to be a child.
All our education is future oriented. There is no education given to a child to explore the present. Before the age of eight they learn to read and count up to 10,000. Even the number 1000 at the age of eight is useless to a child. What are they going to do with that number? A thousand toys or what? It is useless information. We prepare the child for the future; one day this information will be useful. From the childhood itself, we train them towards the future. We create the future. We create the dream towards the future and we motivate the future. We say, “Prepare well now, and your good result will be in the future.” It is a future oriented education, nothing is there for ‘right now’. Right now, what does the child want to do? It wants to play, it wants to be wild, it wants to be, to just explore.
When the children say, they have seen the elephant with five legs, is it right or wrong? According to the adult, it is wrong. So what do we do? We correct them. We say, “It is impossible. You are wrong. The elephant got only four legs.” The child says “No, it has five legs!” We force them to believe that there are only four legs, instead of wondering, in what way we lost the opportunity to see the fifth one? See, no need to raise the children. Everything is raised by its own. What is there to develop? Whatever came, it came already developed.
We prepare them to fit in our social setup, to fight or to be tricky. We provide this society to them. We teach them about our history, which was full of wars and conquerers. It is the past. Then we teach them about the future, all the technology and mathematics. We teach everything about how to manage the world which we are living in. A world which we ourselves are trying to free from. We ourselves are trying to free from this drama, but at the same time we teach our children how to fit into this drama. It is all unnecessary. They already came as Divine, as the Truth. If you want to do something good to the child, try to be a child with them.
Become a child. All your exploration is, that you want to know you. You want to meet you. You want to find yourself. All you want to do is, to become a child again, that is all. When you see the child, you have something in front of you, which is giving a great opportunity to accompany that child. Play with them! Be with them, and be them. Be a child! When you are with the child, don’t be an adult, but be a child. That is the only thing they are missing. They want the companionship, to see the world through their eyes; to see everything through the eyes of the innocent child, through the eyes of the emptiness. Where there is no manipulation, where there is no intention, where the thing is, just seeing, just sensing.
We usually sense through our mind, we sense through all the information we have developed throughout our Life. Through that, we see something. When the child sees, they do not have any information, they just see directly. In a way, what they are seeing is pure, un-manipulated. But we want to correct them, to say, what they are experiencing and sensing is wrong. We want to correct them. We want them to see Life through our experiences, which is not their experience, yet. Say, you are 35 years old and you want to teach them about Life. By raising the children with that view point, what Life are you going to teach? The Life of the 35 year old to the five year old child? They will have that experience when they reach 35. Now they have the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of a five year old. By training them, by planning and creating a world for them, we are in a way trying to remove 30 years of living experience from them. The Life is not experienced through their senses, but we are giving a readymade Life into their mind. They start to think from that point of view. In a way, we remove their whole childhood.
Even games; you buy children games, the toys, everything is defined. Even when you buy LEGO, there is a picture of how it could be used. It is defined, the outcome, the result is defined. On the LEGO box is a picture, and you expect the child to build according to this picture. So, what is the play now? There is no play. The only thing is to just follow the picture, because the play is already defined by some adult, by some educator, by some education method, by some pedagogues. Someone already defined how things are going to be, and we are training the children to see through that, how to explore through that. But as a child, the childhood itself is a pedagogy. The childhood itself is an experience. It is a non-directional teaching. We train them, we teach them how to see the world in which we feel miserable. What is the use of giving them the world, in which we ourselves are not happy? Let them imagine, let them fantasize, let them be curious, let them create the whole new world! Why don‘ we ask, if we can participate with them? “Is there any space in your world? I like to play with you. I like to become a child again, to be reborn.”
You have to understand, what you lost is your whole childhood. You are forced to be and forced to become. Now it became a habit to become something, it became a habit to be someone and we are busy in that.
Whatever system we give to the children, even the alternative system, we are trying to give a system. Then what exactly does the child need?
A child needs a space. A child does not need a teacher, it needs a person known as ‘co-knower’. Co-knower is the one, who is ready to know together, who is ready to explore together, who is ready to fantasize together, who is ready to be a child together. We do not need adults to raise the children, because the childhood is very, very important. At the age of five, they know what they are supposed to know. Not what is the name of the new president, what is the economy, what is our history, what is the morning prayer. No, that they don‘t want to know. They want to know how to experience, how to touch, and that they already know. So simple. When they are twenty, they know what is needed for twenty. Allow, and create space!
What you yourself are looking for is nothing but a space. Even if you go to an Ashram or any Teachings, you are trying to find that space so that you can experience it. But when some Teachings or some methodologies become too strong, then even that empty space is occupied. When are you going to experience your space?
Give space to yourself to experience your emptiness. In the same way, create space for the children to experience their emptiness. The parents may be afraid, “But they may not fit into the society.” May I know who fits into this society? Does anyone fit into this society? No!
No one fits into this society. I never met a person who fits into this society. Everyone is trying to fit into and be part of this society, without knowing what they are trying to be, that is the whole problem. It is simply a habit, trying to be part of this society. You yourself are creating this society, and you want to be accepted by your own creation. There is no society existing to fit in.
Now, there is something called childcare, it is separated. There are people who studied in the university to take care of the child. So we give the child to a professional and they are paid to take care of the children. As parents, we are busy, because we are going to get paid for doing something else, and we are paying somebody else to take care of our children.
Approach it radically! In the olden days there were no big goals. There was a Life Experience. Life is the only thing existing. A simply raw Life.
Experience the Life raw and uncooked. Without any recipe book, just a raw Life. What is a raw Life? Eating, sleeping, breathing, being and dying. So simple. Everything else is a creation in your mind, you are putting more spice in it, because everyone of you believes, your Life has a better mission. “I am not like anybody else, my Life has a better purpose.” So you want to do something better, something great. Building the road is not great, “I am going to do something greater, I want to help the world.” Who is really helping? The one who is building the road, cleaning the street? ‘I am going to be an artist’, ‘I am going to be a musician’, ‘I am going to be a poet’, ‘I am going to be an author’, ‘I am going to be a teacher’, ‘I am going to be a healer’, ‘I am going to be a president. I have a better purpose, I am not like everybody else’. See, even with all your better purposes, what will you do finally? You are running for food, a place to sleep, a place to be and a place to die. Simple. Your ego makes a lot of glorification and puts glittering things around it. Try to radically approach, what it is all about? A radical approach is needed, to know it and to come closer to you. It is not glittering words and a decorative language. No, radically and honestly: what exactly are you looking for at the end of the day? What are your fears?
Those villagers had a raw Life, no glitter around it, no decoration around it, but a raw Life, a direct living experience, the touch of the Nature. There was nothing existing called child-care or old-age home, because this was part of Living. The parents and children were not separated. And it was not like the parents had different things, ‘I want to go around the world, I want to explore, I want to do this’. They had no other goal than the child. The birth had only one goal, that was being together and experiencing the Being-ness. The child and parents, even the whole village became one single experience. Everyone took care of everyone. There was even no separation of a mother; if a child cried, someone came and took it, they would not have asked, ‘Where is the mother?’ There was such a confidence and trust. Because everyone was a parent, there was no one alien, there was no separation, there was no fear; such a confidence! Everyone was part of the Life.
But now it is different. We have no idea what is happening to the children in the school. We believe the educational system, the government system, the school system or someone will take care of our child. They will teach what they want to know or what they think is good for our child. We feel good as long as we have some time for ourselves and our own Life is not over.
Try to understand, it is a very beautiful question. It is easy to say, even though we love our children, but most of the time our children become burdens. I meet so many parents. They say, “Now my child is ten years old, after another eight years, when they become eighteen, I will be free. After that I can travel. After that I will do what I like to do.” Having this feeling, think about how the children feel inside? Even if you don‘t say, “You are my burden”. They will sense it, they will know, “I am misplaced. I am a burden. My parents are in prison because of me.” Somehow you wait for the children to free from you. You wait for them to learn how to sustain this world by themselves, so that they can stand on their own legs. Look deeply inside, get to know, “Why am I making all these theories? Why do I need someone else to introduce this world to my children, and what is my purpose of being here?” Because we are busy. In a way we feel the children are stopping our dreams, they are hindering our process. Being a father, being a mother is such a beautiful experience. It is a gift!
Try to look into it. It is an opportunity. It is an opportunity given to you, to take care of a God. It was an opportunity given to your parents too, when you were born. Raising children is raising a new humanity. Raising children is raising the consciousness. Raising children is an opportunity: something new can be explored, you become a child again, and you also get reborn.
All our problems are nothing. We are just strongly domesticated. Our educational system is one of the main mechanisms, which systematically domesticates us. What is the purpose of this domestication? Removing the wilderness from you. Making you to fit into this profit- and market oriented society and social structure. You become a citizen, and not a Being. That is something totally else: I become a ‘citizen of a country’, or I become a ‘Being’. We are all busy in becoming something.
In those olden days, the local based experience and sensing was alive; ‘I see the food, I like to eat it. I see something, I wish to touch it. I feel something, I like to smell it, I like to taste it’. It is local based experiencing and sensing. Now in the name of civilization, we have created a system called distant based sensing, which is happening through our mind. I want to see Australia, I want to feel it. I want to touch the Redwood forest in California. It is a distant based sensing, which is not in front of me right now. The more we learn, the more experiences are made with our minds, we create the space, we create the distance. It is one thing being in an Indian village and becoming aware of the Neem tree which is standing in front of you. The other thing is, becoming blind towards this tree and dreaming “It would be nice to do a Safari in Africa.” It is totally different.
Try to understand, it is a scientific question what you asked. Most of the people are searching. What exactly are you missing? What are you searching for? Seeking God? I have never seen anyone seeking God, to be honest. You cannot seek for God, because God is not hidden. You cannot search for something, which is not hidden. You are searching only for ‘you’ and what exactly do you mean with ‘you’? You are searching back to your wilderness, to your childhood, to an uninterpreted Life. You are coming all the way here in the name of finding yourself. In the name of finding the wilderness, the unknown state of yourself, because we are all simply domesticated. Now, when you have a child, an opportunity is given to you, that they do not have to become a seeker. You are always Divine. All your feelings, your problems are not big. Don‘t make them big, they are not permanent. “I feel like this.” So what? Why are you making that big? Because you keep on changing. Your feelings are changing. None of your feelings are permanent. Nothing is permanent and you yourself are not permanent. Your feelings are also not permanent. Your joy is not permanent, your sorrow is not permanent, everything is temporary. What is the use of finding a permanent solution for this temporary feeling? “I feel like this, I feel like that, because of this…” Whenever you feel something due to some reason, you say to yourself, “So what?” After some time you will feel something different, and after some time, you will again feel something different. That is the beauty of the Life, that you are not stagnant! You keep on changing. Nothing is permanent in you. You keep on changing. I feel sad, “Oh my God, I got the opportunity to feel sad.” I feel good, “Oh, again I got the opportunity, to feel good.”
Life is not happening to you. Don‘t take anything so seriously, let the Life flow through you. Never try to enter into finding a solution for your temporary feelings, which is again happening in your mind. Any solution to the illusion, is also an illusion. Your feeling is also an illusion. Whatever solution I am going to give, that is also an illusion.
Life is so beautiful. You can be busy in wondering about it, or you can be busy in enjoying it. Be a child, it is a better way to raise the child. When you become a child, you are not even raising a child, you are just being together. You will see a totally different world.
You can learn a lot from children by becoming a child. Why are you trusting the system to train your child? Every child comes with a natural intelligence. Everything which is manifested in a form, got a natural intelligence to sense the Life directly. By domesticating the child, we are removing their natural intelligence.
What I am keen on is, not to give the children in the hands of a system, which will alienate them, which will train them how to become a good citizen, how to behave, how to be part of the mono-cultured mind. I see the possibility in every child, and everyone of you, to be living in your own world. I want every child to be on their own, not being mono-cultured. The more and more we are mono-cultured, it is easy for us to consume uniformly. This is good for the market, not for you.
Seeker: I do not know about India, but I know in Europe children like to have the same thing as the other children. This is also a problem. It is not the parents choice. My daughter will say for stupid things, “This Mum, this is what I want!”
Guruji Sri Vast:
They are asking to have all the things, but not because they are in need of that. They are in need of something else. But what they see, from the childhood itself is that when a child cries, we give it a candy or a toy. You give something to them, but how long do you go and play with them? Observe, most of the time when children are crying, we give them something, so that they will not cry. We may not look, what exactly it is crying for. The child is crying for the Companion, or the Being, and it is crying for the warmth and the touch. But instead of providing that, we put on the TV or we give them a candy, or we even have this dummy, so that the child will not cry. There is a message in this crying, but we think it is not good, it is disturbing our actions.” What are we doing? We are disturbed, and we don‘t want the children to disturb us in what we are doing. So we like to stop them. We say, “As long as they are not crying, the children are okay.”
If they are silent we say, it is a good child, everything is perfect. By the time it cries, it is a signal that the child is not okay. So we train them, by giving them something; Whenever it wants something, it cries and we give that. Slowly, in the name of love, many other things are coming. We have the same attitude to express our love. We also give material to prove our love. We are slowly trained like that. Observe, what exactly is happening in between the child and you, when the child is crying? What kind of information is exchanged? For what is the child crying, and what is our action? Do we really understand? Or do we have a readymade solution: if the child is crying, give this.
The very basic thing is, we have to first accept that we are a Being. Beyond all our ideas, comfort, wealth, material and technology, we are a simple Being. Born into this eco system, born into this Nature, born into this form, born into this body, a simple Being. The food itself is not nurturing the child. The connection, the love, the touch, the care, so many things are involved, isn’t it? I have never seen that anyone or anything has a problem. Everything is divine. You are also divine.