"A family had a new baby boy and his sister, a girl of four years old. After the baby was born, the little girl asked her parents if she could be left alone with the baby for a little while. Concerned that she might be jealous of the baby and possibly even hurt him, the parents finally told the little girl that she could go into the nursery by herself. Their plan was to listen in on the monitor. The little girl went in, closed the door, walked up to the crib, looked in, and said, "Tell me about God, baby. I'm beginning to forget."
The wonder and awe of being in the world in the full mystical awareness of our Oneness with the divine is the complete innocence of childhood. As Wordsworth says - heaven lies all about us.
In his book The Biology of Transcendence, Joseph Chilton Pearce says that we are a species of the most lofty ideals and noble virtues. We are creators of magnificent art and beauty; but we are also mean spirited, prone to violence and hurtful to one another in many ways. He has two explanations for this duality in our human nature. First he argues it derives from a conflicted dichotomy of the most primitive and most advanced parts of our brain. He also says that it is the culture in which we grow and mature. He says the joy of learning is replaced by cultural conditioning. We become inured to the surrounding culture. Inured meaning to become habituated to an undesirable condition. We conform to the world and become habituated - losing the innocence of childhood. We forget the heaven that lies all about us. In early childhood we know we are in the world, but not of the world. As we mature and find conformity a necessity in order to live in the world, we become of the world. We lose the innocence we came into the world with. As Wordsworth said, "There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, The earth, and every common sight, To me did seem, Appareled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. It is not now as it hath been of yore - Turn whereso'er I may, By night or day, The things which I have seen I now can see no more."
Yet we long to see the things we can see no more. That part of us that strives for our highest aspirations, desires to be in the world as a child. It is from the desire to achieve these highest aspirations and leave aside the negativity of the world that a spiritual journey may begin. A search for the innocence of complete awareness of God. As Jesus said in Matthew 19:14, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
The kingdom of heaven which is always lying all about us can be glimpsed. The question becomes where is the kingdom of heaven. It is not a place. Jesus said in Luke 18:17, "The Kingdom of heaven is within you." This is what an innocent child knows beyond question. It is what the young girl knew, but was beginning to forget. The desire for a return to innocence is the desire to know God and our Oneness with our creator. There are many spiritual paths and they all start at a point where one becomes open. Where one asks the divine to come into one's life. The path starts where one simply accepts and becomes willing. It is a point of letting go. Letting go of being of the world and being willing,and open and accepting of whatever comes. This is the path of complete faith in the Divine Presence within.
". . . whoever does not enter the kingdom of heaven as a child shall not enter it." Luke 18: 17
Gene Ford Runnels