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The Purity of Children

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Bob Dylan once remarked that “College is where people go to die.” which of course elicited a sh*t storm in the media around whether he was encouraging young people not to get an education.  He explained, “Look, I’m  not telling anyone not to go to college, I just wouldn’t pay for it, that’s all.”  John Lennon sung about how society brainwashes the masses into obedient drones in  “Working Class Heroes”:

As soon as you’re born they make you feel small,
By giving you no time instead of it all,
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
They hurt you at home and they hit you at school,
They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool,
Till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules,

A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty odd years,
Then they expect you to pick a career,
When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV,
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free,
But you’re still fucking peasents as far as I can see,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
There’s room at the top they are telling you still,
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill,
A working class hero is something to be.
A working class hero is something to be.
If you want to be a hero well just follow me,
If you want to be a hero well just follow me.

I think the thread of the message in these artists is the same.  Protect your voice and make sure it’s your own.  Have you ever seen a child heavy with fear, lethargy and apprehension on their way to play in the sandbox?  No, because it’s not their natural state and neither is it ours.  The heaviness and the gravity with which we move through life is all learned. It is society’s learned fears and disappointments that poison children and young adults, just as they were poisoned by the false beliefs of those who came before them.   

There is damage to be undone.  One study was done showing that children laugh over 300 times a day, but while adults laugh only 15 times a day.  What is happening in between? Some would say, “So what. Is this even a real problem?” I am going to say yes, considering that more than 70% of illnesses are related to stress (high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, insomnia, migraine, anxiety, allergies, peptic ulcers, compromised immune systems leaving the door open for cancer to name a few) and laughter is a known antidote. 

Have you ever seen an elderly person in the sunset of their life absolutely light up around a child?  Children remind us to be in joy and laughter.  They give that birthright back to us even if it’s for a moment.  For most of the time, the elderly (especially in this country) are marginalized, forgotten and riddled with stress and fears that they did not necessarily invite.  The joy and laughter of children pierces this veneer of hopelessness and instantly heals them.  In the book “Healthy at 100“,  John Robbins studies those people and cultures in the world who consistently have the greatest longevity – commonly living to 100 years of age with no disease.  If you ask an 80 year old in one of these cultures when the last time they went to the doctor was, they will laugh at you.  There simply is no need.  There are several common denominators among the different groups blessed with longevity.  One of them is a vegetarian diet, or at least an almost meatless diet except for fish.  Another is that such cultures producing the greatest longevity typically have three generations living together.  So the young children with their ebullient spirits keep their grandparents young, joyful and feeling high-spirited and useful.  They are not shipped off to nursing homes to die.  Marginalizing the elderly in this country is another matter entirely for discussion, but it is yet another symptom of society’s downward pull on our souls.  The societies thriving when it comes to health and well-being are cooperative, not competitive and the respect towards children and the elderly is a huge part of that.

I have fond and vivid memories of being a child.  One summer night – I must have been about 6 or 7 – with my parents long-since asleep, I remember spontaneously turning around on my knees in the middle of the night to gaze out the window.  I stared into the moon and the pitch-black forest singing for hours along with the sound of the crickets.  Who knows why we remember the strange things we do.  I remained totally content and unaware of myself, like it was the most natural thing in the world.  It was.  No one said to me, “It’s time to sing.” or “It’s not time to sing.” or “You shouldn’t sing.” or “You can’t sing.”  and no one told me I had to sing between the hours of daylight and dusk if it happened to be the third month of the year.  My spirit moved me to sing so it made perfect sense to do so.  This is what is so beautiful about children.  They are as yet, untainted as the fallen snow and are almost always acting from places of authenticity. 

At what point in our socialization did we become so heavy and serious vibrating such downtrodden, low frequencies?  Must we accept most of our false beliefs, and fear addiction as “normal” or can we un-accept it and reach for something higher? So how do we become this way?  This is not splitting the atom.  We have negative images and a constant stream of fear and bad news projected into our world at all times – whether we like it or not.  There is propaganda everywhere and there are competing agendas all around us.  To protect one’s own agenda (in this case our soul’s true voice and state) we must fight for it through all the noise.  TV certainly spreads traumas (both real and fictional) to the nth degree.  One study monitored the brain activity, release of chemicals and heart rates of people watching violent or gory scenes in a movie theater. The study proved that the body cannot physiologically discern the difference between whether something  is really happening and we need to prepare for battle or if it is just an image removed from our reality.  The same stress chemicals such as cortisol (the “running from the tiger” chemicals our body releases to protect us) are released and our heart still experiences stress as it jumps into fight or flight mode.  If that weren’t enough, this study shows that watching violent movies makes people numb and much more indifferent to the pain of others.  Fear may be treated like an amusement park ride by the movie industry but it’s the last thing we need more of.

The big F-word is a tool that is used to control, and by the time we have reached the age where we are 100% responsible for our own livelihood and well-being, the weeds of fear have fully infested the garden.  We will do anything to play it safe and do what we’re told we “should” do in order to avoid being outcasts of non-conformity. 

My grandmother often told me that this was her favourite picture of me and I can see why.  The look on my face says, “I have no clue there is any cruelty or injustice in the world, so don’t try to convince me otherwise – or at least put it off as long as possible.”  All is right with the world in this picture and I am shielded like most children at this age.

 How does one protect himself or his children from the invasion of society’s negative beliefs and pronouncements about the seriousness of life?  With music and laughter, and a healthy dose of trusting one’s intuition and keeping a childlike spirit.  So throw away the limiting beliefs and the “can’ts”.  Get rid of the TV.  Question everything you are fed or are told to believe.  Go to that place where your soul feels absolutely at home and free, whether it’s in front of a canvas, or onstage, or creating a business around your passion, or being around a particular person or wherever.  Play.  Stop caring about what society and others think of you.  Travel extensively if you need further convincing that this over-caffeinated, stress-filled, money-obsessed existence is not necessarily the key to happiness.

Have you ever noticed that the people who look way younger than their age seem to be always playing… or cracking jokes… or defiantly breaking the rules… or absolutely consumed with their passion?  Have you ever considered that the people who look 10 years younger than their age are only doing what they’ve always done? Playing in their sandbox? This is not an accident.  Bullies may come along and take our toys away while we’re playing, but no one can ever take you out of the sandbox without your consent.  

I was once watching a friend’s 6-year-old — in the middle of her side-splitting giggling she says to me, “I like you, because you’re like a kid.”  “What do you mean I’m like a kid?” I asked, trying to get at the crux of what she was trying to say.  “Well, you play with me and stuff and most of the time my mom just sits in front of the computer for a long time.”  Ah.  So kids play.  Adults don’t.  Interesting.  It’s never too late for all of us to get back into the sandbox with the kids and start remembering who we really are.  It’s a win-win.


3 responses »

  1. Pingback: All the Little Babushkas « You've Been Blogged!

  2. I love love love love this post. Thank you!!!!

  3. Pingback: Tilikum the Killer Whale Not So Keen On The Way We Govern « You've Been Blogged!

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