What did you know before you forgot?
When my nephew was 4 years old we took a pause from playing in the garden, and I said 'Hey Charlie, what's the meaning of life?'
He didn't hesitate. 'Life is a game!' he exclaimed.
This seemed to me as satisfying and profound an answer as any I'd heard from adult philosophers, and with that, we returned to playing.
I used to love asking children deep questions until I was warned by adults to stop bamboozling their children!
So I felt encouraged (and vindicated) to read this article from Dr Thomas, on Children's Experiences of Self. She is developing a self-enquiry methodology for children, and a less dismissive attitude to those who frequently report 'non-ordinary' experiences such as awareness during sleep, lucid dreams, memories of past lives and out of body experiences.
Many children report a sense of self that is free, natural and connected to other people and the world. They were also able to contrast this with a more narrative sense of self that was enclosed in a 'bubble,' outside of which their sense of individuality and linear time began to dissolve.
As those of you who have come to the Headless Way workshops will know, Douglas Harding considered enlightenment nothing more than a return to the natural awareness we had as children, but without forgetting the relative identities that we have learnt to operate with as adults.
So I'm inviting myself to take a few moments today to remember what this moment would feel like from a child's perspective. Right now at least it seems quieter, more mysterious, less predictable and I'm noticing a natural curiosity and freedom that isn't so concerned with status or identity.
Free Online Conference on Consciousness Today, Sat 18th Dec
If you feel like a more grown-up perspective on the same thing, you may enjoy the free online conference on Consciousness happening today from The Society for Consciousness Studies. It includes talks from Jeffrey Martin, Deepak Chopra and Peter Fenwick
The 10.30pm session (UK time) reports on the evidence for spiritual transmission. This is especially interesting to me as I was one of the research participants, and I experienced many bizarre and fascinating experiences whilst receiving the transmissions. Turns out they didn't find any actual evidence for the phenomena, which probably means I have healthy access to a child-like, placebo conducive imagination.
Either way, I look forward to hearing more. :)
I'm also really excited to have confirmed Rupert Spira is joining as guest on our [next course with Bernardo Kastrup. Expect a great dialogue, as well as a chance to ask them both questions that compare their perspectives and invite us into a direct experience of the nondual awareness we naturally had as children.
Upcoming workshops and courses can be found below, and if you would like to support these ongoing endeavours, consider becoming a patron here :)
Wishing you a playful day and a festive week!
Amir at Adventures in Awareness.