I grew up in a religiously, culturally and gastronomically Jewish home in Willingboro, NJ which is a suburb of Philadelphia. Our family went to synagogue weekly, practiced holiday rituals, lit the candles on Friday night, but kept kosher only when my paternal grandmother lived with us. I attended Hebrew school until I was 16. […]
My friend Jeff Brown is a spiritual journeyer and witty wordsmith. He created a film called Karmageddon in which he explored (among other things), the concept of the guru. This morning, I saw a Facebook posting he shared with these words:
“Having bashed gurus for so long, I pretty much gave up on the possibility of finding one. And then, when I least expected it, I stumbled upon this formidable little fellow at the Omega Institute. What I enjoy most about his approach to teaching is that he doesn’t bother with words- just sounds, grunts and the like- and he doesn’t pay much attention to detachment practices, preferring, as a rule, to jump right into life, biting any and all fingers that come his way, and eating as often as possible…. Meet my new guru, James.” Below the words was a photo of him all cuddly with an adorable little dude who looked a few months newly launched into the world.
My response was this: “Here and now, present moment awareness. Energy in…energy out. When hungy eat, when tired, sleep, when full, pee, poop, fart and burp. Pretty simple teachings. A sat guru, indeed.”
How much more fulfilling would our lives be if only we could emulate those tiny humans? I know that when I attempt to control outcomes in my life, I miss out on the infinite possibilities that await on the playground that is my life. I love watching babies interact with the world around them. Everything is a toy to explore. A Zen concept is that of Shoshin or Beginner’s mind.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” We adults play this game in which we claim to be experts at all kinds of things, from our jobs, to our education, from raising children to telling others how to run their lives. Kids just are. Mindfulness embodied, instead of mind-full-ness with all kinds of busy buzzy (ooooh, look, a squirrel) thoughts that have us off and running without warning. We pretend we know the answers to life’s questions, when a laughing baby really does get the cosmic joke.
Every time I have seen this video, I have laughed and cried, both with delight and wistfulness. I reclaim any sense of innocence I may have lost and commit to exploring the world with all senses fully engaged in this here and now precious moment. Let playful wisdom rain and reign.