I hate to admit it, but sometimes I get a terrible case of what I call ‘adult mind.’ When adult mind comes over me like a bad flu bug, I find myself in my head. In my head, I have my thoughts and opinions all figured out–neatly categorizing, filing, labeling, and yes, even judging throughout my day. This or that is either good or bad, wrong or right, ridiculous or not. And if I’m not careful, adult mind can easily bide it’s time until it has created ingrained deep habits of thought in my brain.
One telltale symptom of adult mind is that it is quite sure of the state of things in advance. Adult mind makes all it’s decisions based on the past, which it has categorized from either past experience or past thoughts. The crime of adult mind is that it attaches a belief to the present moment. When it does this, we have tampered with the experience of the pure here and now. Our present moment has been forever colored and altered by a pre-emptive thought.
Child Mind…Open and Free
It was my one year old who first made me keenly aware of ‘child mind.’ As we passed through the Halloween aisle at the neighborhood store, my bouncing baby boy looked squarely at the horrible and twisted masks and was totally un-phased. Intently, I studied my little one’s face as he sweetly blinked his fine lashes at a scowling Freddy Krueger with a blade gashed in his head. To my surprise, I found not one inkling of fear in my little one’s sweet visage.
At one year of age, our child mind is still open and free. We have not yet learned what to fear or hate or love. Child mind is open mind. Open mind is free of labels, judgments, and qualifiers. Open mind is free.
When we can pause, release the chattering of adult mind, and simply open ourselves into our natural state of observing and allowing, we may be surprised at what the world has to offer. When we enter child mind, we may make fascinating discoveries along our way.
Like the time I had my surreal experience with the monster trucks and the Dalai Lama.
Monster Trucks and the Dalai Lama
Some summers ago, my husband came home from work and proudly presented me with family tickets to our very first monster truck show. Then he handed over four over-sized t-shirts that we were all supposed to wear to the arena the day of ‘Monster Truck Madness.’
The t-shirts pictured a huge green and black hearse-like truck, with gigantic tires spinning and splattering mud. The name ‘Grave Digger’ screamed across the front of the shirt, against a delightful background of dripping blood font lettering – not exactly my style. My preschooler was stoked.
Needless to say, I was not stoked.
I went to the arena wearing the bad shirt and a bad attitude to match. And my adult mind in full form. Oh brother, this was going to be painful. And loud. I thought about all the other things I could be doing with my valuable time. I didn’t want anything to do with hot dogs or cheap beer.
The place was packed. Who were all these people? There was nothing about this form of entertainment that I could possibly imagine that would even slightly hold my interest. After all, I was buying into adult mind – a pre-emptive belief, as someone who did not care about, like, and let alone attend monster truck shows. If my symphony-going parents could see me now, my mind chattered.
Open and Allow
As I sat there, the midday sun warming my shoulders, I began to relax. I closed my eyes and soaked in the warmth on the cool bleachers. Maybe the rays of sunlight melted adult mind or it least put her to sleep momentarily. Somehow, as my body unwound, my mind forgot about complaining. Just being. Mind quiet.
Slowly I opened my eyes. I observed what was in front of me. Dirt mounds and junked cars sat in the middle of the arena. Checkered flags waving. Engines revving. Laughter and excitement in the air.
I noticed that open mind was label free, judgment free. Child mind was simply…. free.
I laugh when I think about the astonished looks on all my boys’ faces as they watched me transform from the pouting party pooper into the wahooing wild woman, enthusiastically yelling at the top of her lungs the entire time, waving her checkered racing flag, whistling and wahooing as monster trucks roared their way around the track, jumping dirt mounds and crashing the hell out of each other.
Receive the Gift
I had the time of my life in that noisy arena, totally entertained by crashing cars, utterly enjoying being a drop in the sea of my fellow spectators. In fact at one point I was surprised as the love welled up in me for every single person at Monster Truck Madness. I felt totally connected to the oneness of humanity.
Two days after my first monster truck show experience, a friend gave me an extra ticket to see the Dalai Lama. As I sat in another packed arena, my eyes peacefully closed, the soft and gentle tones of the Dalai Lama’s voice wrapping the audience in a loving embrace, I marveled at the same oneness and connection I was feeling here that I never would have guessed I could also feel at Monster Truck Madness.
I pictured the Dalai Lama sitting on the bleachers at Monster Truck Madness, waving a checkered flag. He was enjoying himself immensely.
I was reminded that when we remember to open our minds, our world opens up for us in the most unexpected and fascinating ways.
The Path to New Adventures…Engaging Your Child Mind
Practice opening your mind to something new.
Do something you never have done before.
Go to a monster truck show.
Go to the symphony.
Go see the Dalai Lama.
Do it with an open mind and have fun!