Have you ever watched a toddler or young child in the midst of a tantrum?
Or maybe it’s a scene you’ve witnessed more times than you bear to remember.
Every tantrum looks different but more often than not there’s a combination of feet stomping, arms flapping, face scrunching, loud screaming and tears falling.
It is, without doubt, INTENSE.
Yet have you also witnessed how little time it can take for that same child to be back to their normal selves focusing on something else? The cute puppy dog, the flower, the person or anything else for that matter that grabs their attention in the very next moment.
In the blink of an eye, it comes and then it goes never ceasing to amaze me at a child’s capacity to move on.
No need to analyse, reflect, digest, harbor grudges, get even, fix, resolve or work it through.
In fact, no need to do anything but experience that moment before the next comes along.
It just comes and goes like a storm blowing in, taking over and blowing out again.
So what happens to us adults when things are not going our way?
Ok, so in our case it might not be about having to share our toy or go to bed, but there are many things that we experience that we would prefer to be otherwise.
Maybe it’s the long delay at the airport, the differing opinion at work or the messy house or noisy child – the list is pretty much endless.
It would seem that over time we become conditioned into what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior to deal with things that aren’t as we would want them to be.
So in observing and being taught by others we learn, for the most part, that the foot stomping, arm flapping and loud screaming are not acceptable. But remember that this is purely a thought, not a truth, so if it’s what happens to you in the moment then go for it without judgment.
We learn that we must be right and need to out maneuver others or fix things out there to take away the unwanted feelings that come our way when things aren’t as we would want them to be. Again, just thoughts that we turn into beliefs and truths.
So we get deeply embroiled in a lot of thinking.
A lot of analyzing.
A lot of talking to others.
A lot of trying to control other people or things.
A lot of fixing the outside world in an attempt to make ourselves feel better on the inside.
These layers of thinking result in us entertaining and prolonging the thoughts that come to us - ‘this isn’t fair’, ‘I can’t accept this’, ‘how dare they’ - rather than letting them pass through as they are designed to and as we observe in children.
The result of holding onto these thoughts is that our mind turns into one big thought storm that goes on and on preventing us from thinking clearly.
We lose perspective.
We lose touch with common sense.
We disconnect from our wisdom and innate ability to be creative and resilient.
We simply don’t feel good.
And often to get rid of these feelings we do things that we think will help like eating, losing ourselves in social media, drinking, losing ourselves in activity and more.
Yet, if only we could see that the less we hold onto the thinking and let it blow in and out effortlessly as it is designed to, the better we feel, the clearer we think and the wiser we are.
Now, this doesn’t mean stop the thoughts you have, because frankly that’s impossible. But it does mean notice them and know that they are thoughts - formless energy impulses that you don’t have to hold onto – not real truths.
Children are experts at this being somehow closer to the factory settings of how the human mind is designed to work with a lot less conditioning.
Understanding how the mind really works leaves us open to access more common sense and wisdom than we ever realise is available.
So much for the grown up knows best