Consciousness of Children

One day while I was walking in the midst of a Manhattan crowd, I paused for a moment to take my cell from my purse. As I did, suddenly a small girl, no more than a toddler, ran toward me and held me so tight that she stopped me from moving any further. I was startled and looked down to see who was hugging me so tightly and with such affection, looking up at my face and smiling.

Strange as it may sound, for that moment I did not care who the child belonged to, and didn’t look around to see where she had come from. All I cared about was giving her the biggest hug I could, touching her face gently with mine just for that moment. Neither of us seemed to care if any acquaintance or family relationship existed between us.

Random love and affection

I felt a unique love and an extraordinary affection for this child, as though I had known her for some time. And yet I didn’t recognize her face, and had no recollection of ever having met her before. Finally I looked around and noticed her mother standing nearby, watching it all with a smile as her child clung to an apparent stranger in the street. I did not hear her calling her toddler back until our encounter was over, and even then she showed no alarm or concern.

The pure energy of children

This spontaneous expression of love touched my heart, because it made me realize how fortunate children are retaining more of that pure energy than many of us adults. Children do not develop the sense of “self” (the ego of I-me-mine) before a certain age. Although they can be selfish at times, they somehow find it easier to express unconditional love than most grownups.

Children carry that beautiful divine primordial consciousness in the present life until they develop self-consciousness. Before then they walk around radiating love for everything and everyone. I felt that this toddler could be retaining memory from her previous births and connections, in which I might have been part of her life. She might have recognized me, and vice versa, as I felt the same sense of familiarity with her.

Let the little children come

One of the Christian Gospels tells the story of little children being brought to Jesus for his blessing, only to be turned away by his disciples—who apparently thought the great teacher had better things to do. But Jesus stopped them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I believe “the kingdom of heaven” was his way of saying realization, and that to be self-realized is like returning to the uncorrupted consciousness of childhood. Likewise, my encounter with the spontaneous love of that little child in the street reminded me how soon we lose the pure state of consciousness with which we are born.

From dualism to oneness through self-realization

It gets covered up and taken over by layers of materialized awareness in its densest form, driven by the ego as we slowly disconnect from the primordial or supreme consciousness. Until we self-realize, we all live in the world of dualism. The only time we experience that pure primordial consciousness is during childhood before we develop the sense of ego or self, and after we reclaim the Truth through enlightenment.

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