Lessons In Happiness From The Little Mystics

Guest post by Colin Hiles

Down on my knees I am screwing on the hinges of a door for my little boy’s new wardrobe. Frustratingly this simple project of putting up a flat pack wardrobe has already taken up most of the morning!

Sonnie is three and a half and, with his toolkit in hand, he has been stuck to my side like a faithful dog. His natural curiosity bubbles up a hundred questions. He’s like a quizmaster on a busy day, firing question after question at me. This ordinary event is hugely interesting to him, but the relentless questioning is exhausting to me.

Each stage of the building has to be the subject of intense negotiations! “When can I use my screw driver? Can I use my hammer to bang that in? Can I put those in the holes for you daddy?” He wants to help so I let him use his screwdriver but screwing in one screw seems to take an eternity. Then he wants to screw in another one, and another one.

To begin with I am happy to teach him and enjoy his company but it doesn’t take long before I become frustrated, impatient and intolerant.

“Come on hurry up, this is taking too long” I hear myself saying. I want to get this job done but he keeps putting the brakes on. I start to wonder why I ever took on this task with him around. How stupid!

With my muscles tensing and blood boiling I secretly start to blame him for the length of time it’s taking. The dark side of my nature rises to the surface. I become controlling, overbearing, and dictatorial.

At this point I catch myself and realise I must let go of this frustration.

So here I am in the classroom of life experiencing a lesson in happiness (or loss of it). My teacher and guide for this lesson had a runny nose and stands three feet high!

As I stand back from taking the easy road, the road of laziness and judgement I realise I am being selfish. The price of the easy road is the loss of love, joy and inner peace.

At the end of the day I pull out my journal and reflect on the lesson my little happiness teacher had taught me.

So what did I learn? My frustration came from my imposed expectation. I (foolishly) expected to get the job done within an hour and when that reality wasn’t met I got angry. This had nothing to do with Sonnie. I was my own making. The moment I let go of that expectation I could start to enjoy his company and find the happiness that resides within.

On becoming a student again

 I once read, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” But I never thought my best teachers would be so small. I once had a vision that the sort of person who would guide me on a spiritual path would be much older. He would have long white hair and be of eastern origin. Sitting in the lotus position, his gruff voice would dish out universal truths to some of the toughest questions I had on the mysteries of life and death. I thought it a privilege to know someone who could transform the ordinary in wonderful ways. Maybe I would meet him in up a solitary mountain cave or an ancient monastery? I never thought I might already be living with them. That hidden beneath the daily activities of changing dirty nappies, wiping runny noses and temper tantrums would be the answers to unlock the greatest mysteries of life.

Little mystic teachers

I never thought my best guides and teachers would be my children. These little bodies that contain ancient souls who posses such natural spirituality. In the short time I have known them I have come to see the them as little mystics, able to travel so easily between the real and imagined worlds. So small, they haven’t yet been conditioned by the boundaries of time or space. They can fly.

Indeed my children have put me in touch with parts of myself I never knew about, like shinning a torch into a room that’s been dark for a long time. This little lesson with the wardrobe has helped me find a new capacity within myself.

They have taken me by the hand and are gently guiding me on a spiritual path to unveil the profound meaning of life. It’s never their intention to teach me, but it’s my intention to learn and grow from them.

I once believed parenting was about teaching; I now know there’s as much or more to be gained from learning. With their unknowing guidance they are helping me to straighten out my “adult thinking”, and reconnect again with that inner lost treasure of joy, love and peace.

A gentle spiritual awakening is taking place.

Colin Hiles is a Partner at rogenSi, a world-class coach, trainer-of-trainers, speaker and writer. He is family man who is passionate about helping midifers live freedom lifestyles, and is the 7th worst surfer in Spain. Follow him on his blog: http://midlifemaverick.com/   


About danspira

My blog is at: http://danspira.com. My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on January 7, 2010, in Learning, Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Outstandingly well articulated! What a great blog.

  2. his frustrations came from his feelings of guilt for wanting to tell his son to STFU and watch daddy work and learn.

    however, overwhelmed with that guilt and inaction, and with a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance, he concluded the proper thing to do MUST be to assign 2 hours for the project and in return get joy, love and inner peace.

    a nice, eloquent, and verbose blog post, and a myriad of positive comments sealed the deal.

    the great thing is, the brain can simulate this happiness and it’s all good. that’s the beauty of happiness, it truly does comes from within.

    as a side, imo, true inner peace comes from accepting and cherishing our internal dark sides. 🙂

    • Thanks!

      Re: “accepting and cherishing our internal dark sides”

      So, is that like when Emperor Palpatine tells Anakin Skywalker, “”I can feel your anger. It gives you focus, makes you stronger.” ??


      Self-acceptance, channeling energy… what else?

  3. i saw this yesterday and thought of this thread:

    (number 9)

    as a total side note.. after watching the entire SW saga (456 then 123).. i can;t help but think the jedi did things very wrong. they were complacent and self-righteous.

    herbert (the true best scifi writer ever) would have never approved of such behaviour.

    also.. as a side note.. i think Dan Gilbert is on the right track with his happiness thing.

  4. Great “Top 10 Bad Things That Are Good For You” links… ok, let’s see:
    10) yes, 9) yes, 8.) yesyesyes, 7) uh, i’m not rock bottom (yet) so.., no, 6) yes, 5) COME ON! that’s like that Steve Martin SNL sketch of the medieval barber/doctor, 4) yeah, why not, have you seen the Vancouver Olympic Torch? 3) yes, 2) yes, 1) d’uh.

    Herbert is your man, this I have come to understand. Still haven’t read him, but do think about the movie pretty often (relatively speaking).

    Still love the SW, even though George Lucas killed it… the original trilogy attained the highest possible level of cultural relevance for science fiction, in the “future-explains-the-present” mythological sort of way that only great sci-fi can do. Even people who haven’t seen it “get” it. Btw, check this out:

    Haven’t seen the Dan Gilbert thing yet, but it’s on my list. Actually, come to think of it, it’s funny: I started watching it the other day and then realized it was too ironic, b/c I would be happier if I wasn’t sitting in front of my laptop so I closed it and went to hang out with my peeps. True dat.

  5. I haven’t ready too many scifi authors.. but those that i have read.. ive tried to be thorough enough to get a feel of what they have to say (asimov, orson scott card, herbert, heinlein, Pohl)

    and of all those authors.. i could say herbert definitely shines when it comes to understanding human nature. (pohl’s not too shabby either!)

    interestingly enough… one of the books that i have found the most difficult to forget is by an author not even on that list (Barry Longyear – Sea of Glass)

    re: Dan Gilbert
    he has a few presentations.. all very interesting… you might also enjoy “Barry Schwartz” (you’d probably enjoy him more than Gilbert)

  6. ‘k, thanx 4 loading up my reading/viewing list…


  7. cf. http://insights.execunet.com/index.php/comments/when_youre_very_young/skills/more

    The question is: Are you young enough to be a leader?

    Anthony Vlahos writes:

    When you’re very young:
    You wonder, “What exciting thing is going to happen today?”

    You experiment.

    You LOOK.

    You imagine.

    You learn.

    You play.

    You share.

    You make friends.

    You’re curious.

    You’re joyous.

    You change.

    You grow.

    You’re a fanatic about your loves.

    You’re brimming with crazy energy.

    The world hasn’t shown you how to corral the thing and be normal.

    When you’re young to something:

    You’re burning to be great at it.

    You have a vision that’s beyond your station.

    There is always a next thing you want to get great at.

    You raise new questions and new possibilities.

    You take on old problems from a new angle.

    Nothing is “impossible” and it’s never “too late.”

    You don’t know exactly your future, but you want to be great at it and make a mark.

    Your courage to fulfill your vision comes from passion, not position.

    You chase after the beauty of the thing: The love of getting it beautiful is where it’s at … it’s a personal devotion.

    Leaders in a new role are this way. The best ones are, anyway. A brand that’s new to the market and beginning to add meaning to people’s lives is the same way, too.


    (read more here)

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