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/