Return to Innocence

A good friend told me about his recent trip and the great experience he had with his little grandchildren. He told me that now that he is practicing mindfulness he was able to really be in the here-now with them, immersing himself more fully in their world, something that he hadn’t experienced before. He was able to better observe them and realize the depth of their curiosity, as well as their genuine amazement with what they were seeing and discovering for the first time. We talked about how vital it is for us, adults, to keep this curiosity and capacity for amazement alive. And we reflected on the words of Jesus, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Yes, the kingdom is right here, right now. Heaven is here if we want it to be.

I always heard that children are innocent, but only now, almost three decades after the birth of my first child, I can say that I understand what that truly means. The practice of mindfulness opened my eyes, allowing me to see this innocence anew and realize how incapable I was of grasping its essence, meaning, and beauty before.

I feel deeply that children are the greatest teachers. They live in the here-now. We — with our fears, worries, and regrets — are the ones who remove them from the enjoyment of the present moment, telling them that they have to push themselves to be more, do more, and have more. We are the ones who instill in them all the things that spoil their innocence.

I remember my kids during the first decade of their lives, when they were discovering the world. How innocent they were! How I wish I could go back with what I know now, and instead of trying to teach them, simply relax and learn from them.

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I facilitated a silent retreat yesterday and spent time in nature, walking mindfully in a beautiful botanical garden. This morning, I received an advice that I should spend more time in nature. Unexpectedly, the music video of the song “Return to Innocence” by Enigma — that I watched many years ago — came to my mind. Watching it again made me remember the innocence of my sons. I remembered cutting my oldest son’s hair and teaching him to ride a bicycle. I remembered the two of us watching the sunrise together, while he pointed at the sun, talked to the ocean in his own universal language, and smiled.

I also remembered the love I received from the women who shared their lives with me. I remembered myself as the writer whose words vanished from the pages. I remembered myself as the sower of seeds of mindfulness. I remembered myself as the shepherd who followed his sheep as we, together, returned to innocence.

An old man remembers.

A newborn remembers.

I remember.

Return To Innocence

That’s not the beginning of the end
That’s the return to yourself
The return to innocence.

Love
Devotion
Feeling
Emotion

Love
Devotion
Feeling
Emotion

Don’t be afraid to be weak
Don’t be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart my friend
That will be the return to yourself
The return to innocence.

If you want, then start to laugh
If you must, then start to cry
Be yourself don’t hide
Just believe in destiny.

Don’t care what people say
Just follow your own way
Don’t give up and use the chance
To return to innocence.

That’s not the beginning of the end
That’s the return to yourself
The return to innocence.

Don’t care what people say
Follow just your own way
Follow just your own way
Don’t give up, don’t give up
To return, to return to innocence.

If you want then laugh
If you must then cry
Be yourself don’t hide
Just believe in destiny.

Songwriters: M.C. Curly
Return To Innocence lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the official Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.

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