In one of your emails you wrote: ‘Once you tell a child that the thing outside is a bird, it may never honestly see a bird again’. What does this mean?
To me, it just means that we usually confuse reality with a word, a sound, an idea, a memory. A child, a very young child, has not yet developed her mind, and so she looks at the world – reality – not with the mind, but from pure experience, from pure seeing, pure hearing, pure sensing. In that pure experience, things – the world, reality – are not separated; everything is interconnected, nothing is a thing in itself but everything points towards a silent, invisible, profound aliveness.
And it is precisely that unifying aliveness (this is just a way to say it) that is lost when the mind takes over completely, the pure seeing goes away and what is left is a word, an object, a memory, a thing, separated from the rest.
It is a necessary and natural process; a child needs to differentiate, to create a separation in order to live a practical life.
But that process can continue:
And so, when we tell a child that the thing outside is a bird, what we are doing, and there is really nothing we can do to prevent this, is helping the unavoidable process of differentiation.
This process of differentiation is necessary; it is the process of individualization, which brings with it creation, invention, development and evolution, but it is not the process that brings fulfillment and peace and meaning. These can only be found in love, in this third step, in this reversing step, in this recognition of love as a unifying sense of existence. This last step is what I call true spirituality (but of course it has many other names).
Yes, in my vocabulary, spirit equals love.
‘May what I do, flow form me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.’
Rainer Maria Rilke