One of the characteristics associated with old age in having an inflexible mind, which means that one closes oneself off to learning and discovering new ways of being and feeling life. This makes one feel trapped by their own thoughts and reasoning. And over time, everything that is trapped will become irritable, desperate, and frustrated.
For children, learning is no hard task: children can face several difficult challenges, but children never have close minds, because even though they may seem stubborn, capricious, or inflexible, their mind is fresh and young. It is open and receptive, it still isn’t programmed or conditioned with all the information we learn or accept as children.
However, children can be taught to have a closed mind, which is one of the most limiting causes that can obstruct a human’s life. How can a child be taught to have a closed mind? Why is it so hard for adults to change and try, or let in, new things?
It’s not like a father or a teacher sits down to explain to them how to be inflexible or closed to new opportunities, changes, or alternatives. A closed mind is copied from when we are children. We absorb it through our parents’ and teachers’ attitudes, as well as from people that surround us.
When a father doesn’t want to listen, when a teacher judges a student for behaving certain ways and limits their self-expression, when certain attitudes are consented or allowed that reinforce the belief that one’s personal view is the most important, valuable, or correct, the child is taught, among other things, to be old. This means that the child is being taught to close themselves off, to not accept or listen, and to not share and try new things. They are taught to isolate themselves in their world: they are being taught to forbid the new and the different from flowing and making their lives bigger.
As children, the information that the people around us demonstrate with their attitudes, could trigger feelings of insecurity, disapproval, and even fear to try, consider, and relate with what is new, different, and fresh for our minds.
Old things are the things that are locked up, used, and obsolete. The mind cannot be old unless we choose for it to be so, and if we don’t allow it fresh air with new things. Youth can be recognized as something fresh, vigorous, and vibrant, because it is somewhat restless and curious. In the mind, eternal youth exists, but only is we allow ourselves thoughts and actions like these. Another youthful quality is softness and firmness: a baby’s or youth’s skin textures are soft and firm. This means that we know how to carry out firm, but soft, thoughts, with flexibility. The old is flaccid, droopy, and weak. You live your life as you think as well as how you feel. That is how your mind is.
The body matures and is transformed over time, but the mind functions differently. The mind is something that doesn’t age, but matures. And maturity is not synonymous with old age. It is synonymous with snowing to to sweeten, soften, and extract the best juice from each experience, with our thoughts.
If you feel apathetic, tired, or trapped in yourself, it would be good for you to consider how you are thinking about life, and what thoughts swim around in your head the majority of the time. And then observe children, and observe how they are: they explore, yell, laugh, they say what they they, they try, they play…. How much of that have you lost in your life?
A child’s spirit or acting like a child
It’s worth pointing out the difference between having a child’s spirit and acting like a child, it is not the same: acting like a child means having everything that they have but acting immaturely. This means, still depending a lot on others to feel animated and happy. Having a child’s spirit means having the aforementioned qualities, but little by little, learning to handle yourself maturely. This means depending less and less on others; less and less dependence on others for feeling happy, pleasant, and fun.
Acting like a child is being stubborn, and saying what your feel without thinking or reasoning, immaturely. You blame others and believe that others are responsible for your unhappiness or condition. You make demands on them, and demand love, consideration, and respect. How many older people do you see behaving this way? Having a child’s spirit is to recognize that everything that we feel and have in our life is our responsibility, but that doesn’t mean we loose our sense of playfulness, exploration, pleasure, happiness, and new experiences. Recognizing that we are the ones that create our life means that we know how to laugh, enjoy, and try new things in spite of other people. It means that our mind is young, no matter what the age of our body.