Here is a beautiful passage that Antony, a reader in Australia, sent to me. It poetically describes how adults can rekindle their love of life by thinking like a child. This is an eloquent, simple, and compelling example of what I mean by Goal-Free Living.
This is from Muhammad Ali: “Children make you want to start life over,” by Bodhipaksa, a Buddhist practitioner for 25 years and a parent for one year.
I look at my 14-month-old daughter and I see a being who is completely free from hatred. She has no regrets, no baggage. She doesn’t label herself, doesn’t judge herself. She doesn’t think of herself as being successful or a failure, popular or unpopular, good or bad, rich or poor, lucky or unfortunate.
And to her everything seems new and fresh. Today’s 20th reading of “Pat the Bunny” or “Barnyard Dance” is as delightful to her as the first (I wish that were the case for her parents). When she falls down she simply picks herself back up. She doesn’t lie there saying “I’ve tried walking. It doesn’t work. I’m just not a walking kind of person.”
The simplest things are intriguing. She’ll take immense pleasure simply from moving her hands. A leaf picked up on a walk is a world of fascination.
She has, in short, what Suzuki Roshi called “Beginner’s Mind.” And that’s something we all, certainly at times, want, and even crave.