Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

Why it is important to make the distinction and live a life centered in wonder

“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.” – Mencius, ancient Chinese philosopher

To be Childlike

Once upon a time, or maybe only yesterday, we were all open, curious, playful, eager to explore and to learn. We had ready smiles, emotions which we moved through rapidly and were forgotten quickly. We were very young children full of wonderment and naturally heart-centered. The purity of our souls was in the foreground of our expression. We were also new to the ways of this 3-D reality and needed orientation time to learn about this world.

Our true nature is that childlike state of being and it is still within us. As adults, we are no longer naive in the worldly sense. To maximize our potential, we are designed to blend the smarts, knowledge and wisdom we’ve acquired with maintaining our delightful, healthy, consciousness-expanding childlike qualities.

Childlike can also be described as being in the present where everything is fresh, easily forgiven and life is not governed by fear. It is not hopelessly naïve; it is a loving state of being, which is discerning, forgiving and loving. A heart-centered way of living allows the soul to be in the driver’s seat of our lives, and is the key to fulfilling our higher potential.

To be Childish

Along the journey of developing tools to navigate this polarized, fear-based 3-D reality, the psyche introduces the ego into its repertoire. The ego can be thought of as the fear-based part of our psyche. It is trying to protect us in the 3-D world, but most of the time its automatic fearful perceptions and responses actually block our higher potential and lasting happiness.

The ego is the part of us which takes everything personally and can never be fully satisfied. Its natural insecurity pushes to be the center of attention, to feel superior and to be right. The fearful ego is always ready to judge others, and defend or attack in order to feel more powerful. Coming from fear, ego energy is needy, greedy, demanding and self-centered. The ego is intended to remain in the passenger’s seat of our lives, and only pop in infrequently, so the higher intelligence and wisdom of the soul can drive.

Heart Facts

Being more childlike means being more heart-centered, and the heart is our connection to the higher wisdom and intelligence of our souls. The HeartMath Institute in California has scientifically proven ancient teachings about the power of our hearts. Here are two key findings:

The heart informs the brain what biochemistry to release in the body. Positive thoughts and emotions release the chemistry of well-being, elevating the potentials of body, mind and soul. Negative thoughts and emotions activate bio-chemistry which undermines all levels of thriving and puts us in the lower energy frequency of the ego’s fear mode.

The electromagnetic energy of the heart is 5,000 times more powerful than the same energy field of our brain, and not only envelopes every cell of the body, but also extends out in all directions in the space around us. Our cardiac field touches those within eight to 10 feet of where we are positioned. Therefore, our state of heart actually affects everything and everyone around us.

No wonder people are happy and uplifted in the energy of little kids and adults who are childlike. Regardless of our situation in life, we have the total ability to thrive by choosing the lens—heart or ego—through which we perceive and respond to life.

I leave you with the inspiring words of noted author and teacher Wayne Dyer:

“To be more childlike, you do not have to stop being an adult. The fully integrated person is capable of being both an adult and a child simultaneously. Recapture the childlike feelings of wide-eyed excitement, spontaneous appreciation, cutting loose, and being full of awe and wonder at this magnificent universe.”