On Friday October 11th 2014, the Nobel Peace Prize committee announced that the 2014 Peace Prize would be shared by among two individuals – 17 year old Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, and 60 year old Kailash Satyarthi of India. Crossing boundaries of nations, religions, age, and many more, the spotlight was put firmly on the spirit of these two individuals, and their respective works and actions towards the cause(s) of children.
No matter how old or young we may be at this point in our life, we have all been through childhood. Some of us manage to retain our childlike spirit into our adult years. Those of us who have children of our own, work with children, or are engaged in children’s causes, are fortunate to see some of that dynamic spirit – upfront and firsthand in our daily life and activities. Even though they may be physically, mentally, emotionally, financially and otherwise disadvantaged, even the most fragile children somehow manage to project a spiritual intensity and resilience that apparently defies explanation.
In addition to the inspiration provided by the courage and spirit of Malala Yousafzai, to children and adults across the world, the stories of Helen Keller and Anne Frank also come to mind. In their time, they were perhaps equally representative of the spirit of the children of their time. While it may be difficult to do a head-to-head comparison of the respective impacts of these three as they span across generations and societies, it is perhaps useful to examine the common underlying threads of their personality, their character, their spirit… One common thread that emerges is that their courageous actions all emerged from what would appear to us adults as unsurmountable challenges… But, they knew and felt something within – an intensity of spirit – that made them continue on their path.
So, where does this spiritual intensity come from? Do all of us have this same or similar intensity as children? If so, what happens to diminish it in some of us as we grow older in age? What can we learn from the actions of those who operate with this intensity? How do we obtain a good measure of this intensity? When it grows weak, how do we renew, revive and reestablish this childlike spirit within us? What is its connection to our inner voice?
I invite you to share your thoughts on this topic in our weekly conversation on twitter – Sunday, October 12th at 9am ET / 1pm UTC / 6:30pm India. If you have any resources that can shed more light on this topic, please share in the comments.
Thank you, and Namaste… I salute the childlike spirit within you!