We're born with unity consciousness - a natural sense of oneness with all that's around us - how one part of a healthy body relates to the rest of the body. Then by around age 2, we start learning that we are each unique, 'independent,' 'separate' individuals. Ideally, we develop a "quiet ego" - just enough sense / concept of a 'separate self' that we can set goals & accomplish tasks. A person with a quiet ego is aware that their concept of a 'separate self' is only an idea, and that in fact each of us, while unique, is as interdependent with all other living creatures & the entire cosmos, as each single cell in our body is both unique and intimately interdependent with the rest of our body. In other words, a quiet ego harmoniously coexists with unity consciousness, in a healthy, mutually supportive, nurturing relationship (similar to Iain McGilchrist's description of optimally-balanced harmonious functioning of the right- & left-hemispheres of the brain https://channelmcgilchrist.com/).
When, for various reasons such as early childhood trauma, the process goes too far, individuals develop a "noisy ego" and mistake the "self" for a completely separate, independent, 'solid identity' (instead of the constantly changing concept, which it actually is). This error results in an ongoing competitive / adversarial / predatory relationship with everyone & everything they perceive to be outside of "their self." A noisy ego is entirely egocentric (self-centered), with little or no memory of unity consciousness.
Many, due to ignorance & immaturity, are egocentric. A smaller proportion are more seriously afflicted. Narcissists & sociopaths can be highly intelligent, & occupy the highest offices of businesses & governments, yet to the degree to which they lack empathy, cause massive suffering for humans & other living creatures, & catastrophic environmental destruction.
“Parents, teachers, and society as a whole are concerned with what our children know. However, how we know, not just what we know, is fundamental to the pursuit of wisdom. In the twelfth century, Saint Bonaventure wrote about three different ‘eyes of knowing’: the eye of the senses, the eye of reason, and the eye of contemplation.
The contemplative mind offers a direct nonrational mode that complements the analytic. There is a long history of contemplative knowing. In the East, practices such as meditation, which were designed to open the contemplative, have endured for thousands of years. In the West, ancient philosophers such as Plotinus (third century AD) understood that the highest truths were revealed only through a contemplative state of mind. Nineteenth-century German philosopher Fredrich Nietzsche suggested that this nonrational mode is so important because it ‘opens the way to the Mothers of all Being, to the innermost heart of things.’
In the West, however, the dominance of a largely Aristotelian emphasis in logic, the natural sciences, and theology beginning at least by the twelfth & thirteenth centuries pushed the contemplative out of favor. Today we often discount the direct knowing that emerges as an inner voice in favor of the measurable observation or logical deduction that science and reason value. Essentially, adult society has grown a cataract on the eye of contemplation – we have made it cloudy with mistrust. But the direct sight of contemplation is alive & well in most children, they are natural contemplatives.
Wisdom is distinguished from bare intellect especially by the integration of the heart. … Wisdom is not just about what we know, but especially about how we live, how we embody knowledge & compassion in our lives and, as the great essayist and poet Emerson said, blend a sense of what is true with what is right. While this is often the daily challenge played out over the course of our lives, some children seem to have it all together remarkably well.
The gateways to wisdom are diverse. Some children just seem to know, for others, inner comfort and counsel seem to come in the form of a helper. Spirit guides in the form of angels, saints, and ancestors have been part of every major sacred tradition. For example, there are 294 references to angels in the Bible. Animals, too, have been a common representation of spiritual energies and are featured in many religions. The animal is seen as a power, or ‘medicine,’ as Native Americans call it, which serves as a link, symbol, or totem between the invisible world and the physical one. When a shaman, for example, adopts the guise of an animal in a ceremony, he or she attempts to call forth those energies for the purpose of healing and guidance. The idea is that somehow the image, idea, or form of this animal embodies and represents certain qualities, they may be thought of as archetypes – primary forms or patterns deep in our shared consciousness. In most explanations of animal guides, you do not choose the animal, it chooses you – it pays you a visit. Native American elder Black Elk described a horse and an eagle that came in visions to him as a young boy and provided guidance. Contemporary author Ted Andrews told of a wolf from the spirit world that spoke to him when he was four years old.
Adam, the family dog, had just died and Laura, seven, was having a very difficult time getting over the loss. She had really loved Adam and she didn’t know how to deal with losing him. According to her mother, ‘Laura was crying a lot about him and I just didn’t seem able to comfort her very well. We were driving in the car and Laura was talking a lot. I was tired and asked her to please just lie down and rest for a few minutes. Thankfully she did, and after about twenty minutes she sat up and said, ‘Mom, something wonderful happened: I left my body and went to talk with Adam. He told me that my being so upset about him dying was making it harder for him and if I really wanted to help him, I should send him love & light. So I did and it feels better.’ Laura paused and then added, ‘Adam said the reason he came to see me is that when somebody else close to me dies, I’ll know what to do.’
A few weeks later, Laura’s aunt gave birth to a baby with a terrible illness. It was a very difficult situation for everyone. Laura insisted on visiting the baby in the hospital. Her mother said, ‘I wasn’t sure about this. Normally, given Laura’s emotionally charged personality, I would have expected her to fall apart, to be really hysterical, and I didn’t think this was what the family needed. But we went to the hospital, and in the middle of all this grief. Laura insisted on holding the dying baby. She was unbelievably calm and clear, she was not upset or crying, but was working hard to help this dying baby by sending him love and light. She helped all of us.’
Two-year-old Alissa said that a dolphin would take her for rides on his back when he wanted to tell her something. Alissa’s mother described her introduction to her daughter’s special friend: ‘We were in our family room watching a dolphin video one evening. There were lots of dolphins in the scene, and suddenly Alissa ran up to me and said, ‘Mom, that looks just like Kiwa.’ I had no idea what she was talking about. I said, ‘Who’s Kiwa?’ ‘Kiwa is my dolphin,’ Alissa replied. ‘Well, how did you meet her?’ I asked. ‘Way back in Cincinnati. [They had moved recently from Cincinnati, however, Alissa had never physically been with a dolphin in Cincinnati.] I swim with him in the dolphin area. But I can’t stay in very long,’ Alissa explained. ‘When he needs to tell me something, he sees me on the beach and then he takes me. He lets me ride on his back.’
At first, Alissa’s mom assumed this was a cute fantasy. It was not long before she saw that her daughter’s visits with Kiwa offered something more. ‘Kiwa tells me how to fix things. He told he how to fix Jane’s head,’ Alissa announced one day. Jane was a friend of her mother’s who suffered from migraine headaches. Her mom said, ‘I had never told Alissa about Jane’s headaches, and we had never talked about them at our house. I had no idea that Alissa had any idea of Jane’s problem until one day when Jane was over. Alissa was telling me that Kiwa had something to tell Jane. She wouldn’t tell me what Kiwa was telling her because, she said, ‘It isn’t for you, it’s for Jane.’ Finally Alissa walked up to Jane, touched her and whispered very gently in her ear, ‘Relax.’
‘This sounds pretty simple, but Jane experienced it as a profound event. She has great trouble relaxing, is really high strung, and doesn’t take the time to calm herself, to relax. It seemed that it was not just the words that moved her because somehow Jane felt a healing in that moment.’ This little two-year-old knew nothing about Jane’s migraines, yet she was able to offer a direct and healing prescription.
While intelligence is usually associated with an ability to identify or articulate complex patterns of thought, wisdom often emerges as an elegantly simple proposition. This is not simplicity born of ignorance, but a simplicity that is tuned into what is essential in life. It cuts through the cloud of complexity. Children often go right to the heart of an issue. They often recognize pain, injustice, & phoniness very quickly. Wisdom cuts to what is of importance, not through calculation or shrewdness, the deepest insights, the authentic revelation, the healing vision come more directly, as an intuition.”
Tobin Hart. “The Secret Spiritual World of Children: The Breakthrough Discovery that Profoundly Alters our Conventional View of Children’s Mystical Experiences.” New World Library, 2003. Uniquely Important Book - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Helen Hamilton: Who I am - before & beyond all definitions & concepts