My four year old grandson loves buses, trams, and the Vienna underground railway. A few days ago, we played the following game: together we get on a bus and travel for as long as he likes. Then we get off the bus and take another form of transport. We repeat this as many times as it is fun for us, and then we go home.
It was a delightful afternoon. From the first moment, he took the initiative, most unlike many other occasions when adults decide and want to get somewhere on time, and of course always quickly. From one moment to the next we had no destination, neither he nor I.
Emilian did what he usually does: he watched everything very closely. He told me he had seen carnival costumes in a shop display, wondered aloud why an old woman was walking with a stick, and why there are handles at the back of the tram seats. His eyes and ears were everywhere. Children his age do not need to be taught mindfulness.
He has infected his grandmother. We were both very relaxed in all of this. It was at the same time paradoxical and completely natural to travel together through the city in this manner.
And we elders sit many hours in meditation to approach such a state of mind. We have learned to think analytically, and then it has grown over our heads. That’s what we’ve reaped. On the other hand, we now have many destinations.
*Originally published on saekularerbuddhismus.org