Spiritual Awakening in Children – Is This Possible?

Sometimes children can be unruly, loud, and demanding. Some children seem empty-headed, selfish, and incessantly bickering. Many of us also feel a vague yearning for our childhood. It is the innocence of being a child that tugs at our hearts. This may be due to the fact that children live in the ‘here now’. Children are believed to be able to live in the present and have an inherent energy and spontaneity. Are there signs of spiritual awakening in children? Is there transcendent awareness?

William Blake and William Wordsworth’s poetry Songs Of Innocence, and Ode. Intimations of Mortality invoked a magical freshness in perception and a natural kinship to all that is visible.

Ideas for spiritual awakening in childhood
Abraham Maslow, who was interested in ‘peak experiences’ in adults, believed that children can also experience visionary awakenings but lack the words to describe them. You may not be able to recall a profoundly moving experience from decades ago.

Famous for her books on the terminally ill and her books , Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross shocked medical science in late 1970’s when she revealed in her book on Children and Death her transcendent perceptions.

“It is impossible not to notice the thousands of stories that dying patients, children and adults alike, have shared with me. These revelations are beyond scientific explanation. 

Hoffman’s conclusions about children
Edward Hoffman, a clinical psychologist, collected memories from adults about their inspirational awakenings in early life. In his book Visions of Childhood, Edward Hoffman discovered a pattern of childhood spirituality through the early years of childhood.

These experiences were often filled with deep meaning, beauty, and great harmony. Sometimes, they also involved awareness of another kind of reality. These were found in everyday places as well as when encountering nature and during crisis or near-death situations.

Memories that last a lifetime are those moments of joy and deep insights about oneself and life in childhood.

Children have profound intuitions
Hoffman’s respondents shared stories of childhood experiences in which they speculated on life and death and engaged in reflections about their personal existence and self-transcendence.

One man, for example, reported that his family owned a mortuary in a small Colorado town as a child. He grew up knowing a lot about death. He still wonders where the bodies of his deceased relatives go. “Do they just disappear into a hole in a ground?” How does it feel to be dead? He recalled sitting on a bench in the park and imagining that his grandfather was dead.

His entire body felt dreadful and trembling. It vanished instantly. It was replaced with a warm, comfortable, bright feeling and a loving presence. “I heard my grandpa say, “See, it’s all okay. “I’m only in a different place. 

He recalls that he never had to fear death again from that point forward.

A Connecticut woman reported that her three-year-old son would ask her questions about God when she was older. He was seen standing still next to their window one day. He was just staring at the window and not moving. This is a rare thing for someone so young. He eventually left and answered when asked, “I was talking to God.” He was submissive and continued to play as usual. He was reluctant to tell her about his experience and, when asked later in his life, he didn’t seem to recall.

Is spiritual awakening common in children?
Do deeper experiences seem more common than we think? If the child experiencing them isn’t sure, it could be true. They might seem strange because they are private and hard to explain. Perhaps parents or childhood friends were negative and the child clammed up.

Children are taught to have spiritual feelings
Emanuel Swedenborg, a spiritual philosopher, is one way to understand what’s going on. He suggests that the infant mind may be especially open to the idea of the heavens of innocence.

Little children are able to experience wonder and trust in their lives because they have access to a higher spiritual realm. This inflow results in a young child who looks with wonder and a mind full of imagination, and feels a sense of innocence.

This state of innocence includes the willingness to accept that one doesn’t produce all the good things that come to him. It’s acknowledging one’s insufficiency.

The infant’s inability to sense time can be an indication of the heavenly trust in divine reality and the consequent sense of the “eternal now”.

He suggested that the levels of higher feelings about the goodness and value of life differ depending on age.

  • Little children believe that life is good.
  • Middle childhood: Wanting to learn about the good.
  • Adolescence is a time when you want to know why something is so good.

This view states that when we are young, our unconscious feelings and inner awareness form deep intuitions. These intuitions can remain dormant until we get older. However, we will need to use them later in life for our spiritual awakening.

Re-connecting with our childhood spirituality is important
These childhood memories suggest that there is a’small forgotten child’ who is our past self, yet still lives in each of us. Hoffman believes that strengthening our connection to our childhood is key to achieving greater happiness. It’s not only about connecting with the wounded child, but also to the moments of spiritual awakening that occur in childhood.

Jesus Christ said that the innocence of childhood might be able to produce special spiritual and intuitive sensitivity.

“Unless you become like children, you won’t be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven.” 

As a clinical psychologist, Stephen Russell-Lacy has specialised in cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy, working for many years with adults suffering distress and disturbance.

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