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My friend posted this photo of himself on Facebook (yes, I got permission to use it..) with the comment “I swear, one day I will actually grow up. In the meantime …” 1456121_10102584665960503_629784259_n People started commenting “Yeah, never grow up..”, “Grownies are no FUN” etc. This just bugs me beyond believe. Displaying random silliness and not caring what others think about it, does not mean you are not grown up. On the contrary! And no, I don’t think never growing up is the coolest thing one can do.

Never wanting to grow up is the most ignorant and laziest life form there is.. Never wanting to grow up means not taking responsibility of your own life, it means not taking responsibility of your own emotions, it means not learning every day and growing every day.

Being an adult yet able to express childlike wonder, being able to be in the moment with so much presence only a child can muster, actually requires you to have grown up! It requires us to have gone through the motions of re-learning. We all get conditioned with “should be”, “must”, “have to”, “expected to”. We all get conditioned to worry about the future, most of us are shown how to ruminate in the past.

We have to GROW UP and re-learn, but this time with more understanding, rather than presence and innocence being the default state we are born with. Understanding our shadows, allowing and accepting all emotions and being able to let them be. Understanding we are not our emotions or our thoughts, understanding the wonders of life and the universe and therefore being able to be present like an innocent child.

I wish for a world where everyone takes the responsibility to grow up. For a world of love, innocence and silliness…

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The beginning of the year I took part in a 9 week Stanford Study called “Cultivating Compassion”. The study was initiated by the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and the idea is to find out whether specific compassion meditation will improve compassion in individuals.

Stanford Continuing Studies now offers a course on this subject. It is taught by my favorite professor Kelly McGonigal. The study session were led by her as well and I have known her from other Continuing Studies classes I attended at Stanford. I can only recommend both the subject matter as well as the teacher. In the continuing studies course she will probably combine the meditation practice with the scientific research studies on the subject.

I have taken her class The Science of the Calmed Mind a year and half ago and it was fabulous. She combined teaching different meditation practices with the latest research studies on meditation. I assume The Science of the Compassionate Mind will follow a similar structure.