Quit Thy Childhood, Wake Up

The inspiration for this article arose from two recent events. The first was related to the poignant account of a man whose wife had recently passed away; of how he and his wife had walked a pathway together for many years, including periods when her body-mind had been ill. The second occurred when I read the following quote attributed to Jean-Jacques Rousseau:

Sors de l’enfance, ami, revéille-toi!”

Quit thy childhood, my friend, and wake up.” [tr]

The purpose of this article is to ease suffering that’s associated with the human perspective. Its content is a distillation of ingredients derived from my apparent personal challenges, and my passionate interest in the nature of consciousness, spirituality, and the law of attraction. The information will naturally pour forth to anyone who feels inclined to hold out a cup.

Every “thing” appears to have a beginning and an end, including persons. A sapling appears in the forest, and we realize that (if it grows unimpeded) someday an aged tree will fall. Due to our conditioning, the predominant belief held by humans is that we “are” the objective body-mind that appears. The body-mind (person) has a birth date and also a death date. The conclusion, therefore, is often that death must spell our end. Directly and indirectly, we experience the suffering the comes with this perspective. My personal story includes the sudden loss of my father when I was sixteen.

Let’s deepen our understanding NOW, by contemplating the meaning of the quotation above. By writing, “quit thy childhood,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau seems to be urging us to abandon our childlike nature and be adults; but, surely, he realizes that those who read his work are adults. How nonsensical! And what did he mean by, “wake up,” punctuated by an exclamation mark? The quotation seems like an apparent slap in the face. The key to a deeper realization is closely related to the subject matter of the book in which I found the quote: The World As Will And Representation, by Arthur Schopenhauer. In the first few lines, a strong clue–directly stated–is found for those who are ready to decipher its meaning:

The world is my representation: this is a truth valid with reference to every living and knowing being, although man alone can bring it into reflective, abstract consciousness.”

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the first definition for the word representation is as follows: “an artistic likeness or image.” The majority of humankind may exclaim, “But, surely Schopenhauer didn’t mean this literally!” The “world” to which he refers cannot possibly be imaginal–it’s real, material, and objective, independent of our perspective! We are absolutely certain of this; but here’s the catch:

We’re certain, not because we truly know; only because we assume it so.

Many readers may, understandably, exclaim the following: “But my body, it’s real–I can feel it and sense it!” This, indeed, is a major component in the illusion that is being cast. The Sanskrit term for this is Maya. When we stay rigorously present with our direct experience (as Rupert Spira advises), we can acknowledge that we experience sensations and perceptions (via tasting, touching, seeing, hearing, and smelling) but never an actual body or world. It is only via the mind that we “know” anything objective. We assume that objects, including our body-mind and the world, possess independent existence; that we are merely observers of them. This, however, is assumption. That which is Real, eternal and immortal, is the Knower, not the apparent phenomena. To recognize this directly, we must turn within and discover the deeper dimension of ourselves that is beyond flesh and bones.

My interest in the nature of consciousness, spirituality, and the law of attraction paid an unexpected dividend. True to what sages, saints, and gurus have shared for millennia, this world, and our experience of it occur in a dream. It is to this that “quit thy childhood, wake up” refers. To avoid needless suffering, we must shed our childhood perspective and mature in the knowing of what we really ARE. Sri Ramana Maharshi advocated self-inquiry via the question “Who Am I?”, termed jnana-vichara in Sanskrit. In Truth, we are Consciousness, Spirit, dreaming a so-called human experience. To know this directly is what can ease the suffering that is part and parcel of identifying with the human perspective.

If this seems too ludicrous to consider, please contemplate the nature of your dreams at night. Do they not also seem real when they occur? However, in the morning do you see any evidence related to them, beyond fleeting memory? No, of course not. What Schopenhauer realized is that our true nature is Spirit eternal. When awaking occurs in the morning, we merely enter a deeper level of dream. Once again, we don the perspective of a separate “self,” with a continuing plotline for the character that is known by our name and form. The erroneous belief is that we can actually be that character. We cannot.

To believe that we and the ones we love are merely flesh and bones is to perpetuate a most enfeebling perspective about reality. It is founded upon ignorance (meaning unawareness) of our true Self. When we assume it, we are apparently limited to the abilities of that level of consciousness. To promote it through our own uninvestigated assumptions about our identity is to invite great suffering. This needn’t be so. Please, ask yourself, “Who am I?”–really. Any answer short of Truth will not suffice.

Dare to Dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2022 – R. Arthur Russell

P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. My YouTube videos may be found through this link. May the content of either or both help you along your spiritual journey. 🙏🧡

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

6 thoughts on “Quit Thy Childhood, Wake Up

  1. Such an interesting phrase “quit thy childhood” since it seems like a great example of what you speak is of babies who exist long before they develop a concept of “a self.” But I suppose since Rosseau gave his child(ren) up to a foundling hospital, he may not have observed that.

    An interesting post, Art. Thank you!


    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Wynne! In my article, to “give up thy childhood” didn’t mean that we couldn’t be playful and young as the “apparent” adult. It meant to give up the childhood perspective, and to realize that we are Spirit, aka Consciousness, having a human experience. We are first conditioned to believe that we are the “person,” comprised of body and mind; and then we unlearn all of that when we re-cognize (know again) that we are Spirit, having an apparently human experience.

      Liked by 1 person

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