65 On Childishness vs. Child-likeness

Beloved Dharia,

Being childlike, which is what I think you mean by "inner child", is a natural state.
Infantilism, being childish, is an unnatural state.

The difference is that being childlike is a state of innocence and freshness, of non-seriousness, that lets you be more effective in the world.

On the other hand, being childish is a state of immaturity, of avoidance, where you intentionally sabotage your work, or social situations, with your "inner child" serving only as an excuse.

Also, those who are concerned about other people noticing their behaviour are being childish.
Childlike people are never concerned about others noticing how innocent they are, because they really are innocent!

When you try to create a childlike attitude, you will almost always end up just being childish instead.
This is because what you are trying to create is not natural.
You are trying to make it, because you think it is how you have to be.
You heard that meditators are childlike, so you imitate.
This is childish.

Real childlike nature comes naturally, out of meditation.
There is no effort to create it.

Finally, if your behaviour is making it more difficult for you to actually work in the world, or in the school, or if you are doing that behaviour as an excuse not to practice some kind of discipline, then it is probably childish behaviour.