Over the weekend, I had the great pleasure of spending time with several beautiful, sweet, innocent babies. All about a year old. I watch them play. I watch them eat. I watch them laugh. I watch them repeat spoken words. I watch them “be”. I can’t help but notice that the infant is doing nothing than playing, eating, laughing, chatting. Nothing but that one thing they are doing in the present moment. I don’t imagine that the infant is worried about wether there is enough food for his next meal. I don’t imagine the infant is upset about the toy that was taken away from them yesterday. I don’t imagine that the infant is asking themselves if they are worthy of all the love around them. They just soak it all in. As I write this, I think of the infant that might be born to abusive or very impoverished parents. Even that infant is not saying to himself “I bet my neighbour has more food in their fridge” or “I wonder if my neighbour has healthier parents”. My point is that regardless of the situation, infants live in the present moment. They adapt to whatever is happening now.
It is my belief today, that infants grow up to be stressed children, young adults, and adults because of the stories and the wounds that we as their parents pass onto them. Of course, our culture just helps to cement that sense of “not having enough” or “not being good enough” in them. It’s an entire system where we were fed certain stories of how to be, where we belong, what we should fear, who we should be with, what kind of education we should get, what kind of work we should do … and we pass on all those judgements, all those fears and constructs to our kids. Layer by layer we attempt to build these little people into the humans we think they should be, and essentially, take them away from the present moment awareness that they had as infants. Kids grow up being told that their parents are wise, that they should respect their teachers, and therefore who’s to blame them when they follow along on that treadmill of life, checking off the boxes that are placed in front of them?
We are taking away the magic that exists by nature in infancy, and laying down a whole bunch of rules that children need to live by, from a very early age. Society preaches more and more connection, but today that is represented by the number of “likes” we get on our social media posts.
It’s no wonder that kids are being given meds to help calm them down or keep them focused. The roadmap to their future, that they are often given, seems complicated and hard to manoeuvre.
That is why I love what I do. Yoga and meditation bring us back to that state in infancy where we were encouraged to just be. We didn’t have to “do” anything, we were loved just for being ourselves. Our smile was enough to fill everyone around us with joy.
On our mats, we use our breath, each and every breath, as an opportunity to be in that moment. To feel complete and whole. To let go of the roles we hold in other peoples’ lives.
What’s really left for us to do on our mat, is a process of “undoing” and of “letting go”; of the stories, of the fears, of the roadmap, of all that was placed upon us when we were young. Of all that society says we should be and should do. It’s a process of getting back to our infant selves, when we simply were.
And it was enough.