Friday, October 17, 2014

Consciousness and the Infant's Mind

Reflecting on infancy can be challenges to begin with as recall is often fleeting and we sometimes lack the ability to retain clear cognizance of the experiences from the past at this early stage.  However, reflecting on our earliest years can allow us to comprehend innate levels of insight which we bring into this world and we do bring in with us at birth, all knowledge of our prior soul existence but once we begin to learn the typical language of those in our environments, we begin to lose the knowledge that we came here with.

Do babies sense eternity?  This question has been with me since I was a small child. I had clear memories of moments of stillness as a baby, when I felt I was contemplating the stillness of the sunlight around me. The swirling dance of dust particles in the morning daylight, or the rhythmic swaying of the trees which dominated the skyline of my native Pennsylvania, all conveyed to me a natural state of bliss.

We could connect to this bliss effortlessly as babies. So, what is it about the youngest age group that allows them to seemingly tune in to a natural state of contemplation?  Are babies still in some way connected to the heavenly stillness of the other side?  And if this is true, then is the journey of life, with all its inherent lessons, really just a process of developing life consciousness, only to shed it and return to the stillness of precious moments in infancy?

Many religions extol understandings of some form of blissful contemplation, meditative calm or state of grace. This search for Nirvana seems to be the central focus for most spiritualism. Why is it then that we have what seems to be an innate understanding of profound calm within our infant souls, yet then spend our lives searching for this quality throughout our frantic and stressful existence?  Perhaps it is the case that we need to undergo a series of “Life Lessons” in order to reconnect with the stillness of the infant, who retains moments of bliss from our heavenly origins.

If this is true, than the first such life lesson we must explore is that of the angelic infant. In many ways, the connection between infants and the angels has always been part of cultural expression. Renaissance paintings often depicted angels as cherubic infants, perched happily on clouds while overseeing humanity. This depiction became synonymous with nineteenth century portrayals of romantic love. So, our first life lesson is revealed. We have come to associate the innocence and purity of the infant child with a form of pure and angelic love.

Nowhere is this portrayed more vividly than in the story of the Nativity of Christ. For many families, the Nativity scene is central to the celebration of Christmas, and many adults, wise men and creatures from the animal world are depicted in traditional nativity scenes, it is the infant Christ who is central to this holy scene. One aspect of the nativity which has always intrigued me is the journey of the Maja, or Three Wise Men, who travel great distances under the light of the Stars in order to pay homage to the infant Christ.

It was this infant, the baby Jesus, which was the subject to such reverence. We must then draw on this holiest of stories to come to a deeper understanding of the life lesson of infancy. Moreover, it can be understood that all the wisdom of the Earth can be surpassed by the simple spiritualism of the infant, born in a state of grace that connects the heavens with this realm.

Essentially, our first life lesson is just that; we must understand our divinity through the simple sanctity of infancy, and come to know that stillness that allows the infant to contemplate without desire of knowledge. In other words, we must re-learn the art of unconditional contemplation, the meditation of nothingness, not to avoid this world, but rather to keep us connected to the blissfulness of the heavenly realm from which we all emanate originally.

Therefore, we can come to an understanding of infancy as a significant time in the journey of the human, the inception where we retain an innate connection with our spiritual Source. We can say with some certainty that the infant child retains definite angelic qualities, which make some religious ceremonies such as baptisms seem misplaced. In fact, it is we adults who should submit ourselves to the graceful stillness of the infant, as opposed to requiring the infant to be inducted into our far from perfect world, with all the egotistically derived problems it contains.

The answers to this crucial initial life lesson are to be found in the wisdom of all the great religions and philosophies. However, in seeking out this wisdom, it is better not too get bound up too much in the fundamentalism of man-made disciplines. Remember the simple contemplation of the infant, where celestial stillness is achieved without understanding, and unconditional grace is attained without the egotistical seeking of humanity’s burdensome knowledge.

Look inside for this infant like stillness, through gentle meditation, and by immersing yourself in nature. While the act of learning should be treasured, we should equally treasure silent contemplation. One has only to spend some time gazing upon the celestial stars, or the cerulean sky reflected in the ocean, or a beautiful forest or sunlit meadow, in order to find oneself eventually reconnecting with the innate stillness of our infant selves. 

Sometimes, we can be carried away to this spiritual place by the sounds of rain against our window, or of the wind in the trees. This hum of nature is part of the spiritual connection between heaven and earth, to experience it in solitude or with a loved one becomes a moment to be treasured. It is at these moments that we reconnect with the stillness of our pure and innocent infant selves, and thereby with our spiritual core.

When we compare these moments to the experience of the egotistical world we have created as adults, with all its traffic jams, pollution and hostility to one another, we can soon come to an understanding of one of life’s overarching lessons; that we need to escape from the harsh reality of the ego-based world by experiencing infant like stillness by immersing ourselves in more natural settings for moments of quiet contemplation.

Of course, this most holiest of contemplation can be achieved through the sacred prayers of all the great religions. Without doubt, there are many ways to achieve nirvana through mediation and yogic practices. However, what is important is the achievement of the stillness of the infant, rather than becoming dogmatic about the process which brings you to that state of grace.

In other words, a crucial life lesson is that of simplicity and acceptance. Don’t become too bound up in the complexities of contemporary arguments or philosophies on your journey back to the gentle stillness of infancy, seek instead this stillness within you through meditative contemplation and immersion in nature. The aural sounds of the sources of all life such as the “Om” which can be found in most meditations can also be ascertained in the hum of communal prayers across the many great religions.

The internationally renowned writer Wayne Dyer has outlined the similarities in the primordial “Shalom/Om” sound and our many words for the holy Creator: God, Krishna, Jehovah, Ra, Jah, and so on. This primordial hum is the essential sound of life, and is central to the experiences of the infant, whose sense of perception is not yet bound up with the world of the ego. Therefore, it is a significant life lesson to reconnect with that primordial hum through meditation or prayer, tuning us once more into the frequency of all that is gentle, sacred and holy.

So, we can agree that our first Life Lesson is a most significant one; we must revisit the gentle wisdom of the infant in order to reconnect with what is most sacred and pure. Through this understanding of the state of grace of infancy, we can learn to achieve a greater connection with the wonders of the celestial heavens and the natural earth, allowing us to draw on the energies of the Cosmos above and the Gaia below to envelop our lives in a sacred energy which will carry us through the challenges of our existence. 

 Dr. Liam Leonard (BA, M.Phil, PhD) (Editor/Contributor) has combined spiritual, social and environmental perspectives in his work. A Reiki and Seichim Master, he is the author of several books and journal articles. He has also spoken on national and local radio. Having lived in Europe and the United States, he combines a global worldview with a personal understanding of spiritual themes. He is currently working on a spiritual guide to living titled 'Life Lessons' with Rev. Dr. J.L. Harter. Dr. Leonard has edited and published writers from all corners of the world and looks forward to the contributions to the Journal of Collected Consciousness.

© 2014 Dr. Liam Leonard (photo/words)