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See Life from an Infant's Eyes
Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.: Wed, Oct 10th 2012
Every day in life we get stuck in habitual ways of living and often miss out on the warning signs that may be telling us that something difficult is coming ahead. For example a high frequency of negative thoughts may indicate that depression may be visiting and coloring our sense of reality. At other times we’re so caught up in the mundane that we miss out on pleasant events. Practicing having a beginner's mind not only helps us come down from our busy minds and reduce stress, but gets us back in touch with the wonders of everyday life.
You may have thought about this before, but one way to get back in touch with beginner's mind is to imagine you’re looking through an infant’s eyes. Or if you have an infant in your life begin by telling that infant all the things s/he will likely encounter in life. In a nonjudgmental way, tell the infant about what it might be like to experience food for the first time and all the different kinds that are out there. How some will seem pleasant, while others unpleasant and yet others more neutral.
Continue with letting him/her know the range of emotions that will be experienced in this life. What about all the different forms of nature and how there are so many different trees and flowers to notice. Tell him or her about the sky, sun, clouds, snow, and rain. Tell him or her about how sometimes people can be kind and at other times people can be aggressive and how he or she will experience what that is like. Go on and fill in the blanks if the mind keeps going. It is really an exercise in seeing how many experiences this life has to offer.
It can really be quite amazing.
One thing we know about the brain is that there is an inverse correlation between rumination and being present. You can't taste the ice tea if you're worrying about the future and you can't worry about the future if you are truly present to tasting the tea.
Practicing beginner's mind is an active way to get back in touch with the wonders of life and can support our challenges with mental health whether it is stress, anxiety, depression, or trauma.
Try it out and share with the rest of us what you find. Your additions below provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Trust vs mistrust - Sandra - Jan 14th 2013
According to Erikons's eight stages of psychosocial development, infancy establish a bond with a trusted caregiver which is the parent. They build a bond with the parent because they take care of them, they give them what they want, they feed them, and build trust with them. And as they get older they build trust with different people around them.