Reflections on a newborn, and Gandalf.
I have been granted the privilege to participate in a new person's life recently. I had front row seating for his first breath. I look in his little baby eyes and I see someone looking at me, with no concepts or beliefs to hide behind. He is whole, open, and completely present in every moment. Everything he does is a full expression unfiltered by the world around him. There is vastness of possibility and power distilled down into something tiny enough to look back at me. Life is happening through the vehicle of this human extremely fragile and weak body. It is a strange thing to watch someone learn their own body. Watching this process unfold it is so clear that it is uncomfortable and blissful to be alive.
For the most part, we become acclimated to these bodies, and begin to form our person-hood. All that we know of ourselves is formed around what was already present upon arrival. We build our habits, relationships, and world view on a foundation that we largely choose not to explore. After all, to unearth the ground under what appears stable will be disorienting and remind us of the unpleasantness of this whole temporary affair of living life. In many ways it feels more "safe" to avoid being with the discomfort of being alive. We look to to reinforce our sense of self through relationships with the world around us which contributes to our sense of separateness from our own experience.
We are socialized to turn our attention outward to the world for the sense of stability and security. Our world, though, does not provide us with sure footing either. There are constantly shifting and changing ideas and beliefs being taught to us or forced upon us. When we gravitate towards or away from the artifice of human culture, we further entrench our sense of separateness, knowingly or unknowingly. In some ways it is exciting and entertaining to be aware of the evolving attitudes and ways of exploring the world we inherited. Our efforts to find ways to participate more deeply in the formation of this human-centered world leads us to debate, create, and sometimes escape. We find ourselves "in" or "out" of groups, and form our inner relationship and attitudes with our belonging or lack thereof; our identity and identification with who and how we know ourselves becomes more dense.
These identifications and identities are the thick candy coating of separateness that keeps us from the soft and sweet chocolate center of our being. The coating may feel necessary, valuable, important, affirming, or appropriate. It is, until it isn't. Under that veneer of roles and responsibility, underneath the managing, controlling, and strategizing there is only openness. It is out of that open and aware space within us that our capacity to love and experience joy arises. We do not need to strive or seek out what already lives within us. We only need to make effort to break down what separates us from what is already present equally in everyone and everything: limitless love, joy, wisdom, and presence.
When I see the tenderness and openness of this newborn baby in my life, I see all the places in my own heart where I have yet to soften. I can feel a softness come over me that urges me to lean into and welcome every aspect of my life. My hope is that my opening will impact my presence on his life, and in the world beyond what I can know through my senses. My hope for you is that you will find what is in you that needs nourishment, encouragement, and love.
Inspired by Gandalf - "Nature Boy"
There was a boy...
A very strange enchanted boy
They say he wandered very far, very far
Over land and sea
A little shy and sad of eye
But very wise was he
And then one day
One magic day, he passed my way
And as he spoke of fools and kings
This he said to me:
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return."
Just love and be loved in return