[4 minute read]
Remember when you held your babies, and simply adored them, pouring out your love, as if the loving could be touched tangibly? Why did we do that? Was it because some social conditioning would make us feel inferior if we didn’t? No way. In most of those countless moments, there were no social witnesses. They were private moments between us and our babies. Only you and your baby were the witnesses.
What did you see? Pure, innocent vulnerability. A raw need to which no shame could be attached. An infant’s raw, natural need. That infant did not create the need, nor did you. It was purely natural.
And what did your baby experience? Much of what *you* were experiencing. Raw, innocent, purely natural, shameless vulnerability, being met by loving in a pure form, not motivated by any sense of social obligation, duty, or judgment. Natural loving.
That baby knew nothing about the world or shame or judgment. That infant had no concept of imitating love for the sake of appearing loving or nice or correct. That baby knew virtually nothing, and, at the same time, new almost everything that mattered. Human relationship in its purest and most natural form. Pure and natural loving.
Somewhere along the way, that natural loving got mixed in with imitative love as others watched us parent. We wanted to be doing things “right.” Diapering, bathing, dressing, feeding. We didn’t want to be seen by others as doing it incorrectly. Judgment crept into our loving.
There’s not a thing about parenting that is easy. Except the loving in those private moments. That is all. That was the purest of our nature. We acted from within, from our own fullness and completeness, with no need for guidance to be properly loving in those moments. There was no question of believing in ourselves, and our nature, and our capacity for loving.
Insecure, we tuned our ears to external guidance. “You shouldn’t pick up your baby every time it cries or they will become too dependent and not learn self comforting.” Your baby shouldn’t sleep with you. You should impose a feeding schedule. Etc. Think of all the opinionated debates you had with other parents or guides, even if only in your own head.
Our insecurity with the rawness and natural power of pure loving made us question whether we were doing everything right. That power is mysteriously overwhelming, after all. We excused our self-doubt and self-judgment as wanting the best for our babies. As if the best for them were not our true nature of pure loving. We questioned whether acting from within, purely from our heart, was right, or best. That self-questioning seemed very natural; by the time we are parents, we have had countless experiences of being wrong and doing things incorrectly. Why would we not have the same feelings about parenting?
During our own childhood and adult lives, we learned to defend our egos and appear as good people. Those conditioned scripts were tragically bound to overtake the purely natural loving of parenting. But moments of that natural loving arise occasionally, as our children grow up, and we are moved from within by that same natural loving. And so we rely on those moments — they are, after all, the most powerful experiences — to feed our self defenses…
We think to ourselves, “I am a good parent because I still love my child so naturally and deeply for who they are, not what they do, and not as others judge them.” That is true, but it is mixed in with false and imitative love, just as we have spent our lives defending against our flaws to protect our selves. We find ourselves competing against other parents, and, sadly, almost universally, against our child’s other parent.
As we defend ourselves from others, and even from our own self failings, we drift farther and farther from our deepest nature: Loving from the inside, not for the sake of battling judgment. Loving from the mysterious depth of our very nature.
But that nature has not disappeared. That nature remains underneath all of the external masks…
Today, lock eyes with another person, stranger or known. Even if for a moment, listen to them, feel with them, and don’t think. Suspend yourself in a judgment-free vacuum, and that purely natural loving will flow from that neglected or forgotten source deep within you. When you’re conscious that that happens, you can do it more often. It is our nature.
Neil D. 2020-06-01