Every moment matters, especially the early formative moments. There is no ‘down time,’ no ‘get out of jail free.’ This is the moment. Who and what we are is defined by how we live this split second. Don’t miss it. More to the point; don’t mess it up!
I admit being a bit stressed having moved my studio, office and residence in one full sweep. Being tired, moving boxes for the 10,000 time, not being able to find anything and having the drill bit break and get stuck in the wall – well, darn, I got mad and tossed the drill. It was not an uncommon burst of frustration. What was startling, however, was the way Carly, half way across the house, much too far to hear or see my display, burst into tears that very moment. I heard her scream and a moment later she was knocking at the garage door. My wife, who knew nothing of my outburst, explained that Carly had to be with me. Instantly I knew what had happened.
Without knowing what caused my anger, Carly knew, from the inside out, that I was distressed and came to connect and be sure everything, meaning that I, was OK. I picked her up, focused on my heart for a split second, re-centering and attuning with care, appreciation and affection as I whispered my apology. This dramatic reminder of how sensitive and telepathic pre-lingual children are brought back thirty-year-old memories of my second son John-Michael being equally attuned. Eric, now about forty, was too, but I was, alas, not aware enough to notice; my problem, not his. This is what I mean by ‘every moment matters.’ And what matters has quantum implications, meaning that the ‘model imperative’ our behavior represents is far more pervasive than external sensory experiences. What we think and the emotions we feel radiate like a radio broadcast, some say infinitely and forever.
We live under the delusion that we are continuous, that there is a fixed ‘me’ to whom things happen and who feels their impact. This is an abstraction. The truth is: we are never the same. A great deal of attention was given to ‘states’ of being when Joseph Chilton Pearce and I collaborated on Magical Parent-Magical Child. It is easy to see how we instantly can change from calm to angry or from hungry to lusty or safe to anxious. When we define ourselves by the ‘state’ we are in rather than an abstracted ‘I’ or ‘me’ it is obvious that we are never the same. Once this realization is made the game changes. The quest then becomes to obtain and maintain the best possible state.
Learning and performance are ‘state specific.’ Optimum states are the prerequisite for optimum learning and performance. Ideally we would be in ‘the zone’ all the time. If this were the ‘model given’ our children would normalize optimum and behave accordingly without even considering anything less. Rather than optimum being the exception it would be the norm. This is nature’s agenda.
The essence of what we call spiritual development or personal mastery is maintaining optimum states of learning and performance when faced with increasingly challenging demands. The quality of our state of being becomes doubly important when we are attuned to a young child. They feel and respond to the state but don’t know why.
Think of your inner state as a radio frequency, because it is. The local stations are every cell in your body. The more distant receivers are the people, animals and plants in the room or the next room, especially those like Carly who are exquisitely attuned to your station. The outer, physical expression is important but the real meaning resonates in the state. That’s where our inner work is, inside us, insuring that we are broadcasting the best state possible each moment. Sure we screw up and get mad or frustrated. Real maturity implies mastery of the inner-state that drives the outer behavior. That is where the action is. The outer behavior is a reflection or shadow of the inner.
Sport psychologist Tim Galewey coined the phrase the ‘inner-game’ to focus on the difference between the inner state of being and our outer behavior. The inner, of course, defines the outer. That is the point. The question is, are we conscious enough, moment by moment, to stay in the zone?
My love and wanting to ‘do no harm’ to Carly is a powerful motivation to raise the bar on my inner game. ‘Do no harm’ is the Hippocratic physician’s oath, based on ancient Greek tradition. Don’t you think this simple phrase; ‘do no harm,’ is the real foundation for parents or anyone who cares for children? To not harm our children means that we must first not harm ourselves. We need to treat ourselves with the care, mindful attention, respect and affection we want for our children. How can we give them what we don’t have? This is all ‘state specific.’
Every moment matters. There is no ‘down time.’ This is the moment. Who and what we are and to a great extent the future of our children is defined by how we live this split second. Don’t miss it. More to the point: don’t mess it up! And if you do, that’s OK. Here is the next moment to be your very best. We always have another chance, and another.