Babies and subtle energy
Have you ever wondered why we intuitively sing to our babies? And why it seems to calm them down? In order to produce a melody, we have to steady our breath. You can't sing if you're winded. Calming our breath automatically soothes our nervous system. When we are calm, our babies mirror that state. I know, this sounds like one of those touchy-feely statements. If you're the scientific type and don't believe in subtle energies, you're probably rolling your eyes right now. But this is not just the hormonal mom in me talking. Maybe babies are proof that subtle energy is real.
The negative spiral
Today, with little sleep and my running nose, baby-girl seemed unusually fussy. None of her favorite positions seemed to soothe her. After the third nap she was still cranky. Even after feeding she wasn't quite content. I began to worry that she might have caught something worse than a cold (yes, her nose had been running, too). I started entering a negative spiral of thought: "Will she be sick more often than her brother, because she catches all his germs? And will I always get it too? How will I be able to go back to teaching tonight on so little sleep? When will baby girl's sleep rhythm improve? Is the breast milk just not enough sustenance for her? Should we start giving her formula? Why did we decide to do this a second time? Things were so much easier with just one child... Will I ever get my freedom back?" And on and on it went.
Fortunately I was just on my way to postnatal yoga. That set the two of us right again. Baby girl was held and cuddled by another grown up. This person (my lovely postnatal teacher) was more rested and grounded than me. I was able to decompress via the vehicle of the body. Twenty minutes in, I was feeling a lot more optimistic and baby girl was cooing happily on her blanket, watching the moms go through their yoga moves.
Pick up the vibe and play it back
I would venture to say that whenever I'm more or less centered and grounded, my baby senses these vibes and mirrors them. This is not just true of children. It is usually quite obvious that whatever we emanate is mirrored by the world around us. My husband, the trained psychologist, insists that this is merely my subjective perception. According to him, when I'm in a good place, I experience the world as a friendly place. And vice versa, when I'm tired, angry or stressed out, people seem hostile, electronic devices all seem to have conspired against me and my children seem impossibly whiney.
It's true that it doesn't really matter which way you spin it, but I will attempt a pseudo-scientific explanation with a yogic touch: We are all made of pulsation. As long as we breathe, we have a pulse, a heartbeat and thus a rhythm. It's scientifically proven that this rhythm changes when we are stressed, in pain, tired or unhappy. The pulse picks up, our heart starts to race, our breath goes faster because of the fight or flight response in our nervous system. That is a fact.
When our rhythm changes, we emit a different frequency. I, for one, always notice the way a person is breathing when they speak. I can tell if they are winded because of some stress factor, or if they feel confident and relaxed. Now if I can pick up on a person's stress level by an auditory cue, imagine how quickly a baby that you hold close to your body will sense the shift. Babies rely greatly on their tactile and olfactory skills (mostly because they don't have many other skills). So when they feel your tempo pick up, it registers immediately.
The power to influence our vibes
But why do babies react? After all, they're little buddhas. They could also quietly think to themselves: "Ok, mom, you go be stressed. I'll be over here napping and sucking my pacifier." But that's not what happens in real life. Little babies are programmed like the rest of us. We are social beings who seek harmony with other humans. And to be in sync with others, what do we do? Yes, we mirror their rhythm. We pick up the ball and toss it back. That is the groundwork of interaction, and we begin to lay it long before any verbal skills are developed. We pick up the frequency and play it back.
Now my husband doesn't like this way of thinking because he says it's a way of placing blame. What does all this mean for someone who has a baby that cries a lot? Mind you, that is a whole different story. I'm not trying to intimate that we cause negative feedback from the world that surrounds us. But we are all interdependent. While physically we look like separate beings, our (yes, I will go there) energy fields constantly overlap. We emit a certain vibe that is palpable. And what' more, we can shape what send out to some extent. That's empowering, not guilt-tripping.
So next time you have one of those days when everything seems to be going wrong... When you just miss the bus and you were already late, when the printer doesn't work although you really need to send that piece of paper, when you punch in the wrong pin three times and the machine pulls in your card, when you're already tense and people seem determined on setting you off, don't waste time self-commiserating. Instead of reinforcing the negative spiral, you have the power of changing it. Maybe you just start humming a tune and deepening your breath.