Four Primary Principles of Conscious Childrearing
Intimacy Is the Healing Principle
Adi Da: The right association of true devotees duplicates the spontaneously healing mechanism that the Spiritual Master brings to each student. That mechanism is love. Mutual love conducts the Radiant Power of Life, and it purifies each of us of our accumulations of independent, subjective, and mortal experience. Through right association we consciously share the qualities and energies of Life in a most benign way, so that the imbalances of each individual are harmonized by the spectrum of qualities radiating from others. The process of reception-release engaged in such devotional intimacy is the direct communication of Life-Force, providing a circuit for the conductivity of energy in the bodily being. And such love and spiritual intimacy is the perfect rejuvenating Agent, the Force that enlivens the whole bodily being and enables us to transcend the whole world. (The Eating Gorilla Comes In Peace)
Intimacy Is the Healing Principle
The intimacy that Adi Da recommends to students is nowhere better summarized than in this excerpt from “Become Wounded by Love”:
What I mean by this Love for one another is to become wounded by love, to submit yourself to that, to live in that world and make your relationships about that. Be vulnerable enough to Love and be loved. If you do this, you will be wounded by this love. You will be wounded, but you will not be diseased. The Wound of Love is the hole in the universe, and ultimately it is Realized as such. In this hole in the universe, this domain of Feeling without armoring, without self-contraction, the great physics is present, the great science, the great possibility, is evident. Hardly anyone in human history has known of it. Human beings in general do not want anything to do with it. They do not want to come close enough to it to be wounded in their intimacies with one another. It is the doorway to infinite Transfiguration, Transformation, and finally Outshining of phenomenal existence. It is the way into the Transcendental Domain. You must be wounded in order to Realize God. You must be wounded to hear and see. It is felt even physically as a kind of wound. It is felt as intense, armorless vulnerability. (Crazy Wisdom, Vol. 2, No. 7, p. 31.)
By resting in the wound of vulnerability with our children, they feel connected to Life. They depend on us to continually reconnect them to Happiness and love, so that they may be healed of the shock of independent existence and move through the stages of life in their appropriate time. Thus, true healing takes place in an environment of open feeling, in which the being is given access to the Wisdom and Power of the Divine. This restores the heart to its native disposition of Love-Communion with God. Children do not learn Communion, vulnerability, and love by themselves. They must be lead to spiritual intimacy with God. They will tend to merely play out their threatened consciousness if we do not provide them with a humanizing, self-transcending culture in which intimacy heals the self-contraction.
Intimacy Is the Healing Principle
(based on a talk by Adi Da, 7/19/80,
Look at the Sunlight on the Water)
The purpose of discipline is to provide children with conditions through which they may adapt to the laws of life, or the demand for a relational and sacrificial disposition. The key to helping children make this adaptation is to integrate them into social conditions and behavior to the point of enjoymentin other words, to draw them into a sphere of intimacy. Once a child has learned to enjoy relational life, or the circumstance of intimacy, then the basic discipline for improper behavior is to temporarily withdraw the privilege of social contact, though without bodily punishment. The effectiveness of such discipline, however, rests entirely on a free and Happy approach to the child. Obviously, not everyone is able to practice this discipline, because it requires a profoundly loving commitment to the child. Therefore, parents, teachers, and other adult intimates must awaken to this responsibility so that it becomes possible to truly serve the child through this approach. Strong, dependable, and loving relationships with children form the foundation for the application of discipline, through which children are aided in their adaptation to a lawful way of life. When this discipline of temporary separation or exclusion is practiced without the background of an intimate love relationship, it becomes a very dehumanizing and non-sympathetic approach, and the child is likely to become more and more exaggerated in the very qualities that the discipline was intended to address.
So long as intimacy is firmly established, temporary separation from the social circumstance is useful, because it allows the child to recognize what he or she truly values, and what is truly of value, which is love and intimacy. Such discipline puts the child in a position in which he or she can and must make choices based on what is valuable: The child can react and dramatize, or he or she can choose to be in relationship in a circumstance of love and intimacy.
It is not easy for a child to recognize what is valuable in the midst of the bombardment of experience that anyone encounters during childhood. If we are to help children to realize that intimacy is the primary value, then love must prevail in the child’s life. Only in this way can intimacy be brought into the foreground of his or her experience. If the pleasure of intimacy is absent, if love is not freely given, then the child is automatically reduced to manipulative, reactive efforts to attain love and attention. Based on this consideration, there are three principles that must be strictly adhered to when a child is dramatizing and requires discipline:
1. Do not assume a problem. Rather, assume a happy willingness to serve the child, based on your understanding that the child’s unhappiness is an opportunity for him or her to hear the Teaching and for you to serve the child in that hearing. (“Hearing” is a technical expression used by Adi Da to describe the intuitive understanding of the self-contraction and simultaneous intuitive awakening to Transcendental Consciousness that arise through disciplined study of the argument of the Adept. Such hearing is the foundation for the practice of true spiritual life.)
2. Ask the child to talk about how he or she feels. All children, and preschoolers in particular, tend to regress to a nonverbal state when suppressing emotions. It is important to draw them into a relational disposition in which humor and sympathy for the ordinary man’s dilemma can be expressed on both your parts.
3. Be creative in bringing the child an alternative to his or her unhappy action.
Basically, there is one thing that children are reacting to, and that is the absence of intimacy. Reactive emotions and inappropriate behavior in general are secondary symptoms of a primary frustration. What is being frustrated is intimacy, or life-positive, associative energy. Thus, you cannot deal with these secondary, reactive emotions directly, as if they were the point. What the child is actually suffering is the point, and that is what must be addressed in him or her. A circumstance must be provided in which the primary emotion of love can be expressed or chosen in any moment…
On the basis of such consistent intimacy, temporary social exclusion of a child for negative or unrelational behavior can and does serve his or her social and spiritual adaptation. Children should not be instructed about life and emotions primarily through language, or by being “talked at,” nor should they be arbitrarily disciplined in the absence of prior intimacy. Rather, they should be instructed through intimacy, through the development of sensitivity to the primary emotion of love. Always enhance that sensitivity, rather than deal problematically with secondary emotions. Children should be practicing the primary associative attitudes and experiences of serving, sharing, listening, touching, and so on.
What all this points to is that there are no “methods,” no techniques for disciplining and raising children if you are not already loving. If you live this Way of life, the principles of creative human adaptation, including the discipline of children, will become obvious. In that case there will be no need for conventional techniques. The profound obligation to serve the highest adaptation of human growth will be your natural capability. Your service will be to God, not to fulfilling your own present and arbitrary requirements through loveless and willful demands. Your action, your body, and your speech will become ecstatic in your confession of the True Condition to your children. When you love there will be no failure to serve them in this Way of life.
Intimacy Is the Healing Principle
(based on conversations with Adi Da, 7/19/80,
further excerpt, previously unpublished)
Intimacy is the healing principle. Parents and teachers of both sexes must live an intimate life with children. It only creates a vacuum, a problem, if this does not happen. You must establish your relationships on the basis of intimacy. Children become more and more exaggerated when intimacy is lacking, and they are reduced to manipulation when the basic pleasure of intimacy is not present. Anger in children is an indication that they do not have a feeling of human intimacy. Therefore, we must always provide right guidance in an intimate situation wherein all formalities are understood. If a parent is always absent, there is an absence of intimacy. There is one basic thing to which all children reactabsence of intimacy. We must, as parents and teachers, create and bring real value to intimacy with people, the world, and God.
Thus, children should not be instructed about life and emotions through language, but through sensitivity. Anger needs to be transcended (not suppressed) by helping children to be concretely aware of their feelings and to learn a different orientation to them. When the life-force becomes dissociative in children, then anger develops. Serve the awakening of sensitivity and associative energy. Be communicative with them about their desires and interests. The primary emotion of life has to be expressed through sensitivity and awareness. A child transcends his reactive emotions and anger only when we bring him into a condition of sensitivity. For instance, anger is not transcended through suppression or release but only by bringing the individual into awareness of his or her feeling relationship to others and the world. In other words, you must constantly deal with the primary emotion of relatedness, or love, and enhance that sensitivity, rather than deal problematically with secondary reactive emotions.
1. The purpose of discipline is to provide conditions through which children adapt to the laws of life, or the demand for a relational and sacrificial disposition.
2. The key to helping children make this adaptation is to integrate them into social conditions and behavior to the point of enjoyment, into a sphere of intimacy.
3. Temporary exclusion from social contact is useful because it allows the child to recognize what is truly of value, which is love and intimacy.
4. It is not easy for a child to recognize what is valuable in the midst of the bombardment of experience that anyone encounters during childhood.
5. Three important principles of discipline are: a. Do not assume a problem; b. Draw the child into a relational disposition; c. Bring the child an alternative.
6. Every reaction has its basis in the felt absence of intimacy.
7. Children learn about life and feelings primarily through intimacy, not language.
8. Anger and other reactive emotions are a sign that the life-force has become dissociative. Draw children into emotional association, serving their sensitivity to what they are feeling and to what others are feeling. Always enhance children’s sensitivity to the primary emotion, which is intimate relatedness, or love.
Intimacy as the Constant Occasion of Existence
(an excerpt from a talk by Adi Da, 9/4/76)
None of you grew up in a true culture. You were not met by elders and brought through the trial of your growth. You were not obliged to learn what it is to think, to feel, to act, to be incarnate bodily, to be sexual in truly human and spiritual terms. In the larger society, you are thrown into the world in your late teens, supposed to be a man or a woman, but with no idea of what that involves. Therefore, we are creating a culture within our community in which to fulfill the initial adaptation of your birth so that you can enter into the fourth, or humanly mature, stage of life as the master of your birth, capable of the truly creative and free life of love.
The society or culture of our living is an occasion in which to complete the process that has been so badly managed in your case and that is so badly managed in the world in general. What you need for growth, for fulfillment, is not an orgasm, a sandwich, a book, a beliefyou need none of those things. What is required for human and spiritual growth is the complete commitment of the body in love, in Enlightenment. You need intimacy as the constant occasion of your existence. You need to abide heart-full in each instant in relation to all this arising. You must become capable of that.
The first three stages of life is the period during which an individual is prepared for such a full existence. However, most of you, no matter how old you are, in some very critical way represent a life that is incomplete in its essential adaptation. The culture of the community is intended to complete that transformation, that adaptation. That transformation is effected by individuals working and living together, combining themselves in all the ways that support their survival, their happiness together, engaging in ordinary relations with one another and being tested in those. You must practice all of that until the presumption of Enlightenment, which is the sign of entering into the maturity of existence, is real in you, is stable in you, is not qualified by your failure to be the master of your whole condition.
What Intimacy Is Not
There are particular ways that parents (and adults in general) typically dramatize their lack of real understanding of Adi Da’s Teaching about children. One of the most common of these dramatizations has its origins in infancy when our children were a new event in our lives and required almost constant attention. We often continue to grant our children an amount of attention that is really only appropriate in infancy and that does not truly serve them at an older age. By becoming fixated in attention to our children, we reinforce their tendency to be neurotically attached to having our constant attention, and they frequently develop a false, “cute” persona to keep our attention on them. Adi Da describes this conventional play between parent and child:
Children are often treated as if they were precious, as if they require special attention to satisfy their independent, self-glorifying nature. Self-glorification, or Narcissus, is not what life is about at all, nor what spiritual culture is about. All the “preciousness” of the mother and the father with their son or daughter must be released. Parents must constantly release their hold on their children. They must release them from the binding effects of their own neurotic tendencies.
All children learn to be involved in this
“precious-cutesy” game. Such preciousness leads toward either sexual
promiscuity in adolescence or, if the individual is not sexually
active, toward sexual disturbance. The game of the precious child is
the culminating incident of the emotional neurosis shared by parent
and child, wherein the parent will not let the child go. The
“precious-cutesy” game is a way whereby parents bind the child to a
false relationship. It is a way of constantly relating the child to
the false relationship between it and the mother or father. For
example, the girl plays that the father is her boyfriend, or the boy
plays a romantic game with the mother. There are many possibilities
and combinations of this neurotic pattern.
(“Our Children’s Sphere of Intimacy Must Constantly Be Expanded,” based on notes by Adi Da , 12/1/81)
Another common way in which we fail to serve our children is by failing to discriminate between dissociation from and self-transcending release of them. If, in an attempt to “release” our children, we merely dissociate from them, cut them off in order to protect ourselves, only hurt will result. We must rather allow our relationship with our children to grow with them and become spiritualized. Adi Da describes the difference between release and dissociation:
Parents should not be playing the conventional role. That does not mean there is no intimacyno one should feel that at all. Parental release is a demand for profound intimacy, spiritual intimacy. It means living a life of intimacy and progressively expanding within it, rather than living the parent-child bond. (“Our Children’s Sphere of Intimacy Must Constantly Be Expanded”)
Prior to emotional conversion, we tend either to create a cult with or dissociate from all our relations. We do the same with children. By tendency we are involved in a cycle of neglect and consolation with our children. Observe this cycle in yourself. It is founded in the self-contracted cycle of anger and guilt that children tend to evoke in us, and if we do not understand and transcend this cycle, we deny our children the consistent intimacy, the nurture and demand, upon which they depend for growth.
One sign of this cycle is in our attempts to console the child. We want to prove the love that we feel but fail to incarnate because of our own inability to be vulnerable and intimate. We also tend to console our children for another, even less conscious, reason: We hope that they can thus be spared the painful confrontation with Narcissus that we have been obliged to. But this is a confrontation that your child will inevitably have to make.
Children need to learn, in simple terms, what the self-contraction isthat it is felt as un-Happiness-and they need to feel that it is not something that is happening to them but that they are actively generating. Without this understanding, children cannot rightly relate to the life of discipline and devotion that is offered to them by the Adept and that is brought to them most immediately by parents, teachers, and guides. Children must acquire a healthy respect for the force and profundity of the ego and the great intention that is required to transcend it. We cannot prevent the ego in children, nor is this desirable, but we can bring them to their greatest Help, Satsang.
Adi Da: You cannot prevent the strategy of Narcissus in a child in any case. As soon as there is attention, there is perception and cognition. And as soon as there is perception and cognition, there is, through the phenomenon of targeting, the reflexive or reflected sense of specific and separate self-existence. Each individual must understand this process in himself as he matures. All you can do as a parent is retain and assert your humor and, as much as possible, not exploit or even suppress the strategies of egoic life the growing child will necessarily manifest. (unpublished talk, 1975)
Thus, do not cooperate with or be an “enemy” of Narcissus. Become a spiritual friend and release your child from your hold on him as a “mommy” or “daddy.” Do not think that by holding onto your child for an extended period of time that you can protect him from what there is to inspect. You must consent to let your relationship change daily, if that is what is called for.
Adi Da speaks of this process of growth not only in personal terms but as a social response:
A growth process in childhood takes place literally from the moment of conception until eighteen to twenty-five years of age, which is the culminating period of transition out of childhood. A fundamental principle concerning the development of children is that their sphere of intimacy must constantly be expanded. As they mature, in other words, children should constantly move into more and more relationships, more and more intimacies. From birth until six to twelve months, the mother is the primary relationship of the child. Parents must be educated to observe the signs of the child’s readiness for a more expanded sphere of intimacy. The parent has the constant obligation to move the child into the larger sphere of community. (“Our Children’s Sphere of Intimacy Must Constantly Be Expanded”.)
This expanded sphere of intimacy is not about being casually associated with everybody. Spiritual Practice is the form of real intimacy, and intimacy is a conscious creation and requires real work.
Adi Da: Adults must establish a culture, act as spiritual servants for the children, and permit them to grow beyond this sphere of concentration on the parent. This can be misunderstood to mean that we should abandon the relationship, but we must not exclude the parent relationship at all. The principle of this Way is relationship. The intimacy that is to be created with children is profound. What must be dropped are the conventions inherent in that relationship, not the relationship itself. Rather than move away from the relationship, parents must develop it. The parent-child relationship should become more and more like a friendship, rather than a form of psycho-physical bondage.
Therefore, parents should not play the conventional role. However, that does not mean that there is no intimacy. In fact, this parental release is a demand for profound intimacy, spiritual intimacy. It requires progressive expansion within a life of intimacy, rather than living the parent-child bond.
Children should become more and more intimate with people to the point of living fully in the Good Company of a sacred culture. They should represent an emotional strength within that culture. At the end of the second stage they are related to community, and in the maturity of the third stage they take up the sacred Way of the community as adults.
Thus, the principal point of view of this consideration is that every child’s sphere of intimate association should be constantly widened and expanded, progressively and in a lawful order. The cultural disciplines with which children are involved should permit them to fully devote their lives to human beings, to the natural world, and to the Divine Reality, each in a progressively expansive manner. (“Our Children’s Sphere of Intimacy Must Constantly Be Expanded”.)
1. “All the ‘preciousness’ of the mother and the father with their son or daughter must be released. Parents must constantly release their hold on their children.”
2. The “precious-cutesy” game is a way whereby parents bind the child to a false relationship.
3. Parents have the constant obligation to move their children into the larger sphere of community.
4. Adults must establish a culture, act as spiritual servants for the children, and permit them to grow beyond this sphere of concentration on the parent.
5. The parent-child relationship should become more and more like a friendship, rather than a form of psycho-physical bondage.
Serving a Child’s Capacity for Intimacy with the Divine in Daily Life
In order to serve our children’s capacity for intimacy in all their relations, we must appreciate what it is to be a child. A child’s perception of existence is very different from ours. When we enter into relationship with a child, we rarely feel into what the child’s perception of life is and communicate to him on that level. Rather, we tend to relate to him in adult, verbal terms, whereas a child’s perception is very feeling and concrete. Children do not interpret what they experience, and they presume little or no knowledge about itthey simply respond to what they see and feel.
If we are to serve children’s intimacy with the Mystery and not merely give them verbal information about life, we must feel beyond our tendency toward mentalizing and abstracting the Teaching. What children need is a concrete demonstration of love. If children do not feel bodily that they are loved, they cannot connect with the Divine, with Reality. What must become basic to their personality (and to our own) is the fundamental trust of Existence. It is the foundation of spiritual life and growththe basis of dependence upon the Divine, the faith disposition.
Adi Da: Faith is trust in the fundamental Nature of Existence. It is simply that feeling itself. It has no other content that believes, “If I have faith, my body will get well. If I have faith, the world will create peace. If I have faith, I will live forever”it is not that. It is just a fundamental emotion, the emotion of trust, unbounded feeling in the context of birth. You know how difficult it is to come across that faith emotion. Nevertheless, simply to trust Existence should be fundamental to our being. How many of us trust Existence? I mean altogether. That trust should be most basic to our personality, but it is not. What is most basic to us is that we do not trust Existence. We are thinking about It, worried about It, and hyperactive because we do not trust It. We are seeking physically, exploiting ourselves and so on. Because of the emotional problem, we do not trust Existence, we do not love, and we do not enjoy free energy and free motion. We do not participate in the Current of Life that pervades Nature. We do not even acknowledge that Current exists. (unpublished talk, 12/82)
Children evaluate life through testing it, and they test everyone they encounter. They want and need to know: What are the limits? Am I loved? Am I taken care of? And because we tend to relate to children in an authoritative, parental way, we tend to tell them how and what to do, rather than being in a relationship of vulnerability, of spiritual friendship. Thus, by our example, we retard their capacity for intimacy.
When we love our children, we enter into the process of life with them, and we are free to conduct their upbringing and education as a samyama, a true consideration. The Truth cannot merely be spokenit must be revealed in life. We must enter into profound relationship with children and enter into their perception of the world. We must teach them through a felt response to that perception. When the child is educated through real considerationthrough being offered choices and seeing the results of those choicesthen they do not feel threatened by demands and rules. Instead, they become naturally converted to a spiritual Way of life through revelation. Children will always test our Practice, our feeling, our love. We need never feel threatened by this testing. We need only to maintain our relationship with the child or children we serve through everything we do with them, everything we train them to do.
As you teach children about the Spiritual Master and about devotional Practice, the most important communication you will take to them will be nonverbal. If he sees you on a regular basis entering into ecstasy in the company of others and in the Company of the Spiritual Master, he will follow that lead. Do not go into the Communion Hall with him and show him how to do every little thing, making sure that he sits like a soldier and that he reports that he feels the Presence. Enter into ecstasy yourself, and if he squirms around a little bit, it may be part of his experimentation. Of course, he must be taught to approach the occasion formally, but consider how formal he is actually capable of being, and then sit with him and let him feel you enter into ecstasy, into surrender, and he will do likewise.
Just so, if a child sees you transcending yourself in ordinary circumstances, he will follow that lead as well. He will notice when you are in the midst of a difficult situation and are transcending yourself. Children watch you all the time to see what you will do! If they see you react, they will get the message that it is okay to be reactive. If you are entering into relationship with the Divine, they will get the message that it is ecstatic to transcend yourself. In that case, they will feel the ecstasy of transcending themselves.
Adi Da: Children must be in happy, loving, open, communicative environments at all times. They must not be in the usual anti-life environment. They must be allowed to grow emotionally in free and open terms in their relationship to and understanding of the Divine, of people, of the world, of the realm of Nature and creatures. Then they will be free of all neurosis. They will come to an open understanding and be able to regulate and discipline themselves for purposes they themselves understand. (unpublished talk)
Another very significant aspect of serving our children’s capacity for intimacy with God and all apparent others is to provide them with a “Divine mythology,” rather than conventional stories and entertainments. Consider the usual children’s stories, such as The Three Little Pigs or Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Why do children love these stories? There is the obvious tension-release mechanism, but, even more significant, that mechanism is built upon and directed toward a threatened beingoverwhelmed by circumstances or by “bad guys”who is magically saved in the end. Clearly, this reflects a conventional child’s psychology. What is not communicated in these stories is faith, or reliance on the Mystery, or Life, that Pervades and Lives us and everything. As Adi Da points out:
Children must learn what a spiritual relationship is. They must recognize the Spirit-Power that literally is contacted through feeling and breathing. They must learn that Power is the Divine. Therefore, instead of playfully allowing them to become motivated to play out the games of threat and fear that they encounter in conventional stories, orient them to a Life-positive understanding and Practice. We must try to teach children to live a happy and positive way of life through all their functions.
Children generally communicate and dramatize that they feel threatened. They typically rehearse their future adult consciousness by identifying with threatened personalities. We must teach them to dramatize an unthreatened consciousness instead. Only from the unthreatened point of view can they overcome the difficult circumstances of life. Thus, it is all right that children become aware that life can he threatening or difficult. Such awareness is psychologically healthy. However, we must help them to see the threats and difficulties of life from the point of view of an unthreatened and spiritually awakened consciousness. We do this by helping them to realize a breathing, feeling relationship to the Universal Power, the Divine Personality of God.
As parents and adult friends of children, we must communicate this Communion with God directly to children all the time. Encourage them to feel it. Then bring them to see how the Enlightened person overcomes difficulties in life. Through stories about such Enlightened beings, our children can discover the Power that really conquers the demons! You cannot look to the TV-and-storybook public world for such morally useful literature. You must seek out literature from the sacred spiritual traditions. In this Communion you also have the example of My own life and the stories I have written for children. These are the kinds of stories that must be the cultural foundation for the children of devotees, and any other stories must be Interpreted from the radical point of view offered by this Teaching.
Children should enjoy a feeling, breathing relationship with the Mystery. They must learn to recognize the Happiness that is felt in relationship to the Mystery. Childhood should be seen in terms of a pattern of growth in which the child is always served to transcend the limits of his or her current adaptation, through the living association with the spiritual principle of Happiness. Get children to do something different than the usual life! Orient them to a spiritual understanding and practice of existence.
Establish children in a Life-positive consciousness. Occupy them with living, adapting, enjoying, breathing, feeling, and relating to the Mystery, or God. We should be helping children to practice ecstasy. And in the midst of their life of feeling and breathing the Mystery, children need to acquire spiritual strength in relationship to the limits imposed by the body and the world.
Children are involved in a spiritual struggle, working out a spiritual problem. Therefore, all children should be ecstatic and awake, consorting bodily with the feeling of the Mystery. We rest give them the gift of a fundamental emotional disposition of Happiness that is as native to them as feeling and breathinga spiritual, Happy understanding of the Mystery of life. (Look at the Sunlight on the Water, pp. 107-10.)
The Principle of Life-Positive Association
(based on conversations with Adi Da)
When children demonstrate destructive tendencies, particularly in relation to Nature and animals, this is a sign of fear of losing intimacy, as well as a sign of neurotic dependency on their parents.
We must make certain that children have a true relationship with God. They go through certain rituals of approaching God, but they do not by tendency have a true feeling-relationship with God, just as they do not have a true feeling-relationship with Nature, or with other people. Help them to relate freely to God at all times.
It should also be understood that some children feel that their relationship to God violates the parent-child relationship, that it violates an unwritten contract with the parents. If you notice this, help children to move out of the fear that their relationship with God violates their relationship with their parents.
Some children have a tremendous fear of being wrong. When this is the case, you should take the threat out of being wrong. Being threatened is a primary feeling in children. The feeling of being altogether threatened evokes a specific fear. Therefore, you must relieve that game. Talk to them and play with them in a circumstance in which being “wrong” is possible. Get them to play at being wrong, and get them to release their fixation. You must work to draw them out of it and thus reduce the power of the circumstance of being wrong. Attract them into a position in which the circumstance of being wrong does not create strangeness and a feeling of being threatened. Get them to laugh at it. Relieve them of the ritual of feeling bad about being wrong. They are involved in a primitive mechanism, and you must draw them out of it through a stimulus-response behavioral approach, through God-games, and a feeling-sensitivity to their needs.
Other types of children have a tendency toward feeling “poor me” and rejected. The same circumstance must be created to draw them out of that. You must serve the individual child to be an emotionally associated personality by constantly applying him to relationship in positive circumstances. This, rather than dealing with any neurotic complex he may have, is what draws a child out of dramatizations. The principle is to bring him into constant Life-positive association, into the condition of intimacy, and allow him to adapt and grow within that structure. This real education is what is needed.
Universal Desire and the Way of Touch
a talk by Adi Da, 8/14/79
(The Laughing Man, Vol. 4 No. 3)
Touch is precisely the dimension in which you must become awake. You must transcend the intellectualizable senses of sight and hearing and so forth. Samadhi is simply a matter of passing through all the internal lights and sounds and visions associated with the intellectual senses into the domain of the sense of touch where all the intellectual senses are suspended. At the level of touch we read the very condition of the nervous system in space. But, as touch, that condition is blind, it is prior to the usual body sense, prior to all the intellectually organized complexity of inwardness. Inwardness vanishes, and what is seen is at the skin level. Our contraction from infinity can possibly even be measured in terms of electrical activity at the skin level. It is only when the sense of touch becomes Enlightened that the subtle activity at the level of the skin achieves its Native State and permits bodily intercourse with the Infinite Radiance.
The ultimate dimension or mode of the nervous system is cognized at the level of touch, not via the intellectual senses which include all the senses except touch. You propose, in your egoic fashion, to go about exploiting the intellectual senses, the receptor senses, which can be associated with higher person contemplation, in separation from the physical. Yet, separation from the physical is basically separation from the sense of touch. You tend to exploit these other senses because the surface of your being is not entirely released through touch into infinite Radiance. Your neurosis is reflected at the level of touch, in your avoidance of relationship, your contraction of the sense of touch. You recoil, you turn upon yourself toward the inward part. Therefore, you principally violate the organization of the being relative to the sense of touch, or simple, whole-bodily surrender.
You are least conscious of the dimension of touch. You think information comes first through these intellectual senses such as visionand all the games you play with these senses which are associated with higher imagination. But long before you see, the very surface of the eyeballs is contracted by fear. The very surface of the brain is contracted. The extremity as well as the root of the nervous system is contracted. The very presentation of the whole-bodily being is fundamentally contracted. Thus, the media of the body-mind all provide information qualified by a fundamental error of the whole-bodily being at the level of its most basic presentation.
The Way is founded on touch. Only when the whole body, or the total surface of the body, is Enlightenedrather than when some isolated part is stimulatedcan you fully involve yourself in the sense of touch. The whole body is associated with touch. All the other organs of sensation are creepy little internal sensorsand yogis always exploit these sensors. They do not take up the Way of touch, which is founded in the whole-body sense of touch.
Thus, the liberation, the Enlightenment, of the sense of touchand not its inversionis the vehicle of the Way. Touch transcends all the other dimensions of sensation and awareness. Touch transcends sight and sound and all the mystical experiences that can be realized through the inversion of any of the other senses. You can experience all kinds of visions of the Great Being by inverting the sense of sight, but an entirely other dimension is revealed when the dimension of touch is liberated, freed from the subtle effort of contraction that separates the body at its skin level. The whole-bodily being resumes its fundamental presentation of itself prior to inwardness and recoil from the universal design and from its own Being and Radiance, its Condition in Truth.