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How being with my toddler is like meditating. (Really.)

April 11, 2013

Image via ohbabymagazine.com

Those who know me well will attest that I’m an anxious sort. My mind is always racing about something, big or small. Yoga helps, but until recently I hadn’t explored meditation, per se. Last week, I picked up this book and I’m trying out some meditation techniques and attempting to become more meditative in my day-to-day life.

As I’ve been reading about what meditation really is, it struck me that being with my toddler is like meditating. Seriously. Not kidding. Not a hint of sarcasm in that sentence.

Let me explain: Not all time spent with my toddler is meditative. However, during the time I spend with J, I experience some of the most meditative moments of my day.  The book talks a lot about mindfulness as being a core principle in meditation. The author defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Of course, this applies to the moments when someone sits down to meditate, but it also, hopefully, becomes a way of being. Becoming “fully present” in each moment of your life is a profound outcome of meditation. Because of my anxious mind, I spend a lot of time thinking about the past or the future. Most of us probably do. But when I’m with J, I have some wonderful moments of just being here. It’s because I put myself in his shoes and see the world through his eyes. We notice things together. (Look, do you see the butterfly? I hear an airplane! Oh my goodness, two dogs! How exciting!) I also simply pay better attention to moments, things I want to remember, funny things he says.

Of course, not all my time with J is this zen. And I can’t say that I pay the best attention all the time. An iPhone is a terrible distractor. But, I am thankful for those times we reach our own little state of mindfulness together. And I resolve to do it more — with J and without.

Now, how about getting your toddler to meditate? Or using meditation to help your toddler sleep better?

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