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

April 11, 2013

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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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