Thursday, September 8, 2016

All Babies are Buddhists

Carl Whitaker, MD, once told me that all babies are Buddhists, because they feel they are one with the whole world.  Because of this the most important lesson we learn from children is intimacy.  They have an infinite ability to tolerate intimacy. 
It’s 4 A.M.  You are exhausted and sleepy.  Your tiredness almost hurts.  But you are willing to be up, because your baby has cried.  You are holding it in your arms.  It is a joy to have this private moment together.  This is on-demand feeding in the middle of the night.  There is a stillness at this time of night.  There are hardly any sounds in the house.  There is just the sucking, slurping sounds of your infant.  The sucking is rhythmic, but there are rest periods every few slurps.  And your baby is watching you; actually, more like studying you.  He/she is looking into your face, examining everything about you.  You are being watched and memorized.  You may look down at the cheeks as they suck away at the bottle, but your eyes are drawn back to the eyes that are watching you.  Eventually, your hands are touched by the babies little hands.  They hold onto your fingers.  You can’t help but look at the little dimples at the knuckles.  They are captivating.  
It’s just the two of you in the whole world.  There is no place to hide.  This child sees you as you have never been seen before.  This is an intimacy like none other.  Without any words, there is a communication between the two of you.  As the two of you watch each other, the bond grows.  
Sometimes the sucking starts to slow first.  Sometimes the eyes start to get heavy.  You can see them fighting sleep.  The sucking slowly stops.  Thinking they are done, you start to pull them away.  Then, the sucking starts again with renewed vigor.  The eyes open again, as if to say, “I’m not ready yet.”  
Eventually, the baby falls asleep.  These few minutes may have been the most peaceful moments you have had in your life.  Certainly, they are the most intimate you may have ever experienced.  
Did you have this experience?  If you did not, you missed out on one of the most beautiful experiences in life.  If you did, you will remember the love you shared at 4 A.M.  Children provide an unparalleled opportunity for intimacy.  It is perhaps their greatest gift.  


  1. Tomorrow marks 11 months that I've shared the greatest of intimacy with my baby girl! 11 trying and incredibly blessed months of breastfeeding! However, daddy has had his opportunity with pumped milk! And you are so right, this is one of the most beautiful experiences of life! Thank you for sharing.