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Calm • Perspective
What Sleeping Babies Can Teach Us
In a complicated world, there remain few more delightful things than to closely observe – and ideally be in the physical company of – a sleeping baby. They seem so concentrated and so profoundly in love with the act of sleeping. They are doing such important work as they rest. Their tired minds have in the preceding hours been learning the next few pages of the gigantic manual of life: how water flows, how to make mummy smile or what fingers are. They might only have been on the planet for twelve and a half weeks and already channels are being carved in the pristine wax tablets of their minds. In a few hours, they’ll be alert and ready to go again. They’ll try to suck your knuckle or put their toe in their eye. They’ll gurgle adorably or wail because a door slammed unexpectedly. But for now, there is only an entirely mysterious journey through aeons of cosmic time and space.
We think we have so much to teach them but the traffic shouldn’t be in one direction only. They are reminding us of the value of modest claims. We were like them once and will be so again towards the very end. They suggest we want for very little in our core. Some food, a warm place to lay our head, someone to stroke us, a gentle song and a chance to look up and see a kind-hearted face gazing benevolently at us.
We’ve made things hugely complicated for ourselves. We spend most of every day restless, angry and dissatisfied. Even sleep seldom restores us. There’s always a part of our minds, alert and untrusting, fearful and vigilant. We buy our so-called maturity at very high cost.
We should acknowledge the scale of our longings: how much we might want to be bathed, swaddled and put comfortably down for a very long nap somewhere cosy and undemanding; how much we want to return to some of what we used to know so well.