Have you ever watched babies and noticed just how amazed they are at the world around them? Seemingly without a care in the word, these little people glean joy and happiness from what would appear to us as simply mundane. And although it would seem that babies have it down when it comes to the happiness game, at some point we must step back and say to ourselves, “Hey, wait a minute, I used to be a baby too! I wonder what happened?”
Karen Salmansohn pens this recent Huffington Post on that state of amazement which is found in a baby’s brain and how, as we mature and our focus narrows, our own sense of wonder seems to diminish. And as you guessed, how meditation holds the key to getting this precious state to return.
According to Salmansohn, a baby’s expanded consciousness is highly open and in the present. And this is natural. For a variety of reasons, when we get older this ability fades into the background. That said, adults who practice meditation, similar to babies, cultivate a state of presence, an appreciation of beauty, and the sense of wonderment that they forgot about so long ago.
For many reasons, I found comparing a baby’s consciousness to the consciousness reached in meditation particularly fascinating. I’m a huge fan of meditation. I know lots of people assume meditation to be some Buddhist mumbo-jumbo, but it’s been scientifically documented to create therapeutic changes in the brain. In particular, Dr. Brick Johnstone, professor and chair of the Department of Health Psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Health Professions, has performed many studies on how meditation affects the brain. He’s even pinpointed a specific change in the right parietal lobe, the brain region Johnstone describes as a human’s “self-awareness spot.” Meditating lessens the self-awareness spot and allows you to experience that I-am-at-one-with-everything feeling.
Read more from Salmansohn on meditation and the baby brain connection here.