Babies Smile and We Disarm

by Golnaz, Bsc, London, Uk

I have often giggled watching people’s response to a young baby and how self-consciousness is abandoned – all manner of silly behaviours come out and anything goes, just to keep the baby’s attention a few seconds longer. The baby looks straight in your eyes, smiles, and even a big tough adult melts and is disarmed. I have often wondered, what exactly is melting? What is being disarmed?  And what is it about the baby that is causing this?

I live in a densely populated city and during rush hour train rides everyone avoids each other’s gaze.

This ritual is repeated at least twice a day, 5 days a week. It’s crazy…. we have to stand a few inches apart, no choice but be aware of the person next to us, but instead of making contact, everyone grabs something to read – and if there is nothing to read, everyone stares intently into thin air!

But in this same city early in the mornings, or in quiet places as I walk past a new person, when no-one has had a chance to prepare themselves for the unexpected meeting, the person often looks up, we catch each other’s eyes, there is often a nod, a smile or a hello.  There is a natural joy of meeting another and a desire to make contact.

I have often wondered why we have this discrepancy.

I have learned that I have carried an invisible shield of protection most of my life.  This shield has closed the possibility of my meeting others with the openness of a baby.  I have not been able to connect to people to the extent that I wanted to, and that has brought me great sadness. I knew I was selectively more open to some people, but when I became honest I realised even that had strings attached, so I wasn’t fully open.  Did I even know what fully open was anymore?

Then I saw the whopper. I started observing people; I noticed this layer of protection on almost everyone on the train, at work, in the supermarket, on the street! Whoah! If pretty much every one learns from young to create a shield, and there is no true interaction possible, no wonder the world is as it is – how ungracious people are with one another on a daily basis, the rising rates of mental illness, depression, family and community breakdown, crime, violence and wars. And it all starts with us hiding behind our shields.

The beauty of what I have learned since is how – through our daily choices – each of us can make a big difference, not only to our own lives, but to all around us. The fact that so many of us are invisible behind our shields does not need to be the end of the story.

A responsibility I have wanted to shirk off has been the fact that the more I hide behind my shield, the more I prove to another that it is necessary for them to hide behind theirs. If I continue in this way I am actually helping the people around me to not connect to one another and, like I did after a while, to think they ARE the protections and games they have adopted as their shield.

BUT… and it is a big gorgeous but… the more I express the love within me without protection and strategising –just like the smile of a baby – the more it allows others the space to reduce their reliance on their own shield.

I have had the opportunity to feel what happens when I meet another who stands as they truly are – no protection, no expectation, just love: I can breathe easier, I try less to prove anything, I give myself permission to be myself, all in an instant, without even thinking, it just happens, it is completely natural. What a beautiful gift. And I too can offer that gift to another.

Now my daily focus is to build my life so that it is loving, so that I know and deepen my connection to who I am.  It is becoming easier to recognise when the old protection and control comes out to play, and more natural to choose a more loving way.

LIVING THE LOVE THAT IN TRUTH WE ALL ARE when the shields and the lies are removed is the most natural thing.  

I am today more open and joyful in my life than ever, and I know I have just scratched the surface. It is all unfolding to a greater level every day. One delightful outcome of this is that I meet loads more people: they are meeting my eyes, nodding, smiling, sometimes starting a conversation, even on busy packed trains… even when there are no babies present!

408 thoughts on “Babies Smile and We Disarm

  1. Whilst we focus on the illusionary protection our shield offers, we are diverted away from the sadness and misery of choosing to not be our full and natural selves.

  2. What we have come to accept our everyday normal is very often way off what is natural and innate to us.

  3. “through our daily choices – each of us can make a big difference, not only to our own lives, but to all around us.” As when we toss a pebble into a pond the ripples of one making a change spread out to all around us.

  4. ‘A responsibility I have wanted to shirk off has been the fact that the more I hide behind my shield, the more I prove to another that it is necessary for them to hide behind theirs.’ So true, as is the other way around, being open allows others to be open and free of protection. Me being in a funk, who knows what this is confirming in another. I don’t want to be another piece of evidence that says the world is joyless. Just being open to people this reflects how we can be open with each other.

    1. My husband and I were supporting our children yesterday on how to engage openly at first meeting. My husband made a great point in that in a new situation everyone is waiting for someone else to break the ice. Why not be that person who naturally and at ease with themselves opens by way of greeting, without force but without holding back?

  5. When we observe so much of what is happening around us with an open heart or essence life definitely opens up and those walls of protection start to crumble. Then as we open up to people in the most Loving ways as you have shared Golnaz it becomes a joy to be with others all the time.

  6. When we make different choices then people respond to us in different ways. It has been an eye-opener to become more open with everyone I meet and feel how willing others are to open up as well and then the ripple effects of this are felt far and wide. We are powerful; we can make a difference one open smile at a time.

  7. Golnaz your own way of being, open, welcoming and deep inner smile reflects of how we can be when we let down our guards..

  8. `I’m constantly aware of babies and young children where ever I am and observe what happens within me when around them. I feel warmth and joy and as you say Golnaz, am disarmed.

  9. Gorgeous sharing Golnaz, and your observation is spot on. We are all craving for true connection yet most of us walk around with a thick layer of protection that gives the message to people to back off. But behind it all, there is this pull to connect but we have to draw in an external force to get in the way of our natural pull to connect. Why would we resist connecting with one another when it is the most natural things for us to do?

  10. How wonder-full to feel that openness to connect with each other without fear. If we can introduce this level of respect and decency for each other from young there will be far fewer shields.

    1. Young babies are full of love, they do not hold back emanating love and joy. They do not hold an ounce of protection in their body and it shows that we are all born free of a protective shield. We only develop layers of protection as we grow up and especially if we have experienced some form of hurt or abuse in life.

  11. The openness and innocence of a baby is inspiring letting us know that we too in essence of made of that same love beneath our layers of protection and hurts.

  12. We make the potential hurts and rejections so big that we have forgotten the beauty of who we are and how that feels to share with others. We compromise and live with a protective wall around our heart when the love within has never been hurt. I’m slowly making my way out of this same thing, how beautiful to be like those open, innocent babies again!

  13. You only have to walk down a street towards other people for it to be obvious of the shields so many wear, the shield that says, don’t look at me and don’t even think about speaking to me. So, what is it about our lives that we feel we have to protect ourselves from the world and from connecting to others, when connection with others is such a natural and vital part of being a member of humanity? But I have also found that no matter how thick and entrenched these shields are, one smile from a beautiful little baby can penetrate the hard exterior and gently touch the heart hiding behind it

    1. So true Ingrid. A baby’s smile has the power to melt the hardest protective shield I reckon. They are so open, loving and gorgeous with love beaming from their faces, it is pretty much impossible to not register the love they beam out towards us when we are in their presence.

  14. What a beautiful Blog, Golnas – thank you. It calls us to question our protection, everything we do comes with a facade which we have created if we don’t choose otherwise, this is very heavy to carry, it drains us and it makes our days seem hectic, exhausting and tense – but it’s not the days, it is the way we choose to react and hide away from them, that has an impact on our well-being.

  15. Thank you Golnaz for the reminder that it always starts with ourselves first. If I put down my guard or shield than this is the invitation for others to do so as well because I am showing them that it is possible to live like this and the joy it brings.

    1. “If I put down my guard or shield then this is the invitation for others to do so as well” Yes Esteraltmiks, it all starts with us and in this way we lead the way.

  16. We are either conditional or unconditional, ie. in simple words either being protected and guarded or open to meet another, and then there is the in-between but only as a period of learning, shedding off the layers of separation and opening up again to the unconditional beingness we once stepped away from only to inevitably return to it once again.

  17. We all long for the unconditional love and acceptance we feel in the presence of a baby, but when it comes to being the one who first lets down the guard, allowing oneself to be seen and felt without a need to pretend or protect we usually want others to make the first step so that we can feel safe to then ‘maybe’ also open up. A baby is naturally open and unconditional, in that sense we may need to become like children again.

    1. Yes they are a great reflection to learn from because they don’t wait for anyone to go first. They know what needs to be done and they simply get on with it because it is who they are and what they are made of. In fact, to not do it would be totally alien to them!

  18. “The beauty of what I have learned since is how – through our daily choices – each of us can make a big difference, not only to our own lives, but to all around us” This is beautiful Golnaz and so true, we are the masters of our own making and those daily choices are super super powerful.

  19. This is a beautiful reminder that the best way to disarm someone or a situation is to be disarmed ourselves – if we bring this openness to the table then the other person has an equal opportunity to disarm and be open themselves.

  20. “and it is a big gorgeous but… the more I express the love within me without protection and strategising –just like the smile of a baby – the more it allows others the space to reduce their reliance on their own shield.” and herein lies the remedy for conflict and war.

  21. I watched two little boys greet each other in the supermarket the other day it was so beautiful they were so excited to see each other it was so openly genuine and they were bursting with absolute joy and they chatted excitedly and then the slightly older boy gave the other boy a huge kiss in appreciation at seeing the other boy. I later spoke to the parents of one of the boys and I found out they were cousins. To me it was a great reflection of the joy that can be had when we stay open and connected.

    1. These are moments in time, such as this one, that are so precious and such a wonderful reminder of the natural joy of children. Sadly, it seems that as we grow older we tend to let go of the joy and replace it with the seriousness we take on from the challenges of life, so you don’t witness many interactions with adults brimming with the joy of this reunion. Children are our greatest reflections of the fact that there is so much joy in connecting to another, in any situation, even in the supermarket.

      1. Yes it is sad that we loose this joy we have as children as we get older and I feel this is where parents and school can support children to stay connected, but at present from a young age we put demands on them to be in a certain way that they know is not true or honours their own way of being.

    2. So beautiful Alison, thank you for sharing. One of the faulty beliefs we have as adults is that the innocence, purity and joy of children is something we lose and grow out of, when instead it’s something we separate from and is always there for us to reconnect to and live from again.

  22. Golnaz, your blog is so revealing of how we all walk around protecting ourselves from ourselves. It’s as though the whole world are strangers and I dare not open up just in-case I may get hurt or rejected. Whereas what you have expressed is being open to all and to let the reflection of our inner most to come firstly from ourselves and then there for all we meet along our way.

  23. Golnaz the joy in your writing and your love for people is delightful, it’s very inspiring. As I read through I realised how impactful it is to be around so many bodies in protection, when our natural way is to express and share all of who we are. There are also situations where others may try to shut someone down who is open and joyously being themselves through jealousy or abuse. But the truth is Golnaz, as you so eloquently share, we can take ourselves out into the world with our openness and love and support everyone to disarm their shields and simply be themselves. The beauty of this is we are all still like those precious and innocent babies, we just need to release and discard what we have placed on top of our true essence and let it out again and share it with others.

    1. Yes, don’t think about it, just do it. We actually have to think about it far more when we protect ourselves than if we simply allow ourselves to respond naturally.

  24. What I can feel is how we condition ourselves just to be in the world – we want to be sure that the world is ready and accepting of us before we allow the world and its people in. We want no imposition, no judgment, no expectation, no abuse whatsoever – and that is the expectation we hold out for others, because we give enough of that to ourselves.

  25. I remember when my babies didn’t want to go to someone, the person who was ‘rejected’ laughed on the surface but was so upset behind the facade. They wouldn’t show it outwardly but you could feel their fury at the ‘judgement’ they felt from the baby. As adults we know it is illogical but it just triggers memories that we haven’t dealt with.

  26. There is a self-imposed isolation that comes from having a shield and it seems to justify our need to be hurt because we can say no-one truly loves me or no-one truly knows me…well no they probably don’t because you have a shield up that keeps people away from knowing the true you! Looking back on my life I have considered myself misunderstood for way too much of it and now, as I get older, I realise I am fully responsible for that misunderstanding.

  27. We have been babies ourselves, so we carry this inner- tenderness. Let us breathe that tender loving openness again once more, and breathe it forever in- and out.

  28. I cannot but imagine on your train ride to and from work Golnaz if everyone instead of standing next to each other in their symbolic straight jackets of protection and judgment actually engaged with each other and conversed, how different everyone’s train ride and day would be.

  29. I love this blog Golnaz. It exposes how ridiculous it is that we all go around protecting ourselves (from what exactly) and how when we protect ourselves with the invisible shield how it encourages everyone we meet to do likewise. The really beautiful thing is realising that it only takes one person to drop their protection and take their chances without it for the same openness to suddenly be available to all they meet. How did we get to the point where there are 7 billion of us not realising this simple fact?

  30. A beautiful thing a baby reminds me, is that life is not as concrete as we like to think. That just one look, one glance, one wink can bring us back from the brink. If we just stop and breathe our breath we can return so easily to the most divine sense of grace. All we have to do is stop the internal race. Thank you Golnaz for this reminder.

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