"From childhood onward, we all learned to cope with a complicated situation where the most basic feelings and perceptions were blended with one another much of the time. Life would be simpler if we could see directly into the crystal-clear ideals, the wondrousness and beauty, that the yogi declares to be at the heart of life, meaning our own hearts.
But a skeptic often harbors an idealist within who has suffered the pain of disillusionment one too many times. If idealists are born to be disillusioned, why not be disillusioned to begin with? Again and again, Freud stressed the importance of “the reality principle” as an index of psychological health. The reality principle is the recognition that you are not the world’s creator. Your ego stops at a certain boundary, beyond which you have no influence.
A baby is thus considered primitive because he feels that he is the center of the world, indulging the fantasy that everything is himself. As a child grows up, he is supposed to shed this infantile illusion of boundlessness. “Me “ and “not me” congeal into their separate spaces, and hopefully it is not long before “me” learns how to cooperate with “not me.”
Parents are generally quite anxious to promote this cooperative attitude, even when their child is obviously too young to adopt it. They ignore the child’s discomfort out of fear that he is being selfish. It is hard for them to see that their own hidden anxiety is being reflected here – they are afraid themselves to be fully self-accepting. Their own parents signaled that being self-centered was wrong, and this value judgment is being passed along now by seeing most forms of satisfaction as “selfish.”
The raw selfishness of a newborn baby is not a model for future behavior, needless to say, but it needs to be tempered naturally into more selfless behavior. If the growing-up process sacrifices a child’s very sense of being, then something has been lost that is too precious to lose. Being carries with it a subtle feeling of uniqueness, and out of that feeling comes a sense of union with the world, of being bathed in beauty and love. This is reality, too, but of a higher order."
Adapted from Unconditional Life: Discovering the Power to Fulfill Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra (A Bantam Book, 1991). Care2's Soular energy, (April 28, 2010).
Rose Marie Raccioppi, MS FABI is an awarded and honored Holistic Educational Therapist, founder and director of APOGEE Learning Enhancement Training Systems™, Past President of the Rockland and the New York Association for the Learning Disabled. In private practice for 26 years, Raccioppi creatively serves the needs, gifts, and the potential of all learners of all ages. She integrates the academics, the arts, music, dance, sports, using the interests of each child to support improvement goals. Her effective approaches have consistently resulted in positive change for the student, academically, creatively, socially, physically and psychologically.