On the way to a late-summer visit with family and friends in southern Ontario, I was on a plane from Calgary to Toronto. As our descent began, the pressure in the cabin changed, and a baby started crying. I reflected on how much that sound used to upset me.
As I noticed how smooth my emotions felt in the presence of the distressed infant, the crying increased, and I felt compassion for both the baby and the mother, who might have been feeling some embarrassment about her child disturbing other passengers. I placed my feet on the floor, turned my palms upward on my lap, and sent waves of loving kindness to the baby and mom. In a moment the crying quieted, then ceased. I turned my attention back to the view outside the window, anticipating imminent joyful reunions of all kinds. The crying began again. Once more I breathed deeply, surrounded the infant with loving kindness, and yawned to clear my ears, while imagining the baby’s ears doing the same. In a moment the crying stopped.
This continued 3 or 4 more times with the first infant, and a second one as well. When the crying stopped the first couple of times, I thought it was a coincidence. As it kept happening, I realized that there was probably a connection, so I held my focus until we landed. This was easy enough to do, and seemed like the right thing as well.
I was practicing one-pointed intention, which Deepak Chopra describes in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success as strong, focused attention on a desired outcome, with no attention given to any perceived obstacles. Also present was detachment – I had no vested interest in whether or not the babies stopped crying. I was simply in a clear space, able to send pure loving energy their way. Enlightenment was just around the corner.
A few days later, on my return flight to the Comox Valley, of course there was a baby crying, and of course I attempted the same thing. This time, however, I could feel my attachment to “succeed” at “making” the baby stop crying. Here comes that pesky ego, with expectations, frustration – the whole inner gong show! What’s your guess as to whether the crying continued?
Fortunately, with yoga classes starting up again this fall, I get to practice holding the space for pure awareness to arise and expand.
And unless you make a lot of noise, no one will notice if you cry in class. It happens sometimes.