freedom for life

The Edinburgh Alexander and Therapy Centre has been offering Alexander lessons and workshops since 1994.

Thursday, 13 December 2012 18:33

The Bliss of An Infant

The bliss of an infant can haunt a life, casting long shadows over a life-time of regret, for time passed with a life not lived. Perplexing its central character, this tragedy passes, hidden away, leaving its few spectators confused, angry and disappointed. The visible human dimensions of talent wasted, dissipated in fragmentation, hide the real confusion of anxiety and most of all rage. That rage is so often turned against a self that, otherwise might been real, imaginative and loved. 


This bliss of an infant lies in its perfection, which is always imagined, yet compellingly necessary for its survival and growth. Hopefully it comes from the mother for whom this baby is the most perfect, at its moment of arrival, its moment of welcome. Mother and baby both need this, the mother for the sacrifices that lie ahead, the baby to be assured of its welcome. Perfection is a transitory experience for both, one to be returned to in its bliss, in the initial stages of adjustment. When things fail to fit, when they go wrong, where disappointment lurks, it is the bliss of perfection that soothes and eases the path and ways of early life. 


Without the bliss of perfection, terror of abandonment and obliteration freeze the baby in a perpetual terror and search for safety, the glance is always backwards to an imagined garden into which they were never welcomed. For those who entered the garden but were ejected too early, into a world that was harsh, unwelcoming and without respect, life can become the perpetual journey backwards, forever seeking what has been lost. The safety and surety of love and perfection predominates and obscures the possibility of being able to ‘follow one’s bliss,’ in Joseph Campbell’s phrase, by finding purpose and living so fully, that they know they have been alive.

To search for perfection, is really to look backwards for what has been or might have been, to have purpose in contrast is to turn one’s aim to the future, to look forward to what might be and will be. To have purpose requires the preparation of learning to stop, look and face the unknown, until the possible paths of venturing forward clear, and we can step into the unknown prepared for what ever uncertainties, we will certainly meet.

Published in Lessons from the Chair