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"You must give children the cause and freedom to be ecstatic. Children must understand what ecstasy is, what Happiness is. Parents and teachers should discover the functional dimension to which children are sensitive at every stage of adaptation, and then teach them in those functional terms."

—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
from The Practice of Ecstasy with Children

The Three Forms of Intimacy in Childhood

The following summary of has been adapted from Avatar Adi Da’s Teaching on conscious childrearing:

Children need to be intimate with others, nature, and the Divine, in order to develop fully. Caregivers can usefully assess a child's growth by considering these spheres of intimacy.

  • Bodily intimacy with human relations
    Expressed via service to others: the child is able to give love and attention to others, and to receive nurture and challenge. A lack of intimacy with others causes a child to be overly withdrawn or agitated and attention seeking; they find it hard to receive things like slow hugs or discipline, and learning is compromised.

  • Bodily intimacy with the world of nature
    Expressed via freedom of movement in, and sensitivity to, the elemental world: the child cares for creatures, plants and the natural world, and can be calmed by it. A lack of intimacy with nature causes a child to be insensitve to insects, creatures, and other children, and to the effect their actions has on the world around them.

  • Bodily intimacy with the Mystery (Happiness, Real God, or the Divine Reality)
    Expressed via meditation, sacramental worship, and reception-release through breathing: the child has a real way to connect to the Divine in daily life.
    For devotees of Avatar Adi Da, this is given in communion with Adi Da Samraj.
    A lack of intimacy with Real God causes a child to feel anxious; they have no way to find unconditional happiness.

These three forms of intimacy are not hierarchical. The key is to establish a real spiritual process in the child’s life, where they are learning that they can choose to grant energy and attention to Happiness or “the feeling of the Mystery”, no matter what.

VMI mastehead