I am in an Ayurvedic training where I am learning about the the ancient system of Indian health and healing. Right now I am steeped in an area Ayurveda calls “sense care.” This includes a paradigm, practices, and ways of being that recognize the essential role that our five senses play in physical health and psychological well-being. It is an understanding and a deep respect for the powerful impressions that get made on us based on what we take in from our environments through our senses.
Think about it like food for the mind and the body that comes in through the five doorways of hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell. With the information that comes in possessing the power to either nourish or starve. Uplift or degrade. Bring balance or chaos. Calm or unrest. Healing or disease.
With this as a recent and welcomed back drop to how I am experiencing the world, I cannot stop thinking about the children. The ones who are coming up now in The Age of Technology. The ones whose senses, particularly sight and hearing, are literally being assaulted, obliterated, violated and distorted. Innocence stolen. Minds overrun with harmful images and messages. Insidious impressions weaseling their way into our children’s minds and bodies. With all of what they are taking in setting the standard for what it means to be fed.
Maybe you think I am overdoing it?
Well, how about the statistic that recently made its way to me that says that two thirds of our 7 year-olds have already seen porn? Need I say more? Once a child has taken in that level of sense impression, and at such a young and tender age, where does it go? What does it do to them? How does that not foul a once open, curious and pristine mind? How does that one ever get undone?
I’ll tell you how. It doesn’t. It does not get undone.
One has to begin to wonder what this is doing to their vision. And I mean this in the broadest sense; as in what their life and the life of the world looks like to them looking through the images they are receiving across a screen. And what of their precious hearing? What is all of this training them to listen to? And for. Could this be part of the reason that the generations coming up now are so riddled with so much anxiety? For the truth is, the words and images that our children take in matter. A lot. Far more than is currently being recognized and addressed.
And while I am rolling out the big guns here with the porn, there are countless and daily examples of how our children’s senses are being overwhelmed. Examples large and small, seen and unseen, idiotic and damaging. Don’t take my word for it. Just pick up your own head and look around.
When a human being is young, the predominant brain wave states that they are in are highly suggestible. Makes sense, right? We want the young of our species to be moved by, informed by and molded by the environment that they find themselves in. We want them to learn based on what they are ingesting via the experiences of the world around them.
And for a very long time this made sense. It made perfect sense when we were being shaped by a natural world. But now that the predominant experience of our young is coming more and more from something man-made, and by something that is far too often a very disturbed representation of what man can make, our children are in trouble. For they do not yet possess the essential defense mechanisms, cognitive maturity, nor coping skills to sort through and make sense of what is coming in. Instead, it all just goes in.
Can you imagine it? Can you imagine all of the images and the words that our little ones are ingesting now that have absolutely nothing to do with health or beauty or truth or love? Everything, literally everything, that they take in is shaping and forming them. What if we really, really knew this? And what if we acted on their behalf as the gatekeepers who kept out what is not fit for the innocent eyes and open ears of a child?
Common sense around the senses would dictate that we would never want to expose our children to what is harsh, frightening, overwhelming, or just overall beyond their ability to digest. To come back to our food connection, would we give a steak, alcohol, cocaine or soda to a newborn? We would not because we understand that it is beyond their capacity to handle, and with certain inputs, even dangerous. That any of these things would only harm them, even if they were not inherently problematic to a more mature being. But too often, we are assuming that something is fine for our children based on looking at it through the eyes of an adult with a developed brain. But this has got nothing to do with what children actually need.
Look through their eyes. Listen through their ears. Sense through the heart. Then decide.