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Soft gaze

Gavin T. Murphy keeps a blog on ilovebipolar.com and he looks to Ignatian Spirituality for strength and inspiration.

Do you desire a relationship in your life like a mother and child within the womb?

Psychologist John Bowlby (1907-1990) came to realise through much research the significance of the early days of a mother-child relationship. There used to be the belief of a certain toughness that the child needed to develop, and so it was not unusual to leave a child cry away on their own. Bowlby understood that the first year especially is a time for attentiveness and nourishment where the child develops a healthy, secure attachment. This view, supported by research, remains influential today.

Diamonds everywhere

Furthermore, Thomas Merton (1915-1968), monk and best-selling author, experienced a moment in a shopping mall one day that was a sort of enlightenment that changed how he perceived people in the world. He was intuitively drawn to their “secret beauty… only believed and understood… a point of nothingness… pure diamond”. But he still thought that what we see with our human eyes is more than enough to point us toward our inner beauty: “the gate of heaven is everywhere”.

Gentle hold

What Bowlby and Merton understood is not unlike the way a mother softly gazes on her child. She has a gentle hold, a close embrace and is in tune with the heart rhythm. She believes in her child’s innate goodness and loveliness to the point where dribble, trouble and tiredness can be endured. She understands her child as an immortal diamond and for the rest of her life sees the many invitations to tune into this intimate relationship again.

Oil painting by Siobhan Murphy.