HEALING AUTISM THROUGH SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING

This article is a work in progress. It has been so since the past 4-5 years that I have written it and will continue to be so as long as I keep learning and evolving. Expansion of awareness and consciousness is happening at breakneck speed today. So if I think I’ll have to edit it before I publish it, this article will never see the light of day.

So here it is! Healing autism as I experience it….

HEALING AUTISM THROUGH SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING
“We are not human beings in search of spirituality, we are spiritual beings in search of humanity”- Unknown
INTRODUCTION
My journey with Autism has been amazing and it gets more and more amazing as the days pass by…I wonder how much more I am going to learn through this amazing phenomenon of our times called ‘Autism’. When I started in ’94, the incidence of autism was one in 5000 births. Today it is one in 80 births. Staggering!

Autism cannot be treated or cured. For it is not an illness. It is a way of being. But yes, there are many issues and difficulties that are faced by children and adults with autism due to their special physical Constitution which can be healed. Once they are healed of these discomforts, they will still be autistic but more happily and magnificently so!! They can then shine in all their brilliance and can shine their light upon the world.

Until a few years ago, autism was for me, as it still is for many, a neuro-developmental condition with a genetic etiology. It is a biological condition. Yes- it probably is, but only at a physical level. Some may ask,”only physical? Is there more? I would say, “Yes, the physical aspect is just the tip of the iceberg. What is beyond the physical is all the rest of it.” This is not my quotation. This is what is said in the Vedas, The Gita, and the teachings of all the seers that have blessed this earth with their grace and presence.
The minute we are ready to acknowledge that there is more to reality than what can be perceived by our five senses, our spiritual growth begins. How would one explain the sixth sense, the intuition, telepathy, near death experiences, gut feelings, past life remembrances and all the rest of it? These are not scientific facts that can be proven in a laboratory. These are truths that need to be experienced. There’s no other way one can learn about the true reality. No matter how many lectures we attend or books we read, this knowledge becomes truly ours when we experience it. It may not come as sudden enlightenment, but it can come as little bursts of realization. For me, it has come through autism. For, I believe, that is the real purpose of this phenomenon of our modern era- to elevate humanity to a higher level.

THE ORIGIN AND HUMAN INCARNATION
This entire universe is made up of vibrations. What we think of as the source, the ultimate truth or what some of us like to call ’God’ is of the highest, lightest vibration. It is the vibration of love. It is all pervading. After that is the high vibrating pure souls with autism and also the intellectually challenged who are full of love and bliss. Followed by this are human beings who are in the realm of total unconditional love, compassion and oneness. After this comes the realm of nature, encompassing the amimal and plant world. The animals are again high vibrational beings that can bring great healing to the world as do so many plants and trees who are the perfect creations of God. Physical matter is of the lowest vibration in the natural world the densest, yet still posessing many high frequencies like the healing crystals. Right at the bottom are again us human beings who are vulnerable to negative energies in the form of negative thought patterns and feelings like fear, anger, doubt, anxiety, worry, stress, jealousy, envy, insecurity, etc. The human beings possess the entire range of vibrations. From the very dense and low vibration, to the very high. Because we are made up of everything that makes up nature! The essence of the mineral world, the life forces of the plant world and the soul forces of the animal world and we are the only creations of nature to experience the essence of the spirit. The same person can experience high and low vibrations based on his/her thought patterns. When we become aware and conscious, we have the capacity to raise our vibration to come as close to that of the autism vibration as we possibly can and experience the oneness which they are a part of.
Before we step into human existence, we are part of this high vibrational world that makes up everything. But the minute we are conceived, we are turned into matter. For a while into our new life as a human child, we are still a part of this high vibrational world where there is no concept of time and space. The ‘here and now’ is the only reality for our children. Until slowly, the process of separation begins- separation from the spirit, the source. This is where the ‘ego’ comes in. The concept of ‘I’ which is lacking in the animal world. This is what it is, that sets us apart from the animals.
This process of separation begins at about the age of three (which is decreasing these days) and continues till it separates completely at about the age of nine when children often experience an existential crisis of who they are and why they are here. Different children experience this in different ways, and if parents pay close enough attention, they can be sensitive to the emotional state of their children at this time. My daughter started voraciously reading about the life and teachings of ‘The Buddha’ at nine and became a complete vegetarian for the next three years! This was entirely her journey without any parental influence.

AUTISM- A VEDIC PERSPECTIVE
Coming back to autism, I have been working with children with autism since the year 1994, and have seen, as have many others that these children are gifted. They can perceive what most of us can’t. They are highly sensitive to the extent that is hard to imagine, and can hear what is a small sound for us, magnified a hundred times over. The same applies to all the physical senses, different for different children. But the part that is most distressing for these highly sensitive and vulnerable children is that, they are also able to perceive the thoughts and the emotions of the others around them! This is the worst suffering that anybody can go through, more so if what they sense is not positive.
This is because; these children are vibrating at a very high level- Much higher than the average human being. Yes, children with hyperactivity, learning disabilities, etc are also highly sensitive high vibrational beings, but are comparatively a little more grounded than the children on the autism spectrum.
To speak in the Vedic language, for a human being to take an incarnation on the earth, it is not sufficient if his physical body alone is here. We are made up of many aspects other than the physical; we also possess a mind, a soul and a spirit (ego/I). All of these need to incarnate along with the physical body. How that takes place, the order and the sequence is a subject on its own, but the point is that we are not just a physical body.
According to our Indian Vedic wisdom this process of separation after physical birth and the merging back again with the spirit after physical death is a cyclic process that continues many times over. Ancient scriptures talked about Advaita and Dvaita philosophy . Advaita is a state of connectedness or unity with the spirit and Dvaita is a state of ‘dualism’ or separation from the spirit. In our children with autism, physical incarnation happens but the spirit or the ego incarnation does not take place when and how it should. They are in a permanent state of Advaita. They are never separeated from ‘All That Is’. This makes them very highly connected high energy spiritual beings who are hyper sensitive and almost clairvoyant. They are aware and know everything that is going on around them. We may be saying something but thinking something else. They can see the discrepancy and this bothers them. It would bother us if we could hear what others are thinking about us wouldn’t it?
Just like there are various levels of evolution of the human beings, there are souls with autism at various levels of evolution. Some of them are advanced souls who are aware of who they are and about their own divinity. They have learnt to communicate divine messages to the world. They have recognized their true purpose on earth while, there are others who have severe challenging behavioral, sensory and metabolic issues.
Some autistic children and adults are gifted. They already possess the knowledge and wisdom that it would take us lifetimes to acquire. Initially before the parents and these children themselves are aware of their truth and purpose, they display or demonstrate their knowledge and wisdom only in occasional bursts depending on the vibration in the environment !! Owing to their non-verbal nature, they are sadly misunderstood to be intellectually challenged. But when parents get a glimpse of their gifts, like precocious reading, memory and arithmetic skills it speaks of visible, tangible gifts on one side and their incapability to do simple and basic tasks like reading and writing, playing, socializing, etc., on the other they are often confused and perturbed about who this child really is and what they are really capable of!! They are not sure that little peek into their true being was real or was it our imagination as doting parents! But it is true.

Caution: It is not the intention of this article to create unrealistic expectations for parents from their children. Not all of them are able to, or choose to express their gifts. At the same time, some of these gifts are not visible to our ordinary consciousness. No matter how the child is presenting to us, we need to trust and know the person beyond the label of autism.

Some of them can write with support even when never learnt to write the alphabet. We think they do not know letter-sound connections, but they write about profound philosophical matters. They look at a sum and write the answer directly without going through any steps! They also sometimes surprise the parents by reading their minds!! I have seen this happen in my own practice with these awesome children.
The intellect is intact. The spiritual wisdom is intact. But it is their physical body that does not help them to express who they really are. Their fingers can’t write, their lips can’t move….how do they express themselves and what they feel? It is the mind-body connect that is compromised.


HEALING AUTISM- HOW CAN WE HELP?
This is where we come in. We need to understand very, very deeply the true picture. Autism demands of us to evolve, to elevate ourselves towards where they are if we want to truly help them. They are here to change how we live and how we think. We are foolish to think that we can make them like us and expect them to fit into our systems. We now need to change our thinking and our systems so that we can accommodate the ever increasing number of these children. For this we need to understand who they are and what they need. We need to expand our awareness and consciousness.
There is a lot happening all around the world where people are beginning to see the true spiritual purpose of autism. We can see that the spirit of this child is not fully in the body. We need to help them come into their bodies. We need to help them to ground themselves. This grounding will help them to be less sensitive, to be more present in their bodies, in their surroundings, to make eye-contact, to probably hold mommy’s face and say, “mommy be happy” (this really happened). Once we help the body to be in equilibrium, then it is more ready to take on what the head or the heart tells it to do. The will increases. Some of them may even start writing, speaking, reading.
Almost all the symptoms of autism can be beautifully explained with this holistic spiritually based understanding. This perspective also gives us the true direction of the therapy that they really need. Some of the children who could communicate have asked for this kind of therapy, where they can be who they are; where there is music, art, movement and where nature is part of the learning process and where there is no hurry and desperation.
Let us look at a few examples of the symptoms and related therapy:
Toe walking and self-stimulatory behavior: The earth gives our physical body gravity. But the spirit gives us levity. It is this levity or buoyancy which makes us stand upright distinguishing us from the four legged animals. One can see that when ones ‘spirits’ (I or self) are low, one tends to slouch…we often hear people say that one is in ‘high spirits’ or ‘low spirits’ without really knowing why they say that!! As the spirit body of these children is not fully incarnated and the larger part of it is above them, it literally carries the child up with it and the child tends to toe walk.

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NIRAAMAYAA- Nurturing Children Naturally

First posted on 30 December, 2010

NIRAAMAYAA

Sarve bhavantu sukhinaha

Sarve santu Niraamayaaha

This verse from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad means:

“May everyone be happy, may everyone be well (without disease)”

But what does Niraamayaa actually mean?

One of our parents told me the true meaning of the Sanskrit word Niraamayaa. Although I did know that broadly it meant freedom from illness and a state of complete wellness, the actual meaning of the word is clearer when we break it up into nir+aamay. ‘Ama’ in sanskrit means ‘toxins’ or ‘impurity’. So nir-amay means a ‘toxin free state of purity’. This was such a revelation for me as this is exactly what we are striving for at Niraamayaa…..the children who come to us from the spiritual world are so pure, that they cannot take in anything that is not pure- like synthetic food, electromagnetic radiation, vaccines, antibiotics, allopathic medication, etc. We need to instead, try and purify their environment for them, serve fresh, home made food and last but not the least, purify our own heart and mind spaces for them so that everything that is fed to them as food and through the environment (that includes us) is ‘digestible’ to them….then they can reach the state of ‘niraamaya’…..

Everywhere we look these days; there is talk about wellness- Wellness spas, wellness stores, wellness foods, and so on. Why this sudden need for wellness? Perhaps we have realized that in our struggle to survive in this pressure-filled competitive world, we are compromising on our well being. Perhaps we are also realizing that as we are getting sucked in by the hypnotizing realm of technology, gadgetry and modern day living, we are somehow losing out on the human touch and are losing touch with Mother Nature.

The further we move from the comforting and harmonious rhythms of nature and rely on synthetic, unnatural products and ways of living, the further away we move from feeling well. This lack of well being manifests itself as physical, emotional and mental symptoms and syndromes. We wait for something drastic to happen before we awaken and realize how far away we have moved from being really well.

Especially when Mother Earth chooses to express her anguish through our children….whom we value more than anything else in the world.

There is increasing incidence today of children with various special needs- learning difficulties, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit and hyperactivity and so on.

Increasing number of studies seems to be pointing to a deep connection between unhealthy lifestyles and habits to Child Mental Health issues. For instance there was an article in the Times recently linking speech delay in toddlers to homes where the child does not get enough language stimulation. There are also issues because children do not play enough. Parents say: “what can we do? We don’t have a choice! This is what everyone’s doing. It’s the norm today.” But is this norm the healthy for our children? Is there a better way to live? Don’t we want our children to lead healthy, productive, balanced lives not just for themselves, but also so that they can contribute to the community? And most importantly, are we willing to come out of our comfort zones for the sake of our children? Are we ready to make aware and conscious parenting choices?

This is the objective behind Niraamayaa, a “Centre for the well being of children and parents”- to help parents make the right choices. To provide them with healthy options for the well being of their children, irrespective of whether they have special needs or not.

In her experience of 15 years with children needing special care, Nirupama Rao the co-founder of Niraamayaa, a psychologist by qualification, has learnt that doing therapy directly with children is only one part of the job. Of equal importance is the home environment, lifestyles, dietary and sleep habits and last but not the least, the physical and emotional well-being of the parents themselves.

Hence, at Niraamayaa we believe in spending as much time with parents as is possible, through counselling and guidance as to the healthiest possible ways of raising children in today’s time and age, along with creative and rejuvenating activities which leave them feeling refreshed and cared for. This is done by way of workshops as well as individual counselling sessions.

Very often what we ‘want’ for our children is not the same as what they really ‘need’. What we ‘want’ is that they fulfil our expectations and perform to ease our anxiety; but what they really ‘need’ is for us to slow down, understand them, observe them and accept them for who they really are.

Our main purpose at Niraamayaa is to

  • help parents understand children and their needs,
  • to create awareness about the connection between child mental health and healthy life styles and

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  • to sensitize the society about the true needs of growing children- that children, at least in the first five or six years need to play, connect to nature,  need good role models and need to really remain children for as long as they can, without the cares and pressures of adult life which they will have to face as adults anyway.
  • To help children and even us adults to actually try at reach that state of ‘Niraamayaa’- the state of freedom from toxicity and the state of purity in body, mind, soul and spirit!!

Nirupama Rao,