Meditation Articles Series


Attachment Theory and Meditation

05 Jan 2010

I have been reading about attachment in young infants.  All evidence shows that babies whose mothers pay attention to their cues grow into secure children and adults.  These mothers know when to pick up their little ones, when to feed them, when to give them space, and when to attend to their other needs.  The mothers do this through a now recognized physiological process whereby a part of the brain, known as the limbic brain, is attuned to emotional cues between mother and infant.  These mothers are consistently attentive, tender, and responsive to their babies. 

Mothers who are cold and distant with their offspring rear children who shun togetherness, who are mean to others, and who are difficult to reach.  Children, whose mothers are erratic, anxious, and distracted, become timid, lacking in confidence and desperate for attention from others. 

These varying forms of emotional nurturing, or lack there of leads to adults who will forge secure, or insecure attachments in their relationships.

What struck me about the secure children is that their mothers are consistently attentive, tender, and responsive to their needs. 

As I read this study I began to see how if we adopt the approach of the secure mother our meditation practice would deepen and create for us the foundation that enables us to be secure, and to be present and mindful in each and every moment.  Just like the secure mothers a meditation practice teaches us to be attentive.  It teaches us to be responsive, and it enables us to be tender toward ourselves to whatever arises. 

The book from which this study is further explained is called, “A General Theory of Love”.  It’s written by Thomas Lewis, M.D., Fari Amini, M.D., and Richard Lannon, M.D.  I thoroughly recommend the book.


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