Autism – A Gift?

I know, that title might seem a little shocking to some … and I certainly am sensitive to the plight of families with autistic children.  Hear me out, and I think you will see where I am going with this.

In meditating yesterday on my post, “Colored Toys“, I was struck by the imagery used by the author, Rabindranath Tagore.  How when he looked at a child it was almost like how God must look at us.  In meditating on the words, it went beyond that to literally looking around me and thinking about each leaf, and breeze, and their interaction against the pale blue canvas behind them … that these really are God’s toys that have been given to us to enjoy and play with.

I did a form of meditation that I hadn’t really employed before.  I kept my eyes open, but completely unfocused.  I was at a public event, and I simply sat there (in a place where I couldn’t be disturbed) and I took in every movement, color, and sensation … I just relished them in the present of that time.  All of the things that I would normally dismiss, or overlook … like the unpredictable twisting of a leaf touched by breeze … I let everything else go and just enjoyed them.  I let God’s Love flow through me in a grounded state, and serenely soaked in and enjoyed all the gifts God had to give me.

All of this really brought me to a place of remembering my work with autistic children.  Any person in an artistic career can tell you that you end up being a chameleon … any job that brings in some money to help you keep your dream alive.  I was fortunate to find a job that I thoroughly enjoyed while I was doing it … I was the only candidate out of a field that the son of the interviewing family liked (meaning he responded well to me, instead of fighting me).  So I was hired, and trained, to do behavioral therapy with autistic children.  Over the years, the boy I worked with and I became very good friends … in a student/teacher kind of format.

The one thing that was especially challenging was that autistic children can have a very low span of time where they can keep their concentration focused.  So my work with him was doing drills that would slowly, over time, build up his attention span and help him to become more functional in  the general world at large.

So why do I have the title “Autism – A Gift?”  Well, I also observed, over time, that it wasn’t a lack of intelligence that caused these distractions … he was actually a very intelligent boy.  It was that every tiny thing distracted him … every sound that we tune out, every tiny movement from a fly to the wind blowing the leaves out the window and across the street.  When he could take breaks from our lessons I of course gave him the freedom from a class-like structure.  I saw more moments of pure joy in those break times than I probably experienced over the course of my entire day.  He could be happy anywhere, and with anything, at any time.

Think about that!  Complete, blissful happiness at any time.  Most of us spend entire lifetimes trying to accomplish such a feat!

I mean no disrespect to families with autistic children … quite the opposite.  I know first hand how life changing and difficult a life experience this is and can be.  I guess it just made me think about the fact that ALL of God’s Creation is a thing of beauty … we ALL are loved by God, so incredibly much.  Just because someone is different … doesn’t make them any less special, OR Loved.

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Picture of a painting by Jonathan Topor; an autistic boy whose art is being displayed in London.

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Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California, Mission ViejoIrvineLos AngelesSan FranciscoMarinSan JoseSan Juan CapistranoSanta AnaPalm SpringsLong Beach

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