Inner child

By Beata Kucienska

What is your Inner Child? It’s the one you have always been longing to meet, your deepest innocence, authenticity, sensitivity, and beauty. The one who was born to play, create, love, and never wanted to hurt anybody. The source of wisdom, the essence of humanity, the richest expression of life. The one who can guide you to the Garden of Eden. It is YOU in the purest form.

“Your Inner Child will be your guide to Infinity,” my heart told me during a long meditation retreat—seven weeks in silence. I started to listen deeply to its voice, which was like inner music guiding me through life. It was revealing my vulnerability and beauty. It made me fall in love with myself.

Your Inner Child is so delicate that it is difficult to speak about it. It is almost like trying to catch the wind. The Child doesn’t want to be classified, placed in any category, turned into a doctrine, or put into a structure. The Child is the poetry of life.

While you are reading these words, try to feel the essence behind them. The Child emerges from the spaces between words, looking at you with curiosity. It wants to play with words, it wants to play with everything. It perceives life as a never-ending game of wonderment.

When you connect with your Inner Child, you feel the joy and pain of life with an incredible intensity. When you love, you give your whole heart, as small children do. Following the voice of the Inner Child is not for the faint of heart. It is a path for the brave.

The Inner Child: Meeting Your Beauty

When I speak about the Inner Child, I go beyond any psychological definition. Even small children can have tendencies towards violence, but the Inner Child you discover in the depths of your heart is pure and innocent. It is a place where your humanity and divinity unite and its beauty is breathtaking.

I met my Inner Child during Hridaya’s 49-Day Prathyabhijna Retreat and the discovery was such a treasure I couldn’t believe she existed. She was too sacred, too delicate, too vulnerable, and more beautiful than I have ever been. I felt her clearly inside, a tiny bird with transparent wings, and I look for her in every moment of my life. There is a constant longing to meet her, to become her.

Other people who have done long meditation retreats have had similar experiences. It is a universal experience because the Child lives in the heart of every human. We can meet this inner treasure when we go beyond the walls we build our entire lives—our protections, defenses, and the strategies we develop to survive in this world.

I had the blessing to do the seven-week silent retreat in a beautiful place where I felt safe and taken care of. I didn’t even have to think about food, it was delivered to my door every day. All this helped me abandon my worries and defense strategies and go into a space where I could relax very deeply. When the Child felt safe, she came to meet me. It didn’t happen immediately, I had to face many painful memories. But, the constant focus on the Heart and Self-Enquiry led to inner Stillness, a beautiful freedom from the burden of the mind, and the Child emerged from this space.

Meeting your Inner Child is a meeting with God within you. It is a window to the sacredness of life, to unforgettable beauty. When you are in that place, you feel like you would prefer to die than to lose it. You have arrived at the Home that you lost before being born.

Meditation, nature, art, love, silence, and sexuality are all gateways to experience this return to the Garden of Eden. Sometimes an unexpected door opens and fills your eyes with wonderment. The rest of your time is guided by this deep longing for Home… and the various human expressions of the Inner Child are your guides.

The Inner Child: A Guide to the Depth of Life

inner-childThe Inner Child is a wonderful guide through life. Its deepest desires are the most authentic expressions of your soul and show you the direction to go. Superficial desires (like addictions and defense strategies) are only cheap substitutes for the deepest longings of your heart.

In ascetic spirituality, there is a tendency to emphasize surrender to the things you don’t like or don’t want to do. For some people, this is a valid path and can be a powerful tool for transcending certain undesirable traits. But if you suffered a lot in childhood, your emphasis is best placed on the freedom and joy of doing the things you really love to do. The inner voice that knows where to find authentic joy and delight is your deepest guide. It can be as simple as watching trees, listening to the birds, feeling the earth, or breathing rainy air… and, yet, many years can pass before you realize it, before you give yourself the time for wonder.

Child-like joy is a beautiful guide on the path of healing and it is okay to find joy in the things you love to do while avoiding what brings you suffering. This stage of healing, self-love, and self-compassion should be deeply recognized and acknowledged. Later comes the stage of feeling joy in the Heart even when sorrow appears, but there is no need to follow the path of sorrow. Offering yourself the time to deeply feel life, to discover the voice of your authentic delight, and to follow it, is the greatest gift to your Inner Child.

The Inner Child and Sexuality

Your Inner Child inhabits a body with its physiological, sexual, and emotional functions and experiences the world through the body. When you follow its voice, you transform various levels of your humanity. What used to feel dirty or covered with shame becomes innocent and sacred. People who walk the authentic path of the Heart naturally experience a powerful transformation in their sexuality.

Hridaya Meditation is a wonderful tool to support this transformation. When the focus is on the Heart, sexual experiences feel like entering a cathedral without walls, a landscape full of mysteries. Sexual energy flows into and out of the Heart and transforms the physical body into a field of tenderness. Making love becomes an act of wonderment, adoration, creation, and the most wonderful prayer. It is an innocent exploration of unknown lands, mysterious energies, and sacred places. Sexual energy elevates your life, expands it, and converts everyday activities into the act of making love to the Universe. Everything is somehow soaked with erotic energy, which is sacred, playful, and intense. Listening to the birds feels like making love with their songs; they enter the depths of your heart. There is a constant play of separation and union, distance and penetration, longing and encounter.

The Inner Child and Pain

I have spent about nine months in silence in different retreats (including two 49-Day Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreats). I thought that my wounds from childhood would heal from so much practice, and for some time I believed it happened. Well, it didn’t. When I came back to my parents’ home, something triggered my deepest wound. I let my body express the pain and I was surprised by its intensity, which seemed bottomless. The child cried out her loneliness, disappointment, helplessness, vulnerability, injustice, fear, and abandonment. She came to this world to play and create. Why did it hurt her so much?

Meditation didn’t make my deepest wound disappear, but it helped me get deeply in touch with it and express it while maintaining the inner Witness. The long practice of silence and solitude gave me the courage to face the well of my pain, to look there directly without closing my eyes. And, when I came back to my family home and my old pain was triggered, it was no longer the time for silence. It was the time for the full expression of my soul.

I felt the healing power of crying aloud, of letting the pain express its depth and the full spectrum of its colors. I don’t know if my deepest wounds will ever heal. I don’t know if I have ever met a completely healed human being. But, maybe healing is not what I thought it to be. Maybe it is not about the disappearance of wounds, but about feeling them completely and using them to create beauty. As Rumi said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

After crying out my pain, I felt powerful. For the first time in my life, I was able to have an honest and balanced conversation with my parents, without accusing them or devaluing the burden of the past. It was not easy for any of us, but in the end, it brought relief and I felt closer to them.

My deepest pain didn’t heal, but long periods of meditation definitely transformed me from inside. I feel more compassion for the people who hurt me, but I am also able to set boundaries in toxic relationships. My Inner Child guides me and shows me which relationships are worth cultivating. The Child has a deep longing for harmony and beauty, and she deserves to experience it. And yes, she finds the places and beings that feel like Home: the wonderful doors to the lost Garden of Eden, the reflection of her origin.

The Inner Child and the Game of Life

Play
keep playing
use all the colors
in this wonderful game
your joy and pain
loneliness and ecstasy
anger and tenderness
Listen…
your paintbrush whispers
so softly
It is singing:
make me free
let me jump to the highest trees
and then to the clouds
let my eyes embrace
the vastness of creation
and then
let me fall to the mud
with a great splash
paint with the mud
paint with my blood
get dirty
get clean
get human
everything is sacred

Beata  is a Hridaya Yoga teacher and frequent contributor to our blog. You can read all of her posts here.

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