HEALING THE CHILD IN YOUR HEART: THE "INNER CHAMPION" PRACTICE!
Part One: Childhood and Spirituality
DEAR FRIENDS- As the Buddha had the courage to acknowledge, everyone is carrying an inner burden. Rich or poor, young and old, all of us are wrestling with our demons. Behind the masks we wear to hide our sorrow and pain from the world- and ourselves- the shared reality of our inner struggle transcends all boundaries.
I am here to tell you that the pain inside you- and all of us- CAN be permanently released and healed. It is not "part of life" or "the human condition" to suffer! You can reclaim the natural, inborn happiness- your birthright of Original Grace- that you long for and deserve!
What is needed to accomplish this Great Healing- both for yourself and for humanity as a whole? First, we must awaken to the real cause of the pain we carry. And then, with courage and self-loving compassion, we need to learn how to truly let it go.
Throughout history philosophers and spiritual teachers have attempted to explain this apparently universal suffering- and how to cure it. The great religious and spiritual traditions of the past have moved our quest for healing and happiness forward and each has contributed a piece of the truth.
But taken singly or all together, they do not reveal the deepest truth!
In the twentieth century humanity made a radical leap forward in its eternal quest to understand why we suffer and how to heal it. The discovery of the unconscious mind by Sigmund Freud revolutionized our insight into the real reasons people lose the natural happiness they are born with and carry emotional pain through life. This breakthrough was followed by pioneers such as Wilhelm Reich, Alexander Lowen and John Pierrakos, who developed new methods (Bioenergetics/Core Energetics) that unified and healed the body, emotions, mind, soul and life-force more deeply than ever before. The breakthrough awareness of this psychospiritual revolution is clearly seeing THE CENTRAL CAUSATIVE ROLE OF CHILDHOOD PAIN in the inner struggles and unhappiness of adults. This knowledge has begun a cultural and spiritual transformation which in time will free humanity as much as the Christian and Buddhist revolutions which came before.
Indeed, it will be precisely this knowledge that will enable the Judeo-Christian ethic of love and brotherhood and the Buddhist emphasis on compassion and tolerance to finally and fully succeed! This is because those philosophies and methods- as great as their contributions are- do not enable us to make conscious the pain and "emotional conditioning" we experienced as children.
Therefore, as we personally and collectively strive to live up to and fully embody their beautiful ideals we are undermined in the attempt by the fear, guilt, shame, sadness and anger from our childhoods that we still carry beneath our conscious awareness.
I ask you- how can you genuinely and unambivalently love your brother- if your upbringing has blocked your love for and belief in yourself? Or again- how can you completely be "in the moment"- if deep in your body and unconscious mind you are constantly reliving your past?
Because they did not grasp the actual causes of people's inner suffering and destructive behavior, past spiritualities assigned the origin of our emotional pain and negative attitudes to causes such as Original Sin, the karmic repercussions of past lives, or the intrinsic inability of the self to fulfill its desires. If a spiritual/religious path is a form of medicine, the accuracy of the diagnosis will greatly effect the completeness of the cure. I propose that there is both more love and more truth in the notion that the real source of people's pain and negative behavior lay in childhood traumas and deprivations.
I ask all of you to consider this: If you believe that the child you once were was born innocent, open-hearted, free of suffering, ready to love and be loved- WHAT HAPPENED?
Why are you, and billions of your brothers and sisters, living life with a burden of guilt, shame, fear, self-doubt, self-criticism? Either you were born "flawed" (the Christian doctrine of Original Sin, echoed in the Hindu/Buddhist idea of karma from "past lives")- somehow incapable of happiness and self-acceptance- or real, concrete experiences (that you did not "choose" and could not control) programmed you to lose the ability to love and believe in yourself and be connected to your inborn joy. It cannot be both, it must be one or the other!
My heart passionately and firmly tells me that we were all born innocent- and ready to be happy. It was distortions in our families/societies/cultures that wounded us. NOT any fault in ourselves and who we naturally are!
In the service of helping you awaken to the true nature of your emotional burden - and be empowered to fully heal it- I offer this simple exercise to release the pain of the child you once were. To heal the world, let us begin by healing ourselves. We were all born with the capacity for joy, and with hearts that were fully open to life and love. For our own liberation, and for the sake of the generations to come, let us hold our "Inner Child" with great compassion and reclaim our birthright of happiness and inner peace.
Part Two: Healing Your Childhood Pain
What is the Inner Child? Your Inner Child can be understood in these two basic ways:
1. It is the part of you that was hurt while you were growing up, and which is still in pain within you.
2. It is the place in your heart that can trust without fear of betrayal; that is unafraid to love and be loved; that is capable of full and joyful self-expression; that takes great pleasure in play, creativity and imagination!
To restore the natural, inborn happiness of your Inner Child/Core Self- and therefore to reclaim your deep love of life and full aliveness- his/her pain must be acknowledged, taken seriously and fully released.
To accomplish this your Inner Child must have a Champion. That is, a compassionate witness that completely validates both your pain and your fundamental innocence and "rightness". Your Champion is unconditionally on your side!
At the beginning of the process, your Champion may be another person- a therapist, a spiritual teacher, a wise and loving friend.
However, for the healing to be complete, you must become your Inner Child's ultimate champion. Why? Because your Inner Child is a part of you, and therefore you are in the best possible position to give him/her exactly what is needed.
Complete self-empowerment and emotional security is increasingly gained as you see the innocence of and fully stand up for your Inner Child. As your heart opens to yourself you become the Unconditionally Loving Parent and Invincible Champion that your Inner Child never had. I achieved this for myself and I am certain that you can too!
The exercise below helps you connect to and then heal the core burden ofemotional pain that originated during your childhood and adolescence. As your inner journey continues over time and you need to process various incidents and painful circumstances you become aware about, you can return to this practice and repeat the steps.
THE INNER CHAMPION PRACTICE.
1. To begin, recall something that your Mother or Father (these are always the most important) or other adults/society-in-general (also important) did- either once or repeatedly- that made you feel ashamed, afraid, guilty, lonely or very sad. Try to picture an incident or example of this as clearly as you can. Write down a few words describing it.
2. Try to recall- or if you can't exactly remember, imagine- what you felt. Write down a few words describing what you felt and what was painful. Then write down what you would have said if- like all children- you weren't afraid of losing their love by being real and honest.
3. Now go to the mirror. The person in the mirror will be your Inner Child, who once suffered from this misunderstanding, mistreatment or abuse- and needs your love to finally heal it. You are going to speak to your Child as his/her Champion. Try saying these statements to start off, then experiment and expand on them if you like.
Beginning with your own name (or even better, a tender endearment like "sweety, honey" etc.) say the following:
a. ____, they were wrong to do that. You needed love and understanding, not ____. You were just a child- perfect and beautiful!
b. You didn't make them do it. You didn't deserve it. Their own problems made them do it.
c. You don't have to be guilty or ashamed. The fault was theirs, not yours.
d. It's okay to feel angry if you want. It's safe now- I'll protect you.
e. If you want to feel sad, that's okay- it's natural. You can cry and let it out if you want- I'll be here for you.
f. I'm on your side no matter what. I'll never let them hurt you again.
g. I'm going to listen to you, love you and help you until the pain is all gone.
h. You deserve to be happy and I'm going to help you get there. Because I love you!
By working with yourself in this way you will develop much deeper insight into your past. Furthermore you will see how the pain you feel today truly began when you were a precious, innocent child. Most importantly, your love and tenderness for yourself will grow and grow, and as it does the pain you've carried your entire life will ease and fade away. This practice- and the compassionate, self-affirming attitude it contains- was a major aid in healing myself. I guarantee that it will help you claim the emotional healing and lasting happiness you long for and deserve. LOTS OF LOVE- BRYAN